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When growing up, I experienced both cordial and complicated relations with my parents. Parents relate to their children in unique ways which contribute to the development of different relationships. In the Bible, different parent-children relationships are portrayed, and some depict the dynamics of modern day relationships. In most cases when children are obedient and treated equally by their parents without any preferential treatment, their relations become easy to manage. Relationships between parents and their children are dynamic and challenging when either of the parties is difficult and antagonistic. Mostly, when kids reach adolescence, they become rebellious since this stage is characterized by confusion and desire to discover their self-identity. In the process, this affects their relationships not only with their parents but also with other adults. They find themselves constantly disagreeing with their parents, and they always demand the freedom to run their lives without external interference.
Parents also contribute significantly to deterioration of relations with their children. In particular, a family that has more than one child and parents decide to implement preferential treatment whereby they treat their kids differently causes jealousy and insecurity among the siblings. These relationships become complicated, and both the children and the parents suffer dire consequences. The effects associated with complicated child-parent relations in the modern world includes mental disorders such as depression and anxiety for both the parties. Hatred and resentment are prevalent among such parents which cause the children to develop low self-esteem since they are insecure about whether there are loved, they also experience suicidal thoughts which lower their performance in schools. However, not all relationships are broken and difficult, just like in the Bible, today some families enjoy cordial and warm relations between children and parents. This enables them to co-existence in happiness and attains growth in all aspects of their lives. Recent studies have proven that children who are raised in loving and caring are more self-confident and positive about life. Those who grow up in broken families are usually insecure and are negative towards life. The relations between parents and children both in the Bible and the contemporary world are dynamic and provide fundamental lessons to help mend the ever increasing number of broken families across the globe.
The Father and Prodigal Son’s Relations compared to Parent-child Relationships Today
In the modern times, many parents are facing hardships raising and dealing with their children. Children are commonly defiance and difficult to manage them; their environment has changed, and they are more susceptible to many dangers resulting from peer pressure. In the Bible, the prodigal son account is a good example of antagonistic children who end up moving out of their homes on their own. Teenagers and young adults tend to cause more problems in the relationships they have with their parents. Out of their strong desire for independence and freedom, these adolescents cause difficulties in their relations with parents and other family members. Most young people disagree with their parents and downplay their advice and therefore, fail to heed their warnings. The children do not want to be guided by their parents as they want to be up to date with what other peers are doing.
The modern world is complex and social media has been the most sort after platform for youngsters’ communication1. Children begin to behave like their favourite celebrities and desire to acquire their unorganized lifestyles. In order to live independently, an individual must be financially stable. Most young adults, however, lack the means to finance themselves since they have no jobs and lack income and hence, are highly dependent on their parents. These children decide to demand their share of the family inheritance at a young age. The parent can choose to yield to the child’s demand and give them the inheritance without considering the grave consequences attached. The majority of the young adults tend to be impulsive buyers and exaggerative in spending. Thus, parents withdraw their support towards such children since they are aware of the repercussions that result from spendthrift lifestyles of young adults. Therefore, the children become resentful which affects children-parent relationships negatively. In the extreme cases, children may plot murders against their parents as means to acquire the inheritance2. The story of the prodigal son, therefore, provides relevant lessons for this situation.
Young people go through emotional turmoil as they experience the subsequent development changes. This affects them, and they become easily irritated and inconsiderate when their demands are unmet. Children do not care if they offend their parents or not as long as they do what their peers are doing. Peer pressure is prominent at this stage and is associated with adverse consequences on teenagers and young adult; adolescents who prefer to follow the ways of their peers end up fighting their parents. The majority of college students waste their time and money in parties and clubs. Partying and clubbing have many serious consequences that make parents deny their children permission to attend to such events. Frequent partying takes up a lot of learners’ time which could be spent in personal development activities. For the college students, intoxication which is prevalent in parties has adverse effects on education and general life. The killing of innocent young people is rampant and mostly involves school students. I recall a young campus mate who was murdered in a nightclub fighting over a girl. The parent of the murdered student sobbed painfully seeing where her son’s disobedience had led to. The rebellious nature of the prodigal son resulted in his ruin while his father and brother continued to live in wealth. Today, the prodigal son analogy provides key lessons for both the parent and the children.
