“My kid likes to pick fights with me. She loves to poke me and get under my skin.”
Rebels and prodigals love to argue and accuse. They know just what buttons to push to get an emotional rise out of mom and dad.
Jesus can relate. He had the same issues. Argument baiting, mocking, and insulting comments happened to him too.
So what did Jesus do during these exchanges?
When he was mocked and insulted Jesus gave no answer (Luke 23). He didn’t react. He didn’t defend himself.
In Mark 15 Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus answered honest questions, honestly. He agreed where he agreed.
Answered Affirmatively without Argument.
Jesus agreed, “Yes it is as you say.”
He found the common ground with Pilate. But to the chief priests accusations he gave no response. He didn’t get dragged into a debate. He didn’t acknowledge the accusations.
Offer no Defense.
One daughter told her mom the angst and guilt she felt over her own personal behavior was her mother’s fault.
I encouraged the mom not to receive that comment or respond to it. God is her defender. The comment is intended to be emotional manipulation. Just say, “Hmmm…”
Ask a Question.
Another option this mom has is to respond with a question, “Have you considered the feelings you have may be the Holy Spirit?”
Asking a question is a good way to get clarification.
Jesus asked Pilate, “Is that your own idea or did others talk to you about me?” (John 18:34).
A parent may say, “Tell me how you think I will answer your question.”
This question is nonthreatening and provides insight into the rebel’s perspective. Then, if there is confusion or misunderstanding, it can be addressed.
Rebels and prodigals are unsettled in their situations. This is why they love to debate and argue. They need to continually justify their belief or behavior and in the process shame others for opposing or differing views.
It is up to moms and dads to be full of grace and truth, stay in control, and demonstrate kindness during the challenging moments.
Just like Jesus. Choose to respond with silence, respect, openness, or a question depending on how God leads you in that particular circumstance.
If you would like more information on parental and child anger and what to do about it–check out these books: Raising Little Kids with Big Love and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love. If you head over to the 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Store to buy them the proceeds from the sales go into the 1C13P ministry. Or if you prefer the books are also available over a Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.