Good Kids and Bad Kids

Share Now

I don’t know how many times I have heard people say, “He’s a good kid” or “She’s a good kid.” It seems that I have usually heard those words when people are talking about kids who have been having some kind of trouble. Sometimes I wonder if they are trying to convince themselves.

We all know that each of us sins and that each of us needs what Jesus provided on the cross. All of us are “bad kids” in need of the Savior. However, some children have an especially hard time doing what their parents want them to do. Sometimes they are so rebellious that the whole family suffers more than people outside the family could ever imagine. This situation is a rough “row to hoe” for everyone–the kid who stays in trouble, the parents, and the kids who try to do what is right.

Sometimes the entire family seems to be held captive by the misbehavior of just one family member. How can you have family harmony when one person insists on singing off-key? When this happens, the kids who try to do what is right are caught in a hard situation. At times the parents use so much energy on the “bad kid” that the “good kids” don’t get their needs met.

Sometimes children don’t break the hearts of their parents until they grow up and leave home. The family may try to be cohesive and celebrate their family even though one child is missing from the family circle, but the wheels will never turn completely smoothly until the one missing spoke is back where it belongs. The fears and longings and worries that the parents endure sometimes tempt them to expend all of their energy (and lots of their money) just trying to help or to win back this child.

The same kinds of issues can happen in families that don’t have a “bad kid.” Perhaps they have a disabled child or one who is sick. When our grandson Henry was in the hospital, a mother told me that, except for about two weeks, she had been at the hospital with her son for four months. She also has a little girl. I was sad for this little girl who must somehow handle the worry about her brother along with the absence of her mother.

One thing we must be careful about is judging families who are experiencing a crisis. No matter what strange things they may seem to be doing, only they know what is really happening in or to their family.

If you have a child who needs more attention than your other children do, give yourself permission to focus on the less needy ones. I know that is easier said than done, but each day of our lives is precious. We must give the motherly love that each child needs when the child needs it. Just because a child does not shout his needs doesn’t mean he doesn’t have them.

Besides, sometimes what the especially needy child needs is not something you can actually do anyway. Sometimes the only One Who can supply what he or she needs is God. Sometimes it is best to stop doing for a while and start praying more.

We are talking about our children here, so, of course, we are going to love and support and help each one of them. I’m just encouraging mothers not to get so caught up in working with the child with the most obvious needs. I think about Jesus. He took time with the people who had the most problems, but He also spent time with the people who took in what He was saying and tried to live it. He didn’t neglect one for the other. Aren’t we glad that He devoted so much time to the apostles? Most of them learned the most important lesson we want our children to learn.

But Peter and the apostles answered,
“We must obey God rather than men.”
Acts 5:29, NASB

And if you are tempted to beat yourself up because one or more of your children is struggling, remember the success rate God has with us. He is the perfect Father, but each of us has gone her own way. Like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, he waits. Every person on earth is either someone who has come home or someone He is waiting to welcome.

Share Now

One comment

  1. So many gems of truth and wisdom in this post, Charlene! It speaks loud and clear to me – both as a mother, as a daughter, and as a child of God. Thank you for sharing with us!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *