While on vacation a few years ago I picked up a few readings that sparked my interest. Throughout the next few publications I will be highlighting points from those readings. The first book was “Answering the 8 Cries of the Spirited Child” by Claudia and David Arp. As I read the title I reflected upon my family and the numerous children that I ministered to over the years. I believe that as young parents we are all looking for a deeper understanding of our children’s behavior. I remember a parent of a local body making the statement, “As a young Parent, I need help, I don’t know how to relate to my kids when they act like this.” I also remember a story in the book “Dare to Discipline” by James Dobson of a family that had two children who thought they were experts at parenting children until the third child came along, and the parents had to cry for help. Each child is wonderfully and uniquely created by God. We should stand in awe at Gods creativity, yet at times because of behaviors we tend to forget all the wonderful qualities that are instilled in children.
A key area of difficulty for many parents is the strong willed child. Whether you’re living it out in your home, you’ve seen it at the store, or you have watched one of the latest parenting shows on television. A strong willed child can be a handful, if you have one you are saying, “AMEN” if you don’t but you know what I am talking about you may be reflecting upon a show or situation where you thought, “O my Lord what is wrong with that child?” or “if that was my child I would.” With having three boys I can relate to those moments when one or all three are tag teaming my patience. I can empathize with parents whose child’s behavior in public goes beyond the norm. Many parents experience embarrassment, stress, anger, and confusion because they don’t understand how to redirect their child’s behaviors or why they may be having them.
An important principle for parents is prayerful evaluation (ref. James 1, Proverbs 1, 2) ask God for wisdom. Let God help you Discover what is causing the behavior? Is it the parenting approach to the child, or could it be a lack of structure? Allow God through His Word, Prayer and Testimony to give revelation. Once we begin to receive insight, prayerfully develop a method to help the child and then demonstrate it. A critical point to take note of is Testimony, talk to other parents, read books on raising children, glean from others experiences, see how God spoke to others and evaluate its effectiveness in your family.
Is your child Compliant, Spirited, Difficult, Oppositional, or Explosive? As parents of one or multiple children we could say at times our child can be all of the above. I would like to encourage you to take the “Spirited Child Inventory” on the back of this page. Through it you may receive insight that will help you minister to your children. When we know the root of the behavior we can be more confident on how to overcome it.