By Xiao Yue, Germany
Today, I watched a talk show on Youtube that focused on a story between a mother and daughter. The mother is smart and capable, and her family is well off. When her daughter was very young, she has started to take great care of her and even planned her future. Her daughter was very well behaved since she was young and listened to all that her mother arranges for her, living in accordance with her mother’s plans. However, after the daughter grew up and studied in the United States, she was no longer willing to be controlled by her mother and felt that the life without the slightest space of personal thoughts made her feel suffocated. She stopped contacting her mother, no longer studied carefully, and would never be a good girl in her mother’s eyes anymore; instead, she wanted to live the life she wanted and desired to resist and indulge herself. So she resolutely gave up studying abroad and went back to China. She started going to KTV, internet cafes and staying out all night. In the following years, she had not talked with her mother. The once sensible daughter became now a completely different girl. Her mother cried all day long and felt very sad. But no matter how the mother tried to persuade her daughter, the daughter ignored her mother’s existence and deliberately ruined herself, seemingly intended to retaliate against her mother. Being worried about her daughter’s future, the mother had no choice but to ask the TV show for some advice. Although the TV show tried to reconcile their differences from the perspective of familial affection, confusion still could be seen from the look in her daughter’ eyes about how to get along with her mother. And then, the program ended in this way.
After watching this talk show, many thoughts passed through my mind: Nowadays, in this materialistic society where the law of the jungle prevails, there are full of competition everywhere. Not a single parent does not make arrangements for their children, but why is it that their hopes are not fulfilled and many children start to become antagonistic? Why are there the conflicts between parents and children? Wherein lies the problem?
Then I read some God’s words, “Parents raise their children from infancy to adulthood, nagging them and looking after them throughout. How do parents see time? Whether twenty or thirty years later, their attitude toward their children is the same as when they were born, it doesn’t change. The child has, in fact, long since grown up, he’s long since established his own way of thinking, state of mind, insight, and viewpoints—he’s long since had these things—yet the adults never realize this, they can never keep up, they always talk and interact with the child as if he’d just been born. … When parents talk down to their child and say, ‘I’m your father (or mother)! You must do as I say!’ the child takes exception to this ‘must’; it’s definitely not an expression of normal humanity. … In particular, parents always treat their children like slaves, or else spoil them, overindulge them, and dote on them like a kitten or a puppy, whilst holding them tight, keeping a tight rein on them, strictly controlling them—with the result that the child stops being a child, and being a parent becomes very tiring.” “So what issue does the child have? As soon as the parents start nagging, the child objects. He stays away from them, he avoids them, saying to himself, ‘How I wish there was no nagging, how I wish that no one nagged me, then I’d be free.’ He doesn’t know how to open up to them, or look for the chance to tell them what’s in his heart, which would allow his parents to understand him, and know what he needs, what he’s thinking in his heart, whether there is any problem with what’s in his mind, or anything erroneous about it; whether, if he carries on thinking like this, it will make him do something wrong. He suppresses these things, he doesn’t know how to have a heart-to-heart talk, with the result that the two generations reach an impasse.”
After reading God’s words, I understood the reasons for the conflict and gap between parents and children. On the one hand, parents always treat children as insensible ones and feel that they don’t understand anything. So they constantly arrange everything for children in their position as parents; they always think all that they do is for the sake of their children and thus never care about what they really want. In fact, as the children grow older, their thinking gradually matures and they have possessed the ability to think independently. In addition, they have had some knowledge of the world and had their own ideas and judgments about everything. Thus, they need their own space. However, parents often overlook this point and still treat children according to their own plans, making all the decisions for the children rather than understanding how they feel, much less comprehending what they want to express. Just like the mother in the talk show, perhaps from her perspective, everything she did was for her daughter, but such kind of meticulous care based on personal opinions would make her daughter feel suppressed and controlled, feel that she lived without dignity. The feelings of being oppressed, fettered and restrained were so strong that she became rebellious and started to pursue the freedom she desired. In this way, the paranoid thoughts occurred to her and she had done some extreme things.
On the other hand, when parents condescend to get along with their children, they will become antagonistic and unwilling to be controlled by their parents but hope to live a free life they want. Therefore, children will only consider issues from their own point of view: They feel that they have grown up yet their parents do not understand them, even too strict and demanding to them. They do not understand their parents’ good intentions, nor do they tell the parents their own thoughts and needs. Instead, they fight against their parents silently, vent their dissatisfaction on them, and act based on their own temperament. As a result, the relationship between the two generations is more broken. Just like the daughter in the talk show, in order to fight against her mother’s control, she even allowed herself to sink low and followed the evil trend. Even though her mother was very worried about her and tried to communicate with her, she always avoided and used extreme methods to harm her mother, and torture herself too, in fact.
