Skipping school. Running away. Choosing the wrong friends. Cheating on a test. Lying. Stealing. When we know of a child who has done these things, our minds immediately jump to the conclusion that something is wrong at home. Something is wrong with the parents. Something is wrong with the kids. But the reality is that even in the best families, with open lines of communication, sometimes good kids make bad choices. Not just teens going through rebellion. Tweens. Kids. Choices you never would have expected from them in a million years.
My dear friend, I want you to know that if you are in the middle of a mess with your kids, that doesn’t make you a bad parent.
A bad parent wouldn’t care. But you care.
I know that you are trying your hardest.
Do the very best that you know to do.
You read all the advice, prayerfully take it into consideration.
You make the choices you feel are best for your kids and their individual personalities.
But sometimes good kids make bad decisions.
When you are sitting across the table from your child and you know that they are lying, but their face shows no emotion…
When your child continues to push the boundaries even they know they will get caught…
When you open your wallet to find it empty and you realize your child is the one who emptied it…
When you get a knock on the door and find a policeman telling you they found your child running away…
When the school calls and says your child was caught cheating…
You probably couldn’t have prevented it.
All you did was ask the question.
All you did was make fair rules.
All you did was say ‘no’ to a frivolous purchase.
All you did was good parenting.
But sometimes, no matter what we try, good kids make bad decisions.
My sweet friend, don’t beat yourself up with the what-ifs.
What-if I was more lenient? What if I relaxed the rules? What if I spoiled them with things?
What if I never blinked?
What if I never slept?
You can’t live like that. Your child can’t live like that.
Your good kid can’t learn to make good decisions when you hover. When you don’t give them the chance to fail. When you hold their bad decision over their lives like a brick ready to drop.
I’m not telling you to let your kids do all the bad things.
But when your good kid makes bad choices…
Give them unconditional love.
Grace. Mercy. Trust.
That’s what they need the most.