Summary: God’s holiness and love provides an excellent framework for parenting in healthy ways in families. Neglect one to your peril.
Most of you remember rather well how you were disciplined, or how you weren’t. That will often shape the kind of parent you become.
When you get there, it can be really frustrating. As a parent you’re wondering, "Why won’t they listen to me. They’re disrespectful and I can’t get them to do the smallest of tasks. Why do they listen to the babysitter more than they do to me?"
In one classroom, it’s chaos, with everyone talking and basically doing what they want. Yet the same group moves to another class and there, they are relatively in order and civil. What’s the difference? The teacher.
If you’ve ever taught, or babysat, or been a counselor, or a parent, you know that discipline isn’t easy. What we’ll see today, is that thought it’s certainly not easy, it’s necessary, especially in a home.
There are three ways to learn something. One is from a good example. The other is from your own experience. The other is from someone else’s bad experience. So we’ll start with this:
DANGERS OF PERMISSIVE PARENTING
Let’s get some obvious things out in the open. David’s children were the result of several wives, so there are complicating factors. The closest thing we have to that around here may be a blended family. But just the same, you’ll recognize that what led to the breakdown in David’s family is also a factor in many of our homes today.
I’m going to tell this story knowing that there are young ears present. It’s found in 2 Sam 13. It’s ugly. In brief, Amnon became infatuated with his half-sister. He told lies and manipulated her to be alone with her. He made advances, she objected, but he violated her anyway. He hated her after that and sent her out where she grieved aloud.
The extent of David’s actions is found in 13:21. It says, he was angry -- and did nothing, Though he had been used, he sat there. Though his own daughter was abused by his own son, there were no consequences.
This royal family is not acting like nobility at all. It’s a scandal much bigger than even Charles and Camilla have produced. Here though, we see what permissive parenting often brings about.
Manipulation tactics. Everyone battles selfishness, but in a permissive home, children are unusually spoiled. To get their way, they will do just about anything. Amnon enticed Tamar into the room by pretending to be sick. He even used his father as the communication route.
In a permissive home, children will pretend to be sick so they don’t have to go to school. They will put on a big show and throw a temper tantrum so they don’t have to clean up their toys. They’ll say, "I’m thirsty so they don’t have to go to bed. Why? They know it works.
If you don’t respond, they’ll try to make you feel like you don’t care because they know very well that the thing you want most is to be liked.
Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, once observed this about American families: "The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children".
You also get Sibling Warfare. It’s normal for brothers and sisters to fight. I have to laugh ever time I think of One chap I talked with said, "Sometimes me and my brother would just pound on each other and then we’d be friends."
In the permissive home, friendship is often difficult because every kid is battling for the upper hand. When they’re harmed by another, they want to equal the score because the parents won’t step in.
When they yell to each other, "I hate you," it’s real, tangible, and scary. 13:22 says Absalom "hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar."
The rule of force often prevails as in v 14. You do it because you can, and you doubt anyone stronger will do much about it. That, of course creates
Insecurity Permissive parents want to create a loving place, yet the opposite often happens. Why? Because the reality is that it is natural for people to want power, whether young or old. Bad use of power creates fear.
Children who don’t respect their parents often fear one another, because they know their siblings will use their power. The stronger one usually wins. In some cases the violence and abuse is extreme. Another result:
Shame & Depression - Tamar is the obvious victim. I think one of the saddest verses is 19 "Tamar put ashes on her head, tore the long-sleeved gown she had on, put her hands on her head, and went away crying."
The weakest members of a family need protection, plain and simple. Sometimes it’s a female, sometimes a male. Often it’s the youngest, sometimes it’s a middle child, occasionally the first born or even a parent.