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"The entrance of thy words giveth light (Psalm 119:130)."

Parents and Mental Health

"And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4 NKJV)."

Men and women are afforded by God with an awesome privilege and responsibility when they become parents. And they are accountable to God in terms of how they handle this responsibility.

The Scripture above says a lot. It tells parents what to do and it tells them what not to do.

First, what to do: Parents are to bring their children up "in the training and admonition of the Lord." Parents have a responsibility to know what is in the Bible and apply biblical principles to family life. Daily Bible reading and church attendance is essential.

Parents who do this will not be without challenges. But, they will have done what is necessary to be successful as parents. This is a promise from God. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man (or woman) of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV)."

Second, a stark warning: "fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath." It is necessary to discipline children, of course. Correction up to and to the extent of spanking (within reason) is appropriate and necessary.

However, the end result should not be a child who becomes bitter and resentful. Too often, parents forget that God is the ultimate authority. And that they are commanded to "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers (Ephesians 4:29 NKJV)." Parents often forget that they have a responsibility to speak the truth in love.

The result of such an oversight can be a disaster. When children become bitter, the Devil gets a foothold as a result of their sin. The result is often anxiety, depression and a host of other maladies.

At this point, parents often turn to secular therapists and psychiatrists. It's a lot easier than to face up to their sin. But secular therapy is usually ineffective in resolving spiritual footholds.1 And psychotropic medication is damaging to the child's health and can sometimes result in additional mental health issues (e.g. Mania that results from antidepressants).

Parents who find themselves in this predicament need to start by confessing their sin to their children, their spouses and God. Don't offer any excuses, just ask for forgiveness.

Parents also need to forgive each other and themselves. Bitterness and self-castigation will only result in additional suffering for the family.

By being cognizant of Scripture, parents can avoid many unnecessary heartaches from occurring in the first place. By confessing and forsaking sin, parents can prevent their mistakes from turning into disasters.

1 The exception is when therapists are effective at conflict resolution.

 

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Scripture quotations marked "NKJV™" are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.