Honoring Mom and Dad in Conflict

Help kids biblically navigate emotional challenges

by Cindy Grantham/ April 15, 2015

At a recent church event, I observed a child and her minister-parent navigate what one would call a “meltdown.” As the parent tried to firmly reason with the child, the child became increasingly upset. Later the distraught parent apologized to me and asked for insight. Although there are a myriad of pat answers, there is really only one sure way to help our children navigate these difficult emotional challenges—by teaching them what the Bible has to say about handling conflict God’s way.  

It’s vital to use every teachable moment to give our children insight into how God wants us to respond to negative situations. Admittedly when we face conflict as a parent or pastor, it is sometimes difficult to respond without anger. However, our children are watching the example that we set. Do we blow up, fume and fuss behind the person’s back, and then choose to ignore them? Or do we follow Jesus’ example and calmly talk to the person about our conflict and respond with love? 

Conflict is a fact of life. Not only will our children face it within the bounds of family, but they will also experience conflict with friends, coworkers, and unfortunately even relative strangers. One of the most valuable things we can teach our children is to respond biblically when conflict arises. Consider these reminders: 

1. Stop and check your thoughts, words, and behavior. 

2. Ask yourself, “How would God have me to respond?” 

3. Talk appropriately about your feelings and concerns. 

It is inevitable that at times our children will feel upset―even angry―with us. Hopefully our teaching and example can lead them to understand that even when they don’t agree with us, they should respond with respect and honor. God has placed our children in our care to love, teach, and protect them. Help them to understand that by honoring you, they are honoring God. 

Are you discipling your child to view conflict as something to be avoided or as a chance for growth?