Children waste their parent’s resources in efforts to fit in certain groups of their peers who are living lavishly. Girls and boys in campuses are the most affected since they want to be at the top of the game. Boys are commonly driven by their need to lure girls into liking them. However, not all parents can afford to fund their children’s extravagant lifestyles. The financial constraints that affect families deteriorate the relations further3. The deviant children choose to engage in criminal activities to support their lavish lifestyles. Girls end up in prostitution to get enough money to buy fashionable clothes and also fund their expensive lifestyles. Brutal murders and kidnapping of such girls occur since the activities they engage in are dangerous. Most boys participate in drug trafficking which exposes them to external dangers and legal sanctions including serving jail terms. Such children end up losing their lives as they try to feed their greed for lavishness and upper social class. The prodigal son was motivated by his impulsive behavior, dissatisfaction of what his father offered, and disobedience. Such campus students who go to the extent of drug trafficking and prostitution are dissatisfied and face emotional upheaval. They are rebellious to the commands of their parents in which case just like the prodigal son they end up in misery.
Children are usually forced out of their homes due to their antagonistic nature. This creates distance between them and their family members causing too much suffering. Children are always in need of their parents’ guidance, and separation produces negative outcomes. Due to lack of guidance, children are left to handle life on their fails and experience many pitfalls. The prodigal son became hopeless and desperate after he left his father’s house in his will4. Parents suffer the loss when their children run away from home due to disobedience and non-compliance. The parents experience emotional pain which may cause them to experience disabling condition such as depression. In most cases, parents begin to doubt their parenting abilities and blame themselves for the children’s adverse outcomes. However, the parents should always be willing to take back their children after then learn their mistakes. The prodigal son’s father was forgiving and caring enough to allow his lost son back home. Today, parents might find it hard to forgive their children thereby create barriers in mending their already broken relationships. Parents should be willing to show unconditional love to their sinful children and help them recover from their downfall. The prodigal son’s father was able to restore his son’s mental, physical and even financial status. For relationships to work between parents and children, there must exist unconditional love. If the prodigal son’s father failed to give his son a second chance, their relationship would have remained broken. In order to have better parent-children relationships, the kind of forgiveness portrayed by the prodigal son’s father is necessary and should be emulated by all.
The primary factor that contributes to difficulties in today’s relationships between parents and children is pride. When one of the parties wrongs the other, they fail to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Lack of repentance and failure to grant forgiveness leads to more suffering for both sides. If the prodigal son did not swallow his pride and seek his father’s forgiveness, he would have never repaired the broken relationship. The impact of his repentance manifested through the establishment of new and better relationship between him and his father. This shows that parents need to allow their children to make mistakes and learn from them to heed their advice. Children should always ask for forgiveness just like the prodigal son and take part in their rescue after they have realized their mistakes. Parents should also apologize to their kids whenever they wrong them. This is key in establishing closer and more open relationship.
Fundamental Lessons in the parent-children relationships between Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob
Children’s defiance is one factor that makes relationships between them and parents difficult. However, children are not always the reason why relationships become hard; parents too can play a central role in making the relationship between them and their children difficult. Parents sometimes fail to balance the love among all their children and therefore fail to treat them equally. This disparity causes emotional pain to the kids as they feel rejected and unloved. Each and every child desire the unconditional love of the parents; however, situations may deprive children such tender and affection5. Whenever I feel afraid and insecure, I always run to my parents for reassurance. This helps me to face the challenges courageously. It is natural for people to be worn out along the way and we all need emotional support, particularly from our loved ones. Children are not treated equally by their parents tend to grow up resenting themselves as well as their family. This situation leads to complicated relations between the parents and the child. Preferential treatment should not be incorporated in our families. Jacob was separated from his brother due to their mother’s dislike and contributed to the deception of Esau which made him swear to kill Jacob. In today’s world, parents’ favouritism stems from a difficult parent-children relationship and contributes significantly to siblings’ rivalries and family break-ups. Many reasons make parents favour some children over the others; good academic performance, a personality that resonates with that of the parent, physical appearance including the complexion of the child. Parents should learn to deal with issues that cause disparities in the way they treat their children to save and enhance their relations with all of their children.
