Appealing to Pride: Parent Trap #2
We continue our careful side-stepping of parenting trip wires, graciously supplied by Ted Tripp at the Shepherd’s Conference earlier this year. Yesterday we looked at the common snare of training your child to wait for a “signal of seriousness” from their parents before they will obey (most common are the raised voice, the throbbing forehead vein, or the self-fulfilling 3 seconds of permitted disobedience).
Here is another pitfall to avoid in parenting (I totally do this one!)
Appealing to your child’s pride.
“Johnny, don’t be annoying, you don’t want to be the annoying kid do you? You’re far too mature and likable to be annoying. Do you want to be known as the cool kid, or the annoying kid?”
What you are teaching your offspring is that the reason they must obey you is because they are great. But the Bible says they are broken and need God, just like everyone else born in sin (Rom 3:1). The reason they must obey you is because God is great, and He said to obey parents (Eph 6:1).
If left unchecked, this parent trap leads to a teenager who prides himself/herself in being the “good kid,” the prefect, the clean-cut poster-boy of external moralism. These teens then become the guy at work who is always trying to impress the boss, boasting of his/her accomplishments, finding their identity in their success. Then one day they make a mistake, and they are suddenly confronted with their sinfulness like an airbag in the face.
We want our children to find their identity in Christ. Their obedience is out of love for Him, and out of a desire to please God, and follow the Spirit’s guidance. NOT to impress other people.
Pharisees are grown in the wet soil of moralism and fertilized by proud parents.
What is the better way? “Johnny, don’t be so annoying. God says to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Would you like it if I made that sound all day long? Does it look like your sister is enjoying your tugging at her hair? See those tears in her eyes? Johnny, God loves you and your sister, and He wants you to love each other and enjoy the blessing of being in a right relationship with Him and each other.” Etc.
Disclaimer: it’s way easier to type that than to remember it in the moment. But it is a cure for tripping over your own good intentions. Always bring parenting back to the gospel, and you will kill pride in your child, not cultivate it.
Ouch. Join us tomorrow for the next installment of tripping over Tripp’s advice. If you dare.