5 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Intervening In Your Child’s Life

One of the hidden secrets to successful Christian parenting is understanding that you may not always be there to micromanage your child’s life. It is important to raise children who can think through situations and make the best possible decisions in the moment based on what God would want them to do.

But we live in a microwave world and even Christian parents can fall into the trap of immediately intervening whenever their child has an issue, because… let’s be honest… it’s faster and easier for us to do it properly for them. Unfortunately, that creates an attitude of helplessness that is not in their long term best interest.

The next time your child has an issue or a problem, ask yourself these five questions before jumping in to intervene on your child’s behalf.

  1. Is this something my child has already tried to handle independently? Most situations that happen in childhood can be easily handled by the child if he or she takes a moment to think about the best way to deal with the situation and takes those steps. This may take a bit of trial and error, but a good rule of thumb is to ask the child what has been attempted to rectify the situation before coming to you. (Note: This question can also cut down on tattling and whining if used consistently.)
  2. Is this a situation you can teach or coach your children to handle for themselves? Interpersonal conflicts are going to occur throughout their lives. It’s better to take some time teaching them how to handle these common situations and coaching them through the process than swooping into fix it. It takes a little more time on the front end, but can save you tons of time and stress later.
  3. Is this a situation where you need to teach your child how to pray and wait on God? These are important Christian life skills. Even you can’t fix situations that require praying and waiting on God. If you try, you are more likely to make the situation worse than you are to fix it. (Note: Every decision should be covered in prayer. In this particular situation, it is obvious to you as an experienced adult that the only option is to wait for the situation to play itself out and for God to act within those things that are obviously out of your control.)
  4. Will not intervening teach your child an important life lesson? Has your child procrastinated to the last second on a school project and then expects you to swoop in and help finish it? Your child will learn more from the bad grade for a late or poorly completed project. (Just remember that this lesson is best taught early when one bad grade has little impact on your child’s academic future.) If the life lesson will not be dangerous or cause permanent damage to your child in some way, it may be better for the lesson to be learned by experience.
  5. Could your intervention actually make things worse? I would imagine every parent has erred here at some point. We want to support our children, but sometimes our best efforts to help them backfire. Sometimes taking a breath to consider other options will help you make the best choice when you believe intervening is your only option. Remember that when you do decide you need to intervene, your children are watching you to see how you treat other people as you attempt to correct a situation. If you throw a tantrum, that’s how they will learn to handle conflict themselves.

Being supportive of your children when they are struggling is wonderful Christian parenting. Just make sure your support doesn’t do more harm than good.

Published by

Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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