Some parents are driven by love for material things which makes them favour children who are financially stable over the others. This creates emotional torment among the children which breaks the family. Children are endowed differently concerning talents, career interests, and capacity; when the parent treats one child better than the others, children feel unloved and uncared for. The children who are unable to immerse great success in live find it hard to seek their parents’ support. The emotional disconnection between the disadvantaged children and the parent takes as a result and lead to more suffering for the children. The feelings of hatred towards the parent and envy for the esteemed sibling erupts and makes the child resentful. Feelings of vengeance like in the case of Esau may compel the child to hurt the family members to relieve the emotional pain6. It is thus important for parents to embrace equity when dealing with their children. Parents should disregard any differences that make them treat their children unequally since equality enhances parent-children relationships.
The case of Rebekah’s deceit and preferential treatment towards Jacob over Esau is not new in the contemporary world. Some parents today prefer to have some of their children get advancements in life than the other siblings. When a child performs well in various activities like school, the parent typically invests heavily on that single child while ignoring the rest. When the parents disregard the children who are not successful in life and focus on a single child is detrimental to their relations. Such children are filled with the emotions of hatred and anger towards their parents. Children who have parents with favouritism tendencies grow up hating one another as they perceived each other to be a threat to their success and progression. Like Jacob was separated from his brother due to their mother’s favouritism, children in the world today face the same consequences. Separation, hatred, and vengeance are some of the critical issues experienced in contemporary families7. Equal treatment of children is thus a necessity to enhance the parent-children relationships.
The parent-children relationships are threatened by diverse challenges in the contemporary families. Both the parent and the child need to learn from the kinds of relationships presented in the Bible. Issues like forgiveness and unconditional love should be adopted to repair the broken relationships. The unwillingness to accept one another makes the parent-children relationship complicated and hard to improve. Children’s defiance to the set values and norms is a significant threat to parent-children relationships; children, therefore, should participate in maintaining good parent-children relationships. There is a lot to learn from the Bible regarding the parent-children relationships and incorporate the lessons to eradicate the increasing number of broken families.
Carlson, D. Jewish-Christian Interpretation of the Pentateuch in the Pseudo-
Clementine Homilies. Fortress Press, 2013.
Mischel, W. Personality and assessment. Psychology Pres, 2013.
Oakes, J., Lipton, M., Anderson, L., & Stillman. Teaching to change the world.
Pillemer, K., Suitor, J. J., Riffin, C., & Gilligan, M. Adult Children’s Problems
and Mothers’ Well-Being: Does Parental Favoritism Matter?.Research on aging, 0164027515611464, 2015.
The Bible: king James Version
1 Oakes, J., Lipton, M., Anderson, L., & Stillman. Teaching to change the world. Routledge, 2015.
2 Mischel, W. Personality and assessment. Psychology Pres, 2013.
3 Carlson, D. Jewish-Christian Interpretation of the Pentateuch in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies. Fortress Press, 2013.
4 The Bible: king James Version
5 Pillemer, K., Suitor, J. J., Riffin, C., & Gilligan, M. Adult Children’s Problems and Mothers’ Well-Being: Does Parental Favoritism Matter?.Research on aging, 0164027515611464, 2015.
6 The Bible: king James Version
7 Oakes, J., Lipton, M., Anderson, L., & Stillman. Teaching to change the world. Routledge, 2015.