Hope for the Failing Parent


J. Richard Fugate

God's guidelines on child training are designed as a perfect system to be used by two parents who are both willing to obey God's Word from the very beginning with their infant children.  Many parents, however, do not realize that they need this information until their children are older.

But what if your children are already grown and now you recognize your past mistakes?  How can you cope with the knowledge you now possess that you could have done a better job?  What if you are a single parent who is left with the task of training a child o your own; or what if your child is already a rebellious, unmanageable teenager and time is slipping away?  Is there any hope for parents in these situations?

The answer to these questions can be found in knowing the character of God and His plan of grace for man.  When the natural laws of God are violated, God's supernatural intervention alone can avoid the natural consequences.  If a person were to jump off a ten story building, he would not expect to be spared the results except by a miracle.  Fortunately for man, God is still in the miracle business.  He alone can heal a broken heart or answer a mother's prayer for her lost son.  God is a God of grace who can restore a family and repair the damage done through many years of  neglect or incorrect child training. 

Regardless of the surrounding circumstances,  parents must seek and become members of a solid Bible teaching church, learning about God's character and growing to spiritual maturity.  If they are not home schooling, then they should place their children in a solid, Bible teaching  Christian school that has firm rules of conduct which are consistently enforced.  Keep in mind, however, that only the parents can properly train their children.  A school can only support what is taught at home; it cannot replace the parent.

Sometimes parents recognize that they are failing, but the child is still at home.  He may be a wild, apparently uncontrollable child of eight running rampant under the control of their sin nature or he may be a rebellious teenager who has never been under control and who possibly may leave home if his parents attempt to implement any kind of disciplinary system.  Parents of such children must firmly and consistently gain total control over their children causing them to become obedient as quickly as possible and must prepare themselves for the inevitable conflict that must ensue. 

If you are committed to gaining control of your child, willing to utilize GOD's power and consistent in applying GOD's training principles for as long as it takes, you will be able to subdue the will of the rebellious child.  Parents of a hardened older child who will not submit to parental authority, however, may have to turn him over to God for chastising.  Parents who are forced to take this drastic action must make clear to the child what he is facing so that he can properly identify his future pain as chastisement.

The situation of the untrained child who has  left home and is reaping the fruit of his selfish existence appears hopeless.  The father or mother of such a child will surely suffer the curse that results as the natural consequence of their not observing God's laws (Proverbs 10:1b, 17:21, 29:15b).  The child also suffers for his parents' failure to train him properly (Jeremiah 31:29b).  However, once a child leaves his parents' authority, he becomes totally accountable for his own actions (Jeremiah 31:30)

Parents who have failed can continue to have hope because God is just.  They can trust that after the untrained child leaves home, God will deal with him as an individual, responsible for his own actions.  God will take over the training of the untrained child through human authorities (other than the parents) and by means of the pressures of life.  The parents who are in this situation can confess to God any true guilt they may have concerning their failure in child training and receive His complete forgiveness.  They can also pray that their child will turn to God and will accept His training. 

Always remember that there is hope for the failing parent.  There is hope in the miracle that can result when parents utilize God's Word.  There is hope for parents who will depend on God's power and who will trust Him to overcome their weaknesses.  There also is hope in the fact that God's Love will pursue a lost youth and treat him in absolute justice.

Train Up a Child
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