Screaming, kicking walls, and threats of suicide can shake any parent to their core. How can God expect us to be Ambassador Parents in the face of a terrorist attack from our own children? Today AMBrewster helps Christian parents understand their child better, but also understand their personal responsibility to God.
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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.
But more on that in a minute.
Many of you likely heard TLP Snippet number four we published on Saturday, but for those of you who didn’t I want to share with you a massive blessing. In the month of February TLP participated in a competition and won. By God’s grace, we were gifted PodOMatic’s most expensive and robust publishing account for free . . . for life. That’s over a $900 a year value for life with the ability to reach a larger audience and without having to ever take down our previous episodes. If you’ve like more details and the exciting story of how God blessed us with this amazing provision, I encourage you to listen to our TLP Snippet, number 5. It’s just a couple minutes long, but it’s pretty exciting.
Okay, now back to Parenting a Terrorist
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. Hopefully.
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:
1. As Christian parents, we must never fear terrorists.
Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” We need not fear our children or what they may do because we serve a God Who is far greater and more powerful than they. He will keep us safe when we believe His Word and act on it. Our homes and even our bodies may bear the marks of a wrathful child, but we need never fear that child because He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.
Doing what God commands is always wiser than doing what man demands. The consequence for disobeying God is always worse. We have been called by the sovereign God of the universe to intentionally and premeditatively parent our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We are to care for them physically and spiritually even when they don’t reciprocate. And this almighty God will correct and discipline us if we fail to do so. Paul told Timothy in I Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” This is a high standard with incredible consequences.
Jesus gave us His own twist on this principle when He said in Luke 12, “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.” The God-Man Who would eventually lay down His life to death by the hands of His own creation basically said, “What’s the worse they can do?” But then He continues and says, “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!”
All of this to say -- there is far more reason to fear God when we’re not Ambassador Parents than there is to fear our children when we are.
But then Jesus continues yet again in the same passage and says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Jesus just told us that the one to be afraid of is God, but then He shows us that if we are His children, we have nothing to fear because He loves us and cares for us more than the sparrows He superintends.
Romans 8:28 sums this up well: when we love God, believe His Word, and are actively trying to fulfill His plan in our lives, we have nothing to worry about. God will orchestrate it all to be the best for us. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
So, the next time you’re tempted to ignore your child’s sin (like we talked about it episode 31), or dread the moment she wakes, or flinch when he gets angry . . . remember that your God is bigger and more important than this rebellious child.
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.
2. As Christian parents, we must never negotiate with terrorists.
Acts 5:29 “We must obey God rather than men.”
If my child is being a terrorist, I mustn’t allow him to dictate the conversation, the activity, the bedtime, the electronics, the rules, the discipline, the friends, the schedule, the consequences, or especially my emotions.
He has no right to dictate anything. Now, I am not saying that within the normal context of a functioning, Christ-honoring home that I don’t allow my kids to have a significant say in the activities we do and the foods we eat and even the lessons we learn. What I am saying is that anyone who’s using terror tactics to usurp authority does not have the right to dictate what is to be done or how it’s to be done.
Instead, I must stand calmly in God’s Truth and be consistent with His commands.
And -- as mentioned before -- I especially mustn’t resort to terror tactics myself. I cannot afford to lose control and try to scare him into obeying me with threats and manipulation. I must be humble, gracious, loving, patient, and kind.
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.
Perhaps it would be helpful to have a reminder of the things we discussed today. In addition to the Episode Notes we publish at TakingBackTheFamily.com, we’ve also created a simple image for you to post in your home. Perhaps you need to put it next to your bathroom mirror. Maybe you need to see it first thing in the morning. Regardless of where you put it, I want to tell you two things about it:
I hope you’ll use this image as a reminder of God’s expectations and promises. I’ll link it for you the description.
And if you’re struggling in your parenting and need more than an image to help you out, we would love to assist any way we can. Parenting a terrorist is scary. I know. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at counselor@TruthLoveParent.com. We want to help.
As I mentioned before, next time we’ll be discussing a tool that will help you take the next step in being an intentional, premeditated parent. So, join us next time as we talk about The Communication House.
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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