Two Things To Remember When Your Kid Snubs You For Someone Else
"I don't want you to help me."
It's hard for a parent to not take that personally.
Sometimes our kids will spontaneously snub us in order to intentionally turn to another parent or family member. Other times, the opposite will occur, and we'll be the ones they turn to.
Recently I saw a little girl at a barbecue do this after she skinned her knee. Her father ran over to help her, and she defiantly explained, "I don't want you to help me. I want Mom."
Fortunately the dad didn't seem to take it personally. He simply walked his daughter over to his wife and exchanged an unspoken parental baton pass. Mom and daughter went inside to clean things off and apply a bandage.
That was it for the dad, apparently. That is, until the little girl came out and wouldn't sit with anyone else except him. For more than an hour, dad held her while sitting in his camp chair, and mom smiled from across the party.
We're In This Parenting Thing Together
One challenging-yet-liberating truth about parenting is that we don't have everything our kids need. This is challenging because we want to be able to meet every need our kids have, and it's frustrating when they turn to others instead of us. But it's also liberating because the monumental task of raising our kids doesn't fall our shoulders alone.
There will be times when your kids think they need you.
There will be times when they think they need another family member, neighbor, or friend.
What they really need is what God offers through many different people.
Perhaps they're seeking the confident assurance of being protected or the strength to be picked up. Maybe they may want something more nurturing, like comforting words or the freedom to express themselves without criticism.
God offers it all, but he offers it through us all, together.
The next time you get "the snub" from your son or daughter, here are two things to keep in mind:
1. Redeem the inner "talk" you give yourself when your kids choose other people instead of you.
Watching your child walk away from you and toward another adult can make you think you're somehow insignificant. Such false thoughts will overtake you unless you overtake them with truth. Remind yourself that God will work through many people to help your kids grow up. Find a metaphor to help, such as "That person is another chisel God's using to carve out my kid."
2. Know that sometimes it's okay to pull your kids back.
At times you’ll need to tell your kids that you are the one who is going to help them, despite their insistence on help from someone else. God operates the same way at times when we ask him for something and he seems to reply, "I am more than enough for you right now." It's okay to tenderly, yet firmly, take care of some needs yourself.