Raising children is hard. Raising children as a single parent is by far the greatest challenge any one Christian can face. So, how do you get through two or more decades of raising children that present with very challenging behaviors?
It is something that many single-parent families struggle with, and even in a family where there are two parents it can feel like only one parent is shouldering the burden of the child-rearing.
Often, you may feel like you are losing your mind, or that you want to quit and walk out of the house and abandon these children, but you are reminded that God has given you these children for a reason.
Realizing that there is something God in heaven above knows about you and about your children that maybe isn’t so clear to you is mind- and attitude-altering. He knows that he has given you special children, and he has his reasons for doing so.
When you are faced with challenging behaviors from your children that seem like violent storms, you need to stop, take a breath, pray, and walk in faith. Here’s why.
Your Anger vs. Your Peace in Prayer
Children learn by mimicking. When you rage, scream, shout and are angry about all the things they are doing that are frustrating, hurtful, stressful and difficult to you, you teach them to rage and scream.
You are not expressing an emotion they need to see and need to learn themselves. This is one of the hardest things for parents to learn, but one that ultimately brings peace.
If you are stopping instead to breathe and pray, your children are watching you calm yourself. They are learning that prayer is the answer to many things. They are learning how to pray as you quietly pray.
As you bring the Spirit of the Lord into the room through prayer, you may even notice how your children suddenly grow calmer watching you. The Enemy will stir them, but the Spirit of the Lord will calm them.
Psalm 107:29 says, “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.”
God calms all, and makes you the solid pillar in the midst of a mighty wind. Children respond to this calm with surprising ease.
Proverbs 10:25 confirms this by saying, “As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.”
Responding With Love Rather Than Wrath
It’s a natural inclination to respond to challenging behaviors in children with wrath. You are angry and want them to behave. You want them to listen to you and respect you when they can’t, don’t or simply won’t. As a Christian, this is often very embarrassing because you are expected to raise children that are respectful of adults.
However, children in a single-parent family is another story. You are doing everything you can to raise your children properly in the Christian faith, but they simply can’t, don’t or won’t understand why they must behave.
That often results in being angry with them, striving against them, fighting or struggling with them, and the end result leaves you both exhausted.
Learning to respond in faith and love is much harder than responding in wrath. Wrath is easy, but love and faith are hard. We have to remind ourselves to act as God would in similar parenting situations.
Nahum 1:3 says, “The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are dust of his feet.”
It means that if you remember to be slow to anger, and move with love against the challenges your children present, you will eventually win over their behaviors and change (or defeat) them for the better. It requires faith in that slowness to anger too.
You cannot give up no matter how long it takes. God the Father would not be quick to anger with you, his child, but wait indefinitely until he can effect change on you and in you. You must do the same with your children, no matter how challenging their behaviors are.
Share Prayer and Scriptural Reading in Daily Life With Your Children
The Holy Word moves on the human heart. It changes people from within. It can change your life and the lives of your children if you are willing to do this daily. Pray daily and read scripture aloud with your children daily.
Even if they are nonverbal and you think they can’t or don’t understand, the Word of God speaks to the soul and to the human heart. They will hear and feel the hand of God and the love of God their hearts if you are dedicated to sharing prayer and scriptures with your children.
Whenever you are really struggling with your child, take a moment and say a prayer akin to the following:
“Heavenly Father, I’m struggling today. I need your help today. Lift me up and give me strength.
Provide me with insight and knowledge on how to handle this challenging situation with my child. Help me look at it with new eyes so we can find a solution and move ahead with our day. Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen.”