Changing My Attitude to Break Son’s Bad Habit

My son’s problems emerged one after another.

When my son was 9, I found he had become addicted to playing video games and watching TV. Every day when he got home from school, he would throw his schoolbag aside, go to the living room, and begin to play games on the tablet. As soon as he started playing, he could not stop it. And if I had not called him to dinner, he would even have forgotten to eat. When I told him to do his homework, he would say that he already had his homework finished at school. One time, after he said this, I advised him, saying: “Now you have finished your homework, why not come and help sweep the floor for me? Don’t keep playing with the tablet after you came home. It’s bad for your eyes.” However, he fixed his eyes on the tablet without even raising his head, and said: “Why me? Why can’t daddy do it?” Seeing him give me the cold shoulder, I continued: “Daddy has work to do.” “Then, why don’t you do it yourself?” He pouted. Seeing him answer back repeatedly, I replied impatiently: “I’m your mother. I’m telling you to do this for your own good.” Then he said reluctantly: “Fine. I’ll go and fold up my own clothes.” Hearing these words, I flew into a temper: Every time I ask you to give me some help, you not only disobey me, but are stiff-necked, always arguing with me and answering me back. How could I allow you to go on like this! So I gave him a good talking-to. Eventually, wearing a long face, he went to do as I said, under protest.

In addition to being obsessed with playing games and watching TV, my son also often told lies, which was a bigger headache for me. I remember that once, the tablet was missing from the living room and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I wondered if my son had taken it to play games, for he was at home that day. With this thought, I went straight to his room. When I opened the door, I saw that he was flipping through a book unnaturally. I looked him up and down, and the sight of his somewhat strange action made me suspect that he must have been playing with the tablet before he heard me coming and hurriedly picked up a book to pretend to read it. Then I asked him: “Do you know where the tablet is?” “I have no idea. Could it be that daddy took it?” He answered as if nothing had happened. When hearing this, I pulled a face and said seriously: “If you don’t tell me the truth, I’ll check under your quilt.” Seeing that he can’t conceal it, he pouted and reluctantly took out the tablet hidden under the pillow. At this sight, I was very angry, thinking: He tells lies at such a young age, then what will he grow up to be if he continues like this? So, I bawled him out: “Why did you hide the tablet? You were playing games, weren’t you?” He answered me back: “You haven’t got the right attitude. You are being impolite.” I said sternly: “It was you who took the tablet, yet you tried to conceal it from me by pretending to be reading a book and shifted the blame on your daddy. Are you right in doing so?” With that, I threw the tablet on his bed angrily. Then I saw he look at me with discontent and defiance in his eyes, sitting on the bed in silence with a darkened face. His silent confrontation made me very sad. I thought he would be obedient and admit his mistakes if I treated him more strictly. But I didn’t expect that things would turn out like this.

When I was alone, I always thought: My child is so disobedient. He cares about nothing but playing games and watching TV, and can’t even do any light housework. If he continues like this, won’t he become a parasite? Besides, he often tells lies. When he grows up, who dares interact with him and how can he establish himself in society in the future? My husband and I have urged him, scolded him, and even beaten him, yet none of these worked. What should we do? And how can we educate him well? It’s a real headache for us.

a child playing video game

After I prayed and pleaded before God, His words guided me.

In desperation, I prayed to God and entrusted Him with my son. One day during spiritual cultivation, I read a passage of God’s words: “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. … If both sides lived by normal humanity, and if they were able to reach possession of the truth, with both sides putting themselves in each other’s shoes, and taking into account each other’s difficulties, from the perspective of normal humanity, and both sides standing on an equal footing when they interacted, spoke to each other, and did things, would this stop the estrangement developing between them? What causes what the unbelievers call the ‘generation gap’? Isn’t it that the older generation acts high and mighty, and the younger generation doesn’t like them doing so, which produces the estrangement, and leads to the generation gap—isn’t that how it comes about? If parents don’t act high and mighty, and the children can open up to them, and treat them as intimates, could there still be the estrangement between them? 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.

While pondering God’s words, I started to self-reflect: In my dealings with my son, I frequently took the position of the parent and disciplined him, thinking that he ought to obey me because he was my son and my telling him to spend less time playing video games and to learn to do some housework were for his own good. When he took no notice of me, and even talked back to me, I felt he had no regard for me. So I vented my anger on him in an attempt to compel him to listen to me. When I treated him based on my arrogant disposition, not only was he unconvinced, but he often answered me back and rebelled against me. As time went on, there seemed to be some barrier between the two of us. Close as we were in distance, we were estranged at heart. Actually, my son is still a child and he is too young to differentiate between positive and negative things, so it is inevitable that he follows the evil trends and plays games. However, I not only did not help him with love and patience, but often yelled at him through my temper. I really was too unreasonable! Besides, he is now in the rebellious phrase; if I keep lecturing him, he could not possibly listen to me, no matter how correct my words are. Though I want to bring him to the right path of life, my method of educating him is wrong. All of this is actually the consequence of my acting and speaking based on my arrogant disposition. Praise God! Through pondering His words, my heart was enlightened, and I found the cause of my failing to get along with my son.

Then, I also saw God’s words say: “Just be an ordinary person: Treat your children, treat those in your own family the same as you would an ordinary brother or sister. Although you have a responsibility, a fleshly relationship, nevertheless the position and perspective you should have is the same as with friends or ordinary brothers and sisters. 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. Don’t you think this attitude is good? Isn’t it right? So, what is being let go here? (Position and pride.) It is the letting go of the position and status of a parent, the airs of a parent, and all of the responsibility one thinks they should assume, everything that one thinks they should be doing as a parent; instead, it’s enough that one does the best they can in terms of their responsibility as an ordinary brother or sister.” Through God’s words, I found the way to practice: I should no longer compel my son to act as I wish from my position as a mother; rather, I should have a proper attitude toward him, let go of the parental position and status, and put aside my own opinions. No matter what happens, I should communicate with him calmly and learn about his true thoughts. He is still too young, so I should treat his mistakes appropriately. In the meanwhile, I also should rely on God, pray to God, entrust my son’s bad habits into God’s hands, and learn to seek the truth and use the truth to resolve the problems.

Practicing God’s words gave me nice surprises.

After understanding God’s will, in the following days, when I communicated with my son, I would intentionally humble myself and speak to him patiently. Once, when I saw he had been watching TV for two hours, I wanted to ask him to rest for a while, so I said: “Son, you have been watching TV for so long. It’s time to take a break. Come and help me sweep the floor, okay?” “Do it by yourself,” said he carelessly. Seeing his attitude, I was about to get angry again, but it immediately occurred to me that I should not act based on my hot blood. