UTLOT - Myth #1

Myth #1

Either the parents are in control of the baby or the baby is controlling the parent.

The Lord has placed parents in authority over their children to train and care for them. However, it is very unhelpful to see this relationship as a battle for control between two opposing wills. In the first place, it is NOT TRUE that ``either the parent is in control or the child is in control." For example, when a baby soils his diaper, who is in control? The parent or the child? Or when a baby wakes up in the night, who is in control? Did the baby wake up on purpose to spoil the sleep of his parents?

In actual fact, a baby is never in control of anything or anyone. He is totally helpless to force anyone to do anything. If the parent decides to change the soiled diaper, it is because the parent believes that is the right way to deal with the situation, not because the baby has somehow exerted his will over the parents (even though no parent wants to change a soiled diaper). When the baby cries in the night, the parent is free to choose whether to respond to the baby or not. Those parents who go in and pick up the baby are doing so of their own free will, as are those who choose to ignore the baby.

Therefore, it is clear that it is the beliefs of the parent that determine the way the parent will react to the child. If a parent does not do what he believes is the right thing to do, he will feel guilty. If he does what he believes is right, he will not feel guilty. That is why it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that we get our beliefs about parenting from the Bible and not from the world or worldly wisdom. Those whose ``hearts have been hardened by the continual practice of evil" can do unthinkable things to their children without any apparent awareness that they are doing wrong.

Our goal as Christian parents must be to be controlled (ourselves) by the Holy Spirit and the counsel of God's word. As we pray to the Lord for discernment, we must not be afraid to act on the basis of what the Lord shows us and disregard the counsel of the ``wisdom of this world." If others tell you that your child is controlling you, remember that until your child is big enough to physically overpower you, he cannot control you. What is deter is never mining the way you respond is something you or believe... so look carefully at what you believe in that situation.

Do not act out of fear of what others will say or think, or fear of your child's response, but out of fear of the Lord. It is He who judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12), and He alone. And it is the Holy Spirit that will guide us into all truth (Jn. 16:13) through God's Word and the conscience He has given us, so we must be careful to listen to Him as we test the things we are taught. In John 14:26 Jesus says, ``All this I have spoken to you while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

So do not worry about whether or not your baby is ``controlling" you (he can't!), instead ask yourself ``is the Holy Spirit controlling me right now?" If not, why not?