Discipleship // Youth
Parent Survival Guide
Parent Survival Guide

I think we can all agree that parents could be the best parents in the world and there are still going to be days where you totally clash with them. This often happens even with the very best relationships but, that doesn’t mean they always have to be that way. The Bible provides a lot of guidance for both children and parents on how they should treat each other, that seems to be good advice to focus on.

Parents are a blessing from God. They are willing to do just about anything for you, they will cook, clean, do taxi runs, wipe your tears, make you laugh, discipline you, encourage you, keep you grounded, teach, and train you. Parents want what is best for you, but when that goes against what you want to do it can be very hard to hear and accept. We can so quickly feel like they don’t understand, that they don’t want to listen or that they simply just don’t want you to have any ‘fun’.

So, how do we deal with parents when you do clash?

How do you work with them?

Relationship with our parents can be the most beautiful and yet at times the most challenging relationship of all.

What does the Bible say?

Honour your father and your Mother

Exodus Chapter 20 verse 12

In Ephesians we also read in Chapter 6 verse 1-2,

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. Honour your father and your mother.

The Bible doesn’t leave very much wriggle room and is very clear on this topic but let’s break it down.

Obeying means to do what you are told, and honour means to show respect and love.

*Before we go any further, I want to say it is important to realise that we are not commanded to disobey God to obey our parents. Ultimately what God commands us to do is what should be obeyed. It’s not a loophole but something that is important to consider and keep in mind. *

We are to obey our parents while we live under their roof but to honour them is a responsibility for life. The bible is very clear that we are to treat our parents with respect and to obey them, as this is how we learn to obey God. If we don’t obey and respect our mum and dad then we have never learned the lessons needed to obey God, especially in the times where we don’t understand what is happening or when it goes against what we want to do.

What does that look like?

Obedience is straight forward, your parents ask you to do something, you do it. They ask you not to do something, you don’t. If it’s something you disagree with or struggle with then have a conversation with them but know ultimately that your role is to obey.

Honouring you parents is showing them the respect they deserve. Keeping their wishes even if they aren’t with you, even if they would never know. It can be as simple as respecting the home they have given you, do your part to keep it tidy, appreciate the meals they prepare for you, don’t take them or what they do for granted. It means listening to them and giving them your full attention when they talk to you, instead of scrolling on your phone or watching T.V. Simple things that go a long way in showing your parents you respect and love them.

Now I’m not saying all that is easy, it’s not, especially at times where you seem to be clashing. But this is what God has asked of us as children, and therefore it is his help that we need to live it out. Ask him for patience, for love, for kindness, for the ability to honour your mum and dad, he is there to help and willing you to ultimately obey him.

As I said what God asks of children can be tough to follow, but he doesn’t just give children instructions, he has clear instruction on how parents are to treat their children too.

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

Proverbs 22:6

Fathers do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4

Parents are to discipline their children, train them up in the way they should go. Biblically speaking they are to teach them about God. That is a huge responsibility, and one a Christian parent will not take lightly. It is a command from God. It doesn’t always feel good for children, especially the discipline part, but important to remember just as we are obeying God in honouring and obeying them, they too have to honour God.

If God has commanded, it ultimately we know it is for our good.

After all they are the people, he trusted to take care of you.

To finish, I want to touch on the fact that I am aware not everyone has parents like I described at the beginning, making this topic even more difficult to hear and live out. 

Maybe you or someone you know comes from a very difficult and toxic relationship with their parents. Maybe they don’t know what true love from a parent looks like. I want to encourage you that you are loved, loved by The Father, the one who created you and who knows and cares for you. You are so loved. You are not forgotten, and you are not anything that contradicts what he says about you in the Bible. You are loved, chosen, wanted, valuable and so much more because he says you are.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mothers’ womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous- how well I know it.

Psalm 139:13-14

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up you are still with me.

Psalm 139 17-18

This is how your heavenly Father thinks of you, and so if you don’t have an earthly mum and dad to honour and obey, know your heavenly Father is worthy of it all.

Written by Erin Thompson

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