It certainly can be discouraging when you have a child that is consistently challenging every rule, boundary and authority. I believe I can help you.
Yeas ago I would have said, and probably said it with righteous indignity, “Pray about it.” And I would have left it at that. While I’m not trying to diminish the power of prayer I have learned over the years that we have a responsibility to equip ourselves.
So many of the challenging kids today are children that live in a broken world, a dysfunctional family or live a chaotic lifestyle. These kids need more than rules heaped upon them. These children need relationships. But how do you build a relationship with a child who seems to want nothing to do with you, with your church or even with the Lord God Almighty?
Here is my formula for building that relationship and for keeping oneself ready and able to minister to and work with challenging behavior kids.
Clothes yourselves with this dress code
Bind all of these virtues together in perfect unity with the gift of love.
Sound familiar? It is from Colossians 3:12-14 Sounds simple but let me tell you from experience I know it is not that simple. It can be done though and that’s where prayer comes in.
Go to God and ask Him to reveal to you
- How you can be compassionate when the child is raging at you
- How you can be kind when the child lashes out at you
- How you can be humble and filled with humility at the injustice this child may be experiencing
- How you can remain or even attempt to be gentle in your dealing with a child who seems to just not care
- How you can have patience for all the shenanigans
- How you can forgive this child week after week
When you dress yourself in these virtues you will be modeling the love of Christ to these children. These virtues are a step in the right direction. Once you have exhibited these virtues and built a relationship with these children then you can add boundaries or specific discipline techniques.