>Rebuilding Parent-Children Bridges
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4
Ephesians 6:1-4 KJV (RCCG Sunday School STUDENT Manual 21 March 2021)
Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents the way the Lord wants, because this is the right thing to do.
Eph 6:2 The command says, “You must respect your father and mother.” This is the first command that has a promise with it.
Eph 6:3 And this is the promise: “Then all will go well with you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”
Eph 6:4 Fathers, don’t make your children angry, but raise them with the kind of teaching and training you learn from the Lord.
Building parents-children bridges can be an uphill task. It is obvious that there is a generational gap between parents and their children. When we compare two generations and when there is a considerable difference in the lifestyles, habits, likes and dislikes of the people belonging to these separate times, problems due to the age gap arise. It is no secret that these days, these gaps are widening by width and bounds. This lack of understanding of social, moral, political, musical, fashion or religious opinion leads to a lack of acceptance which is the primary reason families break.
- Causes Of Relational Gap Between Parents And Children
- Bridging The Gap
1. CAUSES OF RELATIONAL GAP BETWEEN PARENTS AND CHILDREN
- Generational Gap: Generational gap means being born and living around the same time, also known as ‘coevals. When there is a significant gap of time among two coevals, it is defined as a ‘generational gap’. A generation gap or generational gap is a difference of opinions between one generation and another regarding beliefs, politics, or values. 1 Kings 12:3-10.
- Culture Shift: Modification of a way of life through innovation, invention, discovery, or contact with other societies. It derives from the experience of encountering new ways of doing things that challenge the basic belief that your doing things is the “correct” way (Gen 29:25-26).
- Need for Space: Parents feel protective about their children and they like to be involved and be informed about the things that are happening in their children’s lives. However, the younger generation feels a need for space as they are discovering and experimenting with new things. Judges 14:1-3.
- Thought-Flow Differences: Parent’s morals and views of life can be very different from their children’s. This can lead to either imposition of ideals/decisions or friction/resistance on the part of the children. Judges 14:3.
- Little or no Attention/Support: The busy schedules of many parents, as a result of their career or other engagements, have severed the relationship they have with their children. Children from such homes suffer from a lack of attention, emotional/psychological support, etc. 1 Sam. 16:11.
2. BRIDGING THE GAP
The reality of a generation gap is only in terms of age. If parents put aside their ego and look at things from an entirely different perspective, they would perhaps never have a gap between them and their children. Here are some tips on how parents can bridge the gap between them and their children:
- Communicate constantly: When parents communicate respectfully at an opportune time with their children, they are letting them know that they are willing to do all it takes to lessen the age gap and understand things from the points of view. Prov. 25:11.
- Listen and understand: Parents sometimes tend to talk too idealist. They should rather learn to listen, let their children voice their opinions for better understanding. Nagging or giving lectures all the time is not a good idea. Col. 3:21, Eph. 6:4.
- Be open-minded: When parents open their hearts, they look at things from a new perspective. This is very important if they must understand their children’s own priorities and habits. 1 Thess. 5:21.
- Learn to accept: Parents have to first accept that they “lived” in a world different from today. Therefore, they have to make the effort to understand and accept their children’s reasonable perspectives and priorities. Eccl. 3:1.
- Break through your imperfection and fear: Parents should realise that they are not perfect just as their children are not also perfect. Let not your parenting be done out of fear but in love. Parents must model God’s love with their words and actions. Prov. 22:6.
1 Kings 12:3-10
1Ki 12:3 The people of the northern tribes sent for him, and then they all went together to Rehoboam and said to him,
1Ki 12:4 “Your father Solomon treated us harshly and placed heavy burdens on us. If you make these burdens lighter and make life easier for us, we will be your loyal subjects.”
1Ki 12:5 “Come back in three days and I will give you my answer,” he replied. So they left.
1Ki 12:6 King Rehoboam consulted the older men who had served as his father Solomon’s advisers. “What answer do you advise me to give these people?” he asked.
1Ki 12:7 They replied, “If you want to serve these people well, give a favourable answer to their request, and they will always serve you loyally.”
1Ki 12:8 But he ignored the advice of the older men and went instead to the young men who had grown up with him and who were now his advisers.
1Ki 12:9 “What do you advise me to do?” he asked. “What shall I say to the people who are asking me to make their burdens lighter?”
1Ki 12:10 They replied, “This is what you should tell them: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist!’
Col 3:21 Parents, do not irritate your children, or they will become discouraged.
Pro 22:6 Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life.
Building the gap between parents and children involves doing what is needed to be done as parents by becoming a little more understanding and accepting what their children see as their ‘world’
i. What are the gaps between parents and children?
ii. How can the gap be bridged?
ASSIGNMENT: List five devastating effects of allowing or tolerating gap between parents and children.