Kids are funny. We think they are naive and in some ways they are. Most kids though have a keen awareness of when adults want to hear what they want to hear and not the absolute truth. That’s why adults are often shocked when a kid goes “off the rails”. He or she probably had lots of questions and concerns, but didn’t share them with an adult for fear of upsetting that delicate balance.
As a Christian parent, you absolutely need to know what your child is thinking and feeling – especially if it isn’t something you don’t want to hear. Not to be overly dramatic, but you are in a war with Satan for your child’s soul. You can’t win a battle, you don’t know you are fighting.
We are afraid of the truth. We don’t want to know our children are seriously considering disobeying one or more of God’s commands. We don’t want to know our children have questions and doubts about God or what He wants from them. Honestly, I don’t want to know either.
Unfortunately, it is only by knowing that we have a chance to help and guide. Those questions, doubts and temptations are scary to your children too. If you don’t find out what they are thinking and help them make godly choices, someone else in the world will help.
Your children will eventually get help from someone to process these things – even if they never ask for it. They will read a book or sit in a class with an atheist professor or worse yet, have someone they believe to be godly give them a very ungodly answer. They may choose to believe it, because you have not given them an alternative to consider. You haven’t spent the time needed to help them process what God wants and accept it for their lives.
The results of not knowing what your kids are really thinking can be catastrophic. Ask questions and make it clear you want the absolute truth – even if they know you won’t like it. Bite your tongue if you are tempted to blow a gasket when they share something that scares you to death. If you overreact, they will pull back immediately. There may be a time and a place for that later, but for the moment try to stay calm and ask a lot of questions. Once your child has said everything he or she has to say, then and only then should you start to share what God has to say.
As much as it may scare you, start asking those questions and listening to the real answers. Ask them again periodically, because as your children grow and mature, they will have different questions, doubts and concerns. You want to catch them as early as possible and began talking about them – not wait until the child is deeply embedded in doubt or sin. Take the time and talk to your kids. It can make all the difference in the world.