Actually, the current state of the mother and daughter in the talk show is a microcosm of thousands of families. So how can we solve this problem? God’s words say, “How is the truth to be practiced in this case? (Letting go of your pride.) … That is, you can’t control, you can’t restrain your children, and always try to keep in command and have complete control over them. Let them make mistakes, let them say the wrong things, let them do childish and immature things, do stupid things. No matter what happens, sit down and calmly talk with them, communicate and seek.” “You just need to learn to use a normal tone, commune from the position and status of an ordinary person, speak calmly, speak the words in your heart, endeavor to pour out what you understand, what other people need to understand, and speak clearly and understandably. When what you say is understandable, other people will understand, your burden will be released, they will cease to have misunderstandings, and you will see what you say more clearly; isn’t this edifying both of you? Is there any need to harangue them? In many cases, there is no need to force this upon them. So what should you do if they don’t accept? Some of what you say is the truth, and things really are as you say, but could people accept them as soon as you say them? What do they need in order to accept these words and to change? They need a process; you must give them a process by which to change.” “Your parents are the ones that nurture you, but they’re also your helpers. What’s best is when you can make them your friends, intimates, and confidants. They help you, you help them, you support each other, and make up for one another’s shortcomings, and in this way the relationship between you becomes normal.”
God’s words show us the way of practice. To build a good relationship between parents and children, both parties need to make an effort to let go of ourselves, learn to chat with each other, and understand and get to know each other. As parents, we should not regard ourselves as parents and demand our children to listen to us in a condescending manner. Even if our children’s ideas are not mature enough to plan for their future, we still should not force our ideas upon them and make them do anything according to our ideas. Instead, we should consider issues from the perspective of our children, speak out our own ideas to communicate and discuss with them and seek together with them what the more appropriate way of doing is. As children, we must also tell our parents what we think, allowing them to know what we really need. After all, parents’ intentions are good for us. They all want us to be good, so we shouldn’t go against them but learn to communicate with them. In fact, as children, because we are inexperienced in the matters of the world after all, and because our experiences and knowledge in many things are very limited, it’s better to seek advice from our parents so that we will not follow the evil trend and go astray. If both parents and children can put ourselves aside and learn to actively communicate with each other, say our innermost thoughts to and understand each other, I believe there will be no gap between us and the mutual relationship will not break.
Moreover, a real chat is to open our hearts to each other, is to achieve an understanding of the mutual thoughts and hearts’ voice in order to promote the relationship between each other. It is not to try to persuade the other party to listen to us or speak to them sententiously to suppress him. If we do so, it would be counterproductive. Truly chatting with each other and putting ourselves aside is indeed a way to resolve the conflict between parents and children. It is too important for us. Sometimes, perhaps the other party cannot understand and accept our ideas instantly, then it is necessary to give them time to consider, instead of forcing them to accept. At the same time, we must also reflect on ourselves to see whether our own ideas and actions are definitely appropriate. If they are not, we must accept the other party’s advice and correct them in time. In short, it is most important to understand and respect each other and open our hearts to each other. The greatest taboo is ignoring each other or thinking ourselves right, which not only harms ourselves, but also hurts the other party who loves and cares about you most.
When I looked back at the time when I had not yet come before God, my relationship with my mother was not very harmonious. My mother always wanted to control me and impose her thoughts on me; she never asked me of my thoughts. I felt so annoyed that I was unwilling to ignore her and did not want to talk to her. Later, my mother accepted the gospel of God and took the initiative to apologize to me and spoke heart-to-heart with me, saying that it was her fault for taking no heed of my thoughts and forcibly imposing her thoughts on me, and that she was willing to change in the future. After listening to my mother’s words, I was very moved and realized that I actually had problems as well, because I didn’t understand my mother but just cared about venting my own feelings, without any considerate for her. After I realized that I also put myself aside to open up to her, and exchanged my innermost thoughts with her. Gradually, our relationship became more and more harmonious. I felt very thankful to God. It was God’s words that led and changed us and made us live out a humanity. We can see from this that only by practicing God’s words can we solve the gap and conflicts between parents and children and can their mutual relationship gradually become more and more harmonious.
Source: Daily Devotionals