Hypocrite is a title that most parents try to avoid at all costs. As parents, we aren’t perfect. It took a lot of teaching, training and experience for us to get to where we are today in our parenting. And even though we have some knowledge of what good parenting is, we still aren’t perfect and we never will be.
A lot of us were far less than angels in our teen and young adult years. So having had the colorful pasts that some of us have had, how do we reconcile demanding standards for our children that far exceed how we conducted our lives when we were at the ages they are now?
If you’re following the leading of the Holy Spirit and are a Godly parent, you are not a hypocrite. The definition of the word hypocrite speaks to the current manner or condition of a person’s behavior, not their past behaviors.
Well, first we need to understand that the definition of the word hypocrite is a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc. that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions contradict stated beliefs.
The definition of the word hypocrite speaks to the current manner or condition of a person’s behavior, not their past behaviors. If you have aligned your life and your lifestyle with God’s Word and are walking as an example of Him currently, you are not a hypocrite for demanding high standards from your children, regardless of how you may have lived in the past.
It’s our duty as parents to raise up our children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22.6). Avoid falling into the guilt trap about laying down rules for your children that you didn’t have to adhere to when you were their age. Your parents may have made major mistakes when teaching and training you. All parents make mistakes. Don’t perpetuate a known mistake with your own kids out of guilt about the rules (or lack of rules) you were raised under.
What were my parents thinking!
When I got my driver’s license, my parents gave me a ridiculous amount of freedom. I remember taking the family car and leaving the house when my dad got home from work on Friday evening and not returning home until time for him to go to work on Monday morning. This took place weekend after weekend.
I was quite the responsible kid, but looking back on things now I have to ask WHAT WERE MY PARENTS THINKING! How can such behavior as a parent come remotely close to being a responsible parent? I never got into trouble, legally that is, but I got into things morally that I wish I had never been exposed to.
I’ve shared a lot of my young adult experiences with my children. I use my experiences as object lessons for them. I’ve made it clear to them that although I thought their grandparents were cool at the time for giving me so much freedom, I absolutely disagree with the unlimited amount of freedom they entrusted me with. It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t get into any situations that were detrimental.
I’ve also let them know that they will NEVER be the recipients of the kind of freedom I received as a young adult. The word hypocrite has been thrown around a few times regarding my views, but no amount of guilt they try to lay at my doorstep will ever get me to cower down and bend my rules where parenting is concerned.
You’re not a hypocrite, you’re a responsible parent
Some kids today can be master manipulators. If you’re having a hard time justifying raising your kids the way you know they should be raised because you feel like a hypocrite, I encourage you to follow your heart. You know what’s right for you, what’s right for your kids and you know what’s right for your family.
If you’re following the leading of the Holy Spirit and are a Godly parent, you are not a hypocrite. You are simply following the admonition of God’s Word by training up your children in the way they should go. They may rebel now, but the scriptural promise is that when they are older, they will not depart from the training they are receiving now.