Last Words

Sometimes I get a series of issues that show up in multiple families all at once, and it gets me thinking. Or gets me writing. Here’s one that has cropped up again, and it happens to be something that I’ve written about in the past. So consider this a reprint from 2016. I often have parents who bring their children to me for counseling who express frustration about a litany of behaviors and attitudes being projected from their kids.  One common complaint goes something like this:…”and she just insists, I mean insists on having the last word every time!”  For those parents who find themselves frustrated about their child or teen insisting on having the last word, I have some cosmic observations to share.  One of God’s twisted comedies, proof of his sense of humor, is that He often gives us kids that are just like us.  Ouch.  God’s cosmic sense of humor often blesses us with children who are just like us. When I hear parents who complain about how their child always has to have the last word, in that moment, I just know I am speaking to a parent who finds it highly important to, well, have the last word.  I absolutely never make absolute statements, so trust me when I say that I never have parents who couldn’t care less about “having the last word” complain to me about how their children just have to have-the-last-word.  It never happens.  Ever.  Call it a paradox if you want, but if you find it highly important to have the last word with your kids (or your spouse), God will find a way to bless you with a child (or spouse) who needs to have the last word.  Yeah, thanks God. The converse is also true.  Parents that just don’t care about having the last word, never complain about how their child has to have the last word.  Strange how that works, huh?  The deep, meaningful message to this blog entry?  If you want your child to stop their disrespectful need to get the last word in, you first have to stop caring about who gets the last word. I know, I know…I’m making enemies right now.  Here’s a simple truth.  There exists in every relationship paradoxes like this.  Those things that bother us most are often the areas were we most need to relinquish control.  Even though we have a holy responsibility to raise our children with love and firmness and responsibility, God also uses our children to grow us into more holy versions of ourselves.  In short, God is using your child to help you grow. And when you relinquish control, you’ll be amazed at how your child no longer needs to have the last word.  I promise it will work every time.  And I absolutely never, ever make absolute statements.