6 things parents can do to help their children stop harbouring feelings of hatred and bitterness towards them

In the Bible, children are instructed to honour their parents. Parents on the other hand are instructed not to embitter their children.

The instructions are meant to make families stronger – and to fill the heart of each member with love.

It is in the best interest of both parent and child to be able to arrive at decisions that take the best interest of the whole family, in the short term and long term, more seriously.

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These decisions must be geared towards driving away bitterness – something that sometimes leads young children and teens to run away from home.

Why would a child be bitter towards their parent?

When the parent insists they do something that is good for them – something that the kids don’t want to spend more of their time doing

Some kids call their parents strict, boring, anti-fun, old-fashioned, among many names. A child may be told to spend more time studying instead of chatting with their friends and complete strangers on the internet or spending many hours watching television.

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If your child hates you because they see you as pushy, may be it is time to change your approach, and recommend alternative activities in a better way. Find the good in TV and chat sites, and persuade them to spend more time studying.

It is going to take time and a lot of effort on your side, especially if you haven’t already started having regular serious talk with your kids – which is not easy, given how kids and parents seem to be busy from beginning to the end of every month.

If you have young children, you could study together more often, take them to museums, parks and learn from there.

And to grab away someone from the hooks of TV, you must create alternatives with better hooks. I have never seen anything better than parents and children acting like friends, sharing their thoughts, laughing, singing to a song together, visiting a place or taking a walk together, without each party forgetting his or her place – and the responsibilities that come with it.

You could also find out your kid’s talent and be actively involved in helping them grow it. This makes other things that may have a hold on them to be unable to influence them as you do. Persuading them becomes a little bit easier this way and even if they were really mad at you, that bitterness goes away faster.

Parent does something that is both wrong (a crime) and always makes the child feel ashamed

Child abuse tops this list. And many young hearts are filled with hate this way. But can a parent stop? Yes. It can be done today.

No parent needs to feel that they must continue with the wrong things they have been doing simply because they must protect their ego or feel that this is the best way to keep their child within certain boundaries or because they assume their child enjoys what they are doing.

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Everything that affects the child negatively must be stopped, even if the child seems to like it. No parent has to continue feeding the bad habit they pushed into their child. Why? Because, many children are deeply hurting inside but may nevertheless wear beautiful smiles.

Some don’t complain about all the shame and guilt piled on them but that doesn’t mean the mound of bitterness inside them isn’t slowly turning into a hill. But you may be surprised at the number of children who are willing to forgive their parents if they just stopped whatever wrong things they do and asked for forgiveness.

Parent does something that makes their child feel unloved

As parents shower their kids with love, they may occasionally be tempted to take action that leads a child to think they are unloved, even if for a minute, to get them back in line.

Normally there are other options to be considered, but this one always feels attractive.

Its effect may be immediate compared to the other options but it certainly isn’t the best option to go with. Better make sure your love has a 99% uptime guarantee. If not, work on it, because the lower the percentage, the more the deposits of bitterness will be found in your child’s heart.

Parent makes promises they don’t keep

If you are in the businesses of making a ton of promises, you better be ready for the expectations that come with such promises. If you are a father or mother and promise your son or daughter that you’ll be present during their graduation (no matter how strained the relationship you have had in the past), try your best. Be there, if you say, ‘Yes. I’ll be in attendance.’

If your kids constantly beg you to spend more time with the family and you give them your word, better stick to it. If you keep them begging for years, a time may come when they’ll stop begging altogether – and they’ll blame some of their woes on your absence – and that’s more bitterness.

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Parent mistreats their spouse

How would you feel if someone else kept beating a person you love? How would you feel if one of your parents was beating the other?

Remember that every time you mistreat your spouse, you won’t be hurting only one person. You’ll be hurting each member of your family, only you’ll be too busy you even won’t realize it.

Not listening to the child’s side of the story

It hurts when a parent makes a decision without taking the time to hear out what their child has to say. It is like a blind person insisting that a ball is green even when it is blue, right? Spare a minute and listen to avoid bitterness that may take years to do away with.

These are the few examples I wanted to share with you today. There are many other examples I haven’t included in this article but I hope you’ll share some of your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.

How do you help your children?

1. Pray to God Almighty to guide you

Every new day comes with new opportunities and challenges. Pray that your eyes may be wide open and that you may be able – however hard it is for you – to let your child’s purpose flourish without casting a shadow on it.

2. Work together as a team

When the child does his or her part, the parents should do their part too, for that’s what needs to be done.

3. Make amendments

Know the consequences of your decisions on your child’s future and make some amendments immediately you notice you have made a mistake. Acknowledge that life is too fragile (and precious) that anything that may stunt its growth must be uprooted fast.

4. Know your children’s dreams, goals, hopes, and don’t overstep your boundaries

Talk to your children, let them tell you about what they like and dislike. Learn about what they want to do while here on earth, and instead of pushing past your boundaries, guide them, so that they may become responsible, loving, humble individuals who live to fulfill their purpose here on earth.

5. Acknowledge that one bitter person can make more people bitter

Bitterness can sometimes be like flu. So be the parent who works hard everyday to make sure that the young ones go about their day with as little bitterness in their hearts as possible.

6. Ask for forgiveness

It won’t make you less of a parent.

Your thoughts on this? Any advice you’d like to share with other parents, perhaps from first hand experience – or just from keen observation of what other parents are doing?

Note: Read more parenting articles.

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