When life unfolds according to our dreams and expectations, we feel satisfied, rewarded and exhilarated because things are lining up according to our plan. On the other hand, missed expectations (when things don’t turn out as we dreamed, imagined or thought) can lead to frustration, sadness and even despair. These same potent emotions can enter into our parenting.
Maybe we have an idea in our mind how our children will turn out yet along the way we see they are not quite fitting that mold or image. What do we do? In times like these, we must first ask ourselves if our concerns regard a moral issue or simply an amoral issue that does not follow our own predetermined plan.
We need to be mindful of where we are in the parenting process to effectively influence our children on moral issues. (Refer to Growing Kids God’s Way for a detailed explanation.) Our parental role in the lives of our children transitions as our children grow in age and as they demonstrate moral maturity.
When referring to amoral issues that don’t contradict a biblical standard, we need to use discernment. There is nothing wrong with wanting God’s highest and best for our children but sometimes we put God in a box and limitations on our children thinking we know what’s best for them. How we handle unmet expectations has the power to bring life or destruction to the relationship. There is alwayslife giving ways to handle all situations for even the toughest moral issues. God can use these situations as teachable moments that can actually make our relationship with our child even closer. On the flip side, take caution, missed expectations can also drive us to parenting out of control, driven by fear, which can be destructive to precious relationships.
God has entrusted our children to us to help mold and train them into vessels to be used by Him. It is inevitable; we will face unmet expectations along the way. After all, life does throw us curveballs. It is important we surrender our children, and our expectations, to the One who made them…. the One who loves our children even more than we do.