Search for the Treasure Behind the Disobedience

How often do you find yourself needing to correct your children’s behavior? How would you like to do it in a way that calls them up into who they are?

I find myself so often correcting my children but not calling them up into who they are. But this is dangerous business.

It is good to identify sin and help my children understand its influence. But if, when they misbehave, all I do is focus on and punish the sin without calling out the reality of God’s very image in them, they’ll begin to identify themselves with the sin, the misbehavor, or the problem they seem to be.

I definitely don’t want my kids to identify themselves with the sin or as a problem. So, what is the alternative? I can use each instance of disobedience as an opportunity to call my kids up into who they are.

The reality is that kids tap into their strengths to get what they want (not their weaknesses). Beneath the misbehavior is a gift gone awry and an opportunity to help them feel called and capable to use it for good instead.

Exemplify the Heart of God

God’s heart as the best and ultimate parent of every child is to call them up into who they are. He knows the absolute best way to do that for each child. I wrestled with understanding God as my Father for much of my life- that is until He taught me much about it here: Knowing God as Father by You are Worthy Ministries. God is the best parent for you and me. And He is the best parent for each of our children. He has chosen us as the best people to partner with Him in parenting the children entrusted to us. So, knowing His heart to call people up into the fullness of all they are created to be is essential for following His guidance in discipline approaches. Ask God to show you who He created each of your children to be and listen to Him in each situation to see the strength behind whatever disagreeable behavior slaps you in the face today.

The Strength Behind the Disobedience

Each instance of disobedience may highlight a weakness in my kids, but if I look really hard at that weakness and ask God His perspective on it, there is always a strength, skill, calling and/or gift of God behind it, just waiting to be encouraged to grow in a good direction.

For example, Moses murdering a guy looks like anger out of control. But God had called Moses to be a passionate defender of the Israelite people. My youngest is like a catalyst to create positive change. Taken too far, he can be hurtful, but each act of speaking with mean words or tone is an opportunity to remind him of the potential of the strength he took too far.

“Part of our calling is to search for any situation’s treasure.”

Jim and Lynne Jackson in Discipline That Connects with Your Child’s Heart p.129

Here are some other examples from Jim and Lynne Jackson’s book Discipline that Connects with your Child’s Heart page 128:

  • “Arguing/Talking back- Honest with feelings and opinions; confident. (Research has shown that argumentative children are less likely to lie or be deceitful. In the long run, they’re more likely to adopt their parents’ values because they passionately exchange ideas instead of going underground with their views).
  • Yelling- Expressive, longs to be understood
  • Stubbornness- Determined, intensely focused
  • Bossy/strong-willed- assertive; as the potential to lead
  • Lying- creative; has a good memory; wants to keep the peace
  • Stealing- planner; courageous; able to take risks
  • Irritable- sensitive; a desire for God-given pleasure and joy;” notices things others don’t
  • Insecure- Attuned to the feelings and perspectives of others
  • Impulsive- Lives in the moment; quick responder
  • Whining- persistent; insight into others (and what motivates them to make decisions, e.g., how parents give in)
  • Complaining- aware of problems; potential for problem-solving
  • Defensive- strong sense of right and wrong (Kids who have the hardest time admitting guilt are usually those who feel the worst about having done something wrong).”

Coach Them: They are Called and Capable in the Gift Gone Awry

Connected Families has an amazing framework for parenting that you can learn more about by clicking HERE. What we are talking today falls under the third tier: Coach: You are Called and Capable.

They offer a free deeper look at each of these at the bottom of THIS PAGE.

What Do I Say To My Child Using their Gift Negatively?

When you notice any gift gone awry, point it out to your child and redirect it. Here are some examples of what you can say:

  • God has clearly gifted you as an excellent ________. I wonder what would happen if you used that skill for His Kingdom.
  • I see you have a powerful gift for _______. How you just used it is not as helpful as ways I’ve seen you use it before. I wonder if you could use that gift to help us solve the problem we are working through.
  • I know that _______ is a great strength God has put in you. Just imagine what you could do if you work with God to build that strength and put it to use for good.

Find Out More from Connected Families

If you’d like to find out more, I encourage you to check out the great resources from Connected Families below:

NOTE: I am NOT affiliated with Connected Families (so I get nothing for directing you toward their resources). But I LOVE what they offer and it has blessed my family. I hope it can be a blessing to you, too.

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Photo created using Photo by Ashin K Suresh on Unsplash

Copyright ©  2023 Angela Edmonds. All rights reserved.


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