I mentioned in my last article, most of the public shaming implemented as a form of discipline have been exacted on daughters and not sons. So I want to take some time to shed light on why this is harmful to our girls and what they need to help them better understand who they are and why they exist.
First and foremost, our children, sons or daughters are not here to make up for any loss childhood dreams we’ve had. They were not created so we can boast about what great parents we are. And lastly, God never created them so that we can somehow feel “whole”.
God created every human being to know Him, His love and everlasting life through repentance and faith in His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Knowing the purpose in which they were created by our Creator, our primary goal as parents ought to be to share the Gospel with them, shower them with God’s grace and mercy and demonstrate in life and speech, what it means to live in the freedom Christ has given all who believe (Rom 6:6-7, 12-14).
God instructs us in His Word that we, the parents are to diligently disciple, that is, train up and teach our own children rather than expect the church, school curriculum or other outside influences to do it (Deut 6:5-9). While all these extra-familial sources may help guide a child, it is the parents primary responsibility to love, lead, train and protect.
When we neglect to obey God and apply the wisdom we can readily find in His Word, we exasperate our children and make them prone to anger and acts of rebellion.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord...Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”
~Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21
God designed girls more delicately, and therefore we’re more easily bruised in every way: physically, emotionally and spiritually. God made females to be more relational than males and therefore, we require more stability and security in our lives—especially within our relationships. When someone breaks trusts with us, it’s very damaging and something very difficult to recover from.
When females are injured, we tend to react in extremes. We either completely fall apart and into depression, or we buck up and try to behave more like a man with a “take charge” attitude in order to protect ourselves since there doesn’t seem to be anyone else who’s willing to shield us from life’s pains.
Realizing this about girls, I find it disheartening that most of these abrasive, public shaming tactics have been used on precious, vulnerable and troubled girls.
Moms today seem to be so busy trying to remain looking and feeling youthful themselves, they behave more like their daughter’s competitor than their biggest cheerleader, confidant; and the older, wiser woman that every gal needs in her life...no matter her age (Titus 2:3-5).
Us moms need to remember what it was like for us when we were their age and how we felt about ourselves, the world around us, and the confusion about how exactly we fit in.
Dads neglect to spend enough quality time with their girls because they feel uncomfortable playing with dolls or doing other “girly” things. But girls aren’t one dimensional. We enjoy many other things like: dressing up and going to a play, having a nice “Daddy and Daughter Date Night”, going to the zoo while holding hands with Daddy, laughing together while having a tickle fight or enjoy snuggling with homemade popcorn and her favorite movie and so much more.
Dads need to stop making their girls feel like they need to be more like boys to get their father’s attention or approval. And mom’s need to stop making their girls feel “less than” in order to keep them in line.
Both mothers and fathers need to make sure their girls feel like a princess by treasuring them; telling her you love her at least a million times a day; daily complimenting her appearance, attitude, or whatever else you can find to encourage her...be creative!
Us parents need to aspire to have open, honest and friendly relations with our children, without ever becoming their “buddy” and wanting our kids to think we’re “cool”...that’s what their peers are for. For more on this, read, “Christian Parenting Goals 101”.
Much like our relationship with God, our children should fear us, but they shouldn’t be afraid of us. Reverent fear comes from love and respect. Being afraid comes from lack of trust and unhealthy fear that someone will do us harm. A child should never feel that way about a parent.
Loving our children doesn’t mean we always agree with them, it means we love them whether they do good or evil and we sacrificially spend ourselves to do whatever it takes, regardless of what it might cost us, to reach them for Christ. That’s what godly love looks like: it sacrifices for others and is willing to endure shame (like Christ on the Cross for our sake) for the greater benefit of others...not the other way around.
God’s powerful love is true, strong and stable like a rock. The world’s “love” is false, ooshy gooshy and has the viscosity of mud. Give your children God’s love and read your Bibles and get discipled by others who’ve gone ahead of you, so you can see what godly parenting looks like.
Loving our children means we discipline them daily in accordance with God’s Word, and not just when they do something wrong.
Bottom line: Girls need private and public security, not private and public disgrace.
Below are some good and soundly biblical resources to help parents train up their children in the Way (of Christ) they ought to go.
- Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus (paperback) - by mother/daughter team Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
- Parenting Collection - This collection by Pastor-Teacher John MacArthur includes: Crucial Lessons for a Wise Father CD, The Extraordinary Mother (hardcover), Cultivating a Godly Child (booklet), and What the Bible Says About Parenting (softcover).
- Parenting God’s Way (booklet) - Alistair Begg
- Parental Priorities: God’s Design for the Family CD - Alistair Begg
- Shepherding a Child’s Heart - Tedd Tripp
- Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens - Paul David Tripp
May we all, as parents, have a healthy fear of God and remember that our children are not our own, but they were created by God; and one day, we'll have to answer to Him about how we decided to raise them.