TLP 171: Parenting a Terrorist
Parenting can be scary, but it’s even worse when we’re afraid of our children. What is a Christian parent to do when their children use lies and anger and manipulation to scare us into giving them what they want? Join AMBrewster as he offers hope from God’s Word for the parents of terrorists.
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Today we do our last review before we jump into Season 7 with an all new parenting focus.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about Season 7, but I do plan to tell you all about Season 7 next time. For now, though, we’re going to talk about another topic that is super important to me.
As many of you know, I work at Victory Academy for Boys where we work with at-risk teens. All of these boys have a number of things in common, but one of the most significant similarities they also share with many (if not most) of your kids.
Now, I understand that it would be inappropriate to bad-mouth our kids. Please understand that the description I’m using is not intended to tear down or make fun. In reality, I believe you’ll find that my language is accurate and biblical.
So whether it’s a two year old who throws tantrums or a teenager who threatens to kill herself, today we’re going to discuss how to parent a child who acts like a terrorist.
And don’t forget that we will be back to publishing new Christ-centered parenting content twice a week as we move into Season 7.
Have any of your children ever engaged in terrorism?
I’m not asking if they’ve ever blown up a car or murdered people in the name of a false god or corrupt government.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a terrorist living in your home.
Merriam-Webster defines terrorism as: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion
They further define terror as: a state of intense fear.
Has your son every thrown a tantrum? Has your daughter ever yelled at you? Have they hit a wall? Deliberately broken something of yours? Has he every threatened to hurt you, himself, or someone else? Did she ever do any of these things in order to get her way?
Then your child’s a terrorist.
It may not have been that fearsome when they were smaller. Or it may have been. Paul Tripp tells a story of a mother who every day prayed her child would sleep in and then spent the day looking forward to when he would be in bed. The child was four.
But as our children get older, taller, smarter, and stronger, their intimidation tactics are more substantial.
But it’s okay. Young or old - don’t worry. Yes, your child is a terrorist, but he comes by it naturally. Honestly, which of us hasn’t used terror tactics in our past?
Hopefully, we’re past that now.
Unfortunately, we parents are often as prone as our children to use terrorism. But we’ll save the topic of “How Not to Be a Terrorist Parent” for later.
Because of our sin natures, there’s not a child on the planet who hasn’t engaged in terror tactics at least once in his or her life. Some are worse than others, but regardless of how powerful or successful your child’s terror attempts have been, it behooves every parent to know how to deal with a terrorist.
Today, I’d like to give you two tips for anti-terrorism in your home: But before I do that I want you to know that though it may sound like I’m making light of a very real, and very scary situation. And I want to say specifically to those of you who have a very rebellious and troublesome child at home, I completely understand what you’re going through; because I, like you, am often tempted to parent out of fear. I have up to ten terrorists living in my home every year (and this includes my own children!). Sometimes I might be afraid that a boy might hurt someone, something, or himself, but sometimes it’s as simple as I don’t want to have to deal with the 45 minute long hassle that will follow if I correct his behavior.
We’re definitely in this together, and I want my experience and study to benefit you. So, here are my two anti-terrorism tips from a once Fearful Father:
So, number one, we are never to fear terrorists because God is preeminent - He is to have first place in our hearts. And for that reason, we move to number two.
Those are the first two steps to dealing with terrorists of any age. Tomorrow we’ll learn another invaluable tool when it comes to parenting our children, and though we must use this tool in all of our parenting - it becomes extremely helpful to hold our ground when we’re tempted to negotiate with the terrorist standing in my living room.
But, before we go our separate ways, there’s another type of Fearful Parenting we need to discuss. It’s very similar to the one we just discussed, but instead of being afraid because of what my child is doing, I parent out of fear because of what my child will become.
In moments like that, my parenting isn’t motivated by the wisdom and sovereignty of God, it’s motivated by my own lack of control in their lives! If I could control everything they thought and did, I wouldn’t be afraid! But this kind of fearful parenting is a sin too. It’s prideful. It’s controlling.
Listen, you don’t have to be afraid in your parenting. God is in control! And if that doesn't flood your soul with hope and peace, nothing ever will.
God never promised that parenting would be comfortable, but you can always do what you have to do.
God’s given us a way to escape every temptation (I Corinthians 10:13). He’s promised that any and all situations can work out for His greatest glory and our greatest good if we believe Him and strive to become more like Christ (Romans 8:28)!
Your child may try various terror tactics on you even today. Don’t negotiate. Don’t give in. Don't be afraid. Lovingly stand firm in the Truth of God’s Word because God is worth it and He’s called you to sacrifice your parenting to Him because it’s our reasonable act of worship.
Trust your Heavenly Father to keep His promises. And don’t hesitate to call in “air support.” Believe it or not, there are people who want to help.
Parenting can be scary, but God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline.
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