Ever complemented a parent on how wonderful their child is only to be told “I wish he/she were that way at home”? For some reason we say it bothers us, but tend to tolerate children who are unkind, disrespectful and down right mean and ugly at home. We tell ourselves it was because they had a bad day, their hormones are raging or it’s part of growing up in today’s world. We console ourselves that at least their behavior outside of the home is godly.
The good news (if there is any) is that your kids feel comfortable letting their hair down and being themselves at home – especially after a bad day. The bad news is their behaviors reveal there are still some heart issues regarding self-control, kindness, gentleness, goodness and a host of other fruits of the Spirit. By ignoring their behaviors or writing it off to a bad day, hormones or growing pains, you are allowing these heart issues to begin to take root permanently in their hearts.
Unfortunately, this is not a simple or easy fix. You can correct the behaviors over time with consistent correction and consequences. If you aren’t careful though, the heart problems remain, now hidden under appropriate behaviors. The other problem is that behaviors are best corrected in the moment, while heart adjustments are better addressed when everyone is calmer. Which means you have to remember to address what just happened several hours or days later to begin really working on the heart problems your child exhibited.
Insisting your children treat everyone in your family with loving kindness – regardless of the circumstances – will train them to behave well not only in your family, but later when they marry and have their own families. Addressing the heart issues will help mold their hearts towards God and becoming the Christian light He wants them to be to the world. It will take a lot of time and effort on your part, but the rewards for your family and your children’s futures make it worth it.