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Stop Parenting Within Your Rights

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parenting rights

Here in America, we hold our rights with tightly closed fists. Our rights are what make us angry with politicians and annoyed when someone cuts us off on the freeway.

“How dare they infringe on my personal rights of freedom?”

“What a jerk! He cut me off! I have a right to get where I am going without any inconveniences.”

Our rights are also what make us angry with your children. This summer I’ve been going through a Bible study with some girl friends called “Stuck” by Jennie Allen and it’s been wreaking havoc on my own sin and selfishness. One night we spent the evening discussing the chapter “Mad.” As each of us (almost all moms or moms-to-be) shared our list of what we think our rights are, I noticed a pattern. Many of us were struggling to respond with grace to our kids because they were infringing upon our “rights.” Check out the list we created and see if you hold these rights close to your chest as well:

  • The right to comfort.
  • The right to “me time.”
  • The right to control my own schedule.
  • The right to a goods night sleep.
  • The right to a daily shower.
  • The right to have obedient children.

Can you relate? The reality for us who have made Jesus Lord of our lives is that we no longer have any rights. It sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But we must look to the example of our King! Jesus came to serve, not to be served. He sacrificed His life so that we might live-both now, and forever. Jesus gave up His ultimate right to remain with the Father in the comfort of His own home, and came to live as a man. From my understanding of the Bible, Jesus did not give us new life so that we could create a comfortable existence for ourselves based on our wants and desires. He did not promise a life of ease or comfort. What He did promise was an abundant life. And when you spend your life living for Someone else, and serving others, you are filled to the brim with deep down joy. Have you ever met an elderly person who said,  “I wish I would have served others less and thought of myself more.”

“How dare he infringe on my Facebook time! He can play with his blocks himself!”

“What a stinker! I have a right to eat my meal in peace without having to deal with my emotionally distraught drama queen daughter!”

Stop parenting within the rights you think you deserve. Yes, we all need a break now and then from the constant barrage of serving our children. It is hard work and tiring. However, I know God has really shown me that I often respond out of anger or impatience to my children simply because they are an inconvenience and infringing upon the rights I think I have. I am not entitled to a carefree day of mothering! Give up your rights and embrace a life of grace with your children. It’s worth it!

Julie Masson no longer spends her days living life on a seminary campus. But she is striving daily, along with her husband to thrive, not just survive in this graduate school life phase. It\’s no easy task with 3 small children. However God continues to mold her and provide ample opportunities to put Grace Based Parenting into action. Julie is passionate about helping others see the people of the world through eyes of Grace and she does this by working part time at The Upstream Collective ( a group that helps churches think and act as a missionary.


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  1. kelly says:

    wow, did i ever need to hear this today! Thank you!

  2. Julie Masson says:

    Kelly, so glad it encouraged you! I needed my own reminder today too! :)

  3. Penelope says:

    Oh Julie…what an excellent article. Thank you.

  4. Maggie C says:

    What a great post, thank you! I loved how you applied Jesus’ life to this situation! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to tell myself to get over it! :) . But thinking about what God sent us here to do makes a lot of sense.

  5. Julie Masson says:

    Maggie, glad you enjoyed it. It always helps to see thing from a big picture, Gospel perspective, doesn’t it!

  6. [...] Stop Parenting Within Your Rights @ Family Matters Blog {A bold reminder to examine our “rights” in regard to parenting.} [...]

  7. Sharlia says:

    I find this so informative and it really hits the ‘button’. I am at grandmothering age without children of my own but parents almost 90 and I feel some of the same feelings about my parents and other family members and ‘friends’. Thank you for putting it in Jesus’ POV – WHAT AN IMPACT!

  8. LRH says:

    Late to the party, but that stated, I have to disagree respectfully. I think John Rosemond has it right here. I don’t think that one becoming a Christian means you no longer have any rights, particularly where it regards other humans (including your own children) violating your boundaries if they’re old enough to know better. I think I DO have a “right” not to be bothered if it really isn’t necessary. I stress IF. Now, if it IS necessary, then so be it. I think the verse that goes “foolishness is bound in the heart of a child” applies here, among others. A child is being foolish to demand your attention for a task he is fully capable of handing himself, especially if you’ve trained him previously on it & it’s appropriate given his age. I absolutely do not accept the point of view that states once you have a child you have no rights to your own identity anymore. Such is a recipe for a child to be spoiled and for one to no longer have a complete life, especially as it regards time with your spouse, which I believe is to be given a higher priority than your children.

    For example, I do not apologize for having my children learn to stay out of my bedroom so my wife & I can have our time as husband & wife, so we can get the sleep we do need, and they can respect that we aren’t their 24/7 slaves to cater to their every whim. Yes we love on them & interact with them and train with them, but they know that they aren’t the center of our world and aren’t entitled to our every second for every whim. Where I come from, you as the child know your place and that the adults are the ones who call the shots, and that when you are grown then you get to call the shots. To do otherwise is to be a spoiled & selfish brat.

    I think too many times Christians don’t allow for a person’s comforts & boundaries, and instead call on thus who have had their boundaries breached to “have God give you more than you can handle.” I think that’s bull. If you pray to God to give you extra strength to do a task that you MUST do but is stretching you beyond your comfort zone, that’s correct. However, to be compelled to pray for this strength when someone is pressuring you, however innocently, to do something that is NOT needed and disrespects your boundaries, it’s wrong to tell someone to pray for this strength & that standing your ground is “selfishness.”

    For example, when my children were infants, I had to get up in the middle of the night to feed them, they NEEDED that, my sleep needs nothwithstanding. However, now they don’t need that, they’re fully capable of sleeping well into 8 a.m. or so and going to the bathroom themselves and entertaining themselves for awhile. Meanwhile, I NEED my sleep, I’m not God. They should respec that. For me to let them interrupt my sleep and then have someone say “pray for God to give you the strength to not need 8 hours sleep” is a bunch of bunk, just as much as it would be for someone to pray that my infant-aged child would somehow not “need” food in the middle of the night. Instead, I think the application of God is that one respects one’s boundaries and doesn’t violate them. Thus, a 5 year old is fully capable of staying in their room and playing with their toys on their own while their parents, whom they should be respecting, and for them to demand my attention at 4 a.m. instead of letting me & the wife get the sleep we need is selfishness on THEIR part.

    Yes, we do still have rights. We don’t have the right to tell God to take a hike, but we most certainly do have the right to expect humans to respect our boundaries–yes, even children, at the appropriate age.