Frustration can be a huge source of stress in anyone’s life, but among parents of a growing family, it can wear out both mother and father and result in unnecessary conflict. When the expectations are unrealistic or ill-defined, progress cannot be easily ascertained or experienced. As the expression goes, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
The most important areas to work on are attitude and behavior. Establishing acceptable attitudes and identifying toxic ones will lead to behavior changes. Children need to understand that a Christian family does not operate in terms of entitlements. Thus, it isn’t their room, or their toys. They are recipients of grace (God’s and that of their parents), and it is important that they learn to express gratitude early in their lives. They also need to comprehend that what is truly theirs, is their need for repentance.
I have seen large families operate in this fashion. They will be the first to admit that it takes discipline on the part of the parents to establish family rules. The children eventually respond, especially when they realize that these family rules are derived from God’s rules. Dad and Mom are not making it up as they go along. Letting children understand from the outset that parents need to give an account to God, removes any sense that the rules are based on the parents’ personal preferences.
In spite of parents’ best efforts there will be times when an impasse is reached. At this point, parents should seek the counsel of those who’ve travelled the road of raising children before them. Good reading material and helpful advice from many quarters can provide useful support. The task then comes of putting beneficial policies into practice, keeping in mind that you must inspect what you expect. Don’t assume that because there are established guidelines, they will immediately be followed. Children will not automatically or instantaneously step in line. That is why parents need to be solid in their understanding that consistency and repetition are necessary components of godly parenting, and that retreat is not an option when the going gets rough.
Instead of becoming frustrated, i.e., of experiencing annoyance or upset based on an inability to change the situation, the remedy is to know God’s law, apply it in your own life, and establish it as the operating basis for the family. That is how Kingdom-driven families succeed.