The laboratory that is day-to-day life will give your children many—you might think way too many—opportunities to put into practice the peacemaking principles you want to instill in them. Conflict, like trouble, is inevitable—”as surely as sparks fly upward,” as Job observed (Job 5:7)—and kids just being kids will quarrel and fight. But with God’s help and guidance, and your systematic instruction, they can truly learn to resolve conflicts themselves in a peaceable and God-honoring way. But what about your run-ins with your kids? They will inevitably push against the boundaries and stretch the limits of your parental supervision and guidance. They are, after all, independent persons, with minds and wills of their own, and in their struggle for autonomy they often test your authority. What results are conflicts between children and their parents.The son clashes with dad; the daughter doesn’t get along with mom. Or maybe it’s son versus mom, daughter versus dad. The daughter and son fight with each other. The children stretch the patience of the parents during the teen years. Then when the daughter and son choose their life partners, they throw more personalities into the family stew-in-laws, children, aunts and uncles. More individuals are added to the family mix, all with their own personalities, their own interests, their own priorities. The bowl of tomato soup that was the nuclear family of father, mother, and kids can become, with the additional ingredients, a tureen of five-alarm chili.
Whatever the issues of conflict, the peacemaking principles given in Scripture give a family the best chance to resolve their difficulties in a way that benefits them and honors God. Please continue reading articles in the library section for raising children as peacemakers and resolving conflict with extended family.
Adapted from Peacemaking for Families, by Ken Sande (Tyndale, 2002).