What to do if your Christian family members or friends
are at odds with your decision to pursue gentle parenting
Of late, I have noticed some of my friends on Facebook who have encountered serious opposition to their decisions to pursue gentle parenting. Often it is an older relative. It can be a father or an uncle, but it can also be a mother or another female relative or sometimes an older brother or sister.
This situation makes for some difficult circumstances and causes lots of pain. However, it does not have to and here is where it really gets hard.
It gets hard because of one thing that we all have to realize and accept. This concerns the following.
It is not nice to say it this way or think about it, but the simple fact is that your loved one who you grew up with, who you have prayed for, who has been someone so close to you and even someone who is a major part of your life MAY NEVER EVER COME CLOSE TO WHAT YOU KNOW IS THE TRUTH DEEP DOWN IN YOUR HEART!
The sooner that we realize that they may NEVER GET IT, the closer we are going to be to accepting this fact and realizing that it is really time for us to move on.
Our tendency is to keep praying, keep talking, keep holding on, keep hoping, keep advocating for our positions, to keep trying to convince that dear soul to see it our way. However, you can pray, argue, beg, hope, convince or whatever, but it may be that that person IS NEVER COMING AROUND!
There are some things in life that no matter what you do,
no matter how much you fast or pray, things may not change.
This is one of the hardest things to accept as a believer, but the sooner that we realize it, the better off we are going to be.
We have to remind ourselves that Jesus spoke about people who did not have "eyes to see" or "ears to hear" (Matthew 13).
For reasons only known in the mind of God, it may just be that you may at some point need to step back and acknowledge that this could be the circumstance you may be in with your loved ones.
As hard as it may be, there may come a time, when you will simply have to stand your ground and lovingly say: Enough is enough.
Now, when, according to Scripture is that time? I can give you my own opinion, but it strikes me that we need to look to God's Word for counsel if we ever find ourselves in a disagreement over a spiritual matter. I think that we will find in God's Word a suggested approach, which is Biblical and will keep us on the right track spiritually.
God's people have encountered disagreement and opposition when they were teaching the truth
One of the things that I think we should expect in our lives is a bit of opposition from time to time, but how we react and deal with it is up to us and hopefully the Holy Spirit guides us.
Obviously, whatever we do, we want it to be motivated by love, but depending on the circumstances, and we might have to separate ourselves from someone if the situation merits it.
I think that sometimes this is the exact approach we need to follow and I think we have a good Scriptural precedence for this. Note the example of St. Paul and what he did when he encountered opposition to his message of sharing the Gospel. Note the first section Acts 19:
"It concerns the fact that some parents of these mothers "who have embraced non-violent parenting are now starting to change their views! This is an exciting development and I hope to have more to say about this in the near future as I collect more information. But not the following. Recently, I have received these two testimonies. Let us look at them in a before and after. The first one is from Julie and she posted the following on my blog:
I just wanted you to know that I am one whose mind was changed after reading your book on corporal punishment. I know that it was a process for me to get to the point where I would even read it...but the Lord used "secular" books on child training to begin to open my eyes. When I had my first I was given every Ezzo, Pearl, Bradley, Fugate book available by well meaning relatives .. including my mom (who didn't read the books herself). My first child had severe reflux and was a terribly fussy baby. 10 years later he has been diagnosed with a severe learning disability that has to do with auditory processing. So much of his inability to "listen and learn" had nothing to do with defiance and everything to do with his disability. I hate the fact that for the first couple of years of his life, I felt like if we were just consistent with spanking that he would learn. Thankfully, God gave me enough common sense to not do any of the extreme spanking but I still feel horrible about the spankings he did receive. I feel like a burden was lifted after reading your book. I had stopped spanking before that but always somehow felt like I was "disobeying His Word" by doing so. Your book gave me a newfound freedom and I want to shout it from the mountain tops. Unfortunately, I have many relatives and cousins who were deeply into the Gothard movement and are now part of Vision forum. So the conversations are not easy. Even the conversation with my own parents has been difficult. I think they are afraid that my 4 very well behaved children are going to go bad because of it. My dad has agreed to read your book. It will be interesting to discuss it with him after. We were spanked as children but I only remember a few my entire childhood. My youngest sister was spanked once. I'm not sure why my mom gave me all the Pearl books. Anyway, just wanted to say thank you. (Note that this is unedited)
Now, this message was posted in 2011. Now let's look at what Julie just sent me by email a week or so ago!
"I know it was a few years ago that we decided to quit spanking and we are still reaping the benefits! I am also proud that my little sister who has a 2yr old and an 8 month old has also chosen gentle parenting because of my choice. My parents have been very impressed with the outcomes and seem to be embracing our viewpoint and have been nothing but supportive. Woohoo!" (Email dated March 1 2014)
Now, this change is dramatic. The witness that Julie is providing to her family is changing her whole families view of corporal punishment/spanking/smacking." - http://samuelmartin.blogspot.co.il/2014/03/anecdotal-evidence-showing-that-impact.html
This is such an instructive post. Julie stepped back from those who were not listening and who were in fact a barrier, but note that she did not stop her advocacy for her point of view. Like opening up a new line of communication in the School of Tyranus, Julie instead started talking to her little sister who was open to her ideas.
In addition, note also what happened. The barriers for Julie have started to come down. Why? Because of Julie's witness, her persistence and because her family have been able to see the fruit of Julie's decision to go with gentle parenting.
As the old saying goes, "the proof is in the pudding" and I guess if even the most obstinate parent gets to see the fruit of your gentle parenting work in your children and gets to compare those to some kids they can also observe who are spanked, guess what is going to happen?
I think we all need to be willing to take a longer-term view. If we take a longer time frame perspective of years we might see the result we are looking for in the longer term and might see that blocker person actually come around in the future.
I recently was assisted by a friend (Dara) who made some memes which I started to post on my page. One meme can be found on this link. Check it out.
Now, this status got 49 shares. When I looked at the statistics, it was very interesting. This post about 148 interactions and 95% of those were from women aged 25-44 (75 clicks from women aged 25-34 - 42 clicks from women aged 35-44 - the remaining from others).
I think this is instructive and can give some encouragement. If you are looking to share your beliefs on gentle parenting, I say consider this information as potentially instructive because in my experience these moms in particular are the most open to new ideas on gentle parenting.
Look forward to hear your feedback.
Thanks so much