Push-back describes “a negative or unfavorable reaction or response.” Push-backs are to be expected at some point in our children’s behavior. No matter how passive, calm, or “good,” they will at some point disrespect or push back against our parenting and authority over their lives. This often comes as a surprise from the child who has required little or no authority.
Our children are “sizing” up life from a young inexperienced brain and heart. Genetically they may be wired to be agreeable or obedient, but at some point their brain develops and equips them to challenge us. Their being perceived by others as “good” often feeds them an unrealistic ideal that they know what is best in making decisions. This is exposed when you make a decision over them that they don’t like.
My pastor always points out that “we don’t have to teach our children to do wrong.” Don’t be surprised when push-back comes, but be prepared. This is a learning opportunity for our children. We are not able to look into their hearts, but we see evidence of what is in their heart through their behavior. As the Lord states in Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NLT):
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
Our children must learn to acknowledge and respect authority even when they don’t want to. That will come only through real life experiences that teach them. There will come a time when we must say “no” or implement consequences for disrespect or disobedience. Address it, give the consequence, and then move on. If it is possible to address it at a later time when the teaching may be more effective, then do so.
We must study our children to really know them. It is easy for us to “put them on a pedestal;” however, this does them a great disservice. Proverbs 4:23 (NLT): “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Respond to these pushbacks with diligence in a training objective. Hold your ground, but remain calm.
- Psalm 25:7 (NLT): Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O LORD.”
- Psalm 144:12 (NLT): May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace.”
- Ecclesiastes 11:9 (NLT): Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.”