I think I’m being too controlling


My being too controlling on the kids is generally directed toward my eldest. He is a great child: very respectful, wins awards for citizenship, and all the teachers adore him and praise him. My problem is I snap at him for anything. Instead of being able to let it roll off, I have to put him down. I do it jokingly, but we all know there is some truth in every joke and he is no exception. I, for an unexplainable reason, didn`t attend his football games this year, always making up some lame excuse. I just think I have to be domineering to my family because of my own personal insecurities.


It sounds to me more like you are jealous of your eldest son's success, especially since you focus on putting him down, but not your other children. Jealousy is a bad thing when you are trying to hold on to something that doesn't belong to you. Envy and jealousy is often the root cause of contentions between people. "For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults" (II Corinthians 12:20). Or as James puts it, "For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy" (James 3:16-17).

Your boy is going to grow up. You put him on the right track. He is making great strides and he might exceed your own accomplishments in life. That means you did a good job in raising him. You are not in competition with your son. You're the guide to help him find his way in life so that he can succeed in being a godly man.

Now, as a parent, we know that teenagers will frequently get an inaccurate view of themselves. As they mature into adulthood they suddenly think that they can do anything and everything better than any other adult. At times we have to give them a reality check. It is during the teenage years that kids gain the ability to understand subtle humor. Often they toss out sly remarks and biting sarcasm to prove their cleverness. I love turning the tables on them, and my favorite lines are the ones where the teen doesn't realize he was insulted until two or three statements later. Yet for all of that, each knows that I love them dearly. I rarely engage them unless they start it (mostly because one of these days I know I'm going to lose these little matches).

What you need to do is re-focus on your purpose as a parent. Your success as a parent is measured in the success of your children to become godly men and women. It is your job to give them the moral foundation from which to build a life upon. In talking to women, Paul said, "Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control" (I Timothy 2:15). I believe the same basic principle applies to men as well. Our job is to teach others the gospel and when we do so, we save ourselves (Ezekiel 3:17-21). Especially notice the last verse: "Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul" (Ezekiel 3:21). It doesn't solely apply to people outside the church, it applies to a man's own family as well. That is why in listing the qualification of elders (those who lead a congregation), one qualification is "one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)" (I Timothy 3:4-5). And to Titus Paul said that these men must have "faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination" (Titus 1:6).

Focus on the goal, not on the moment.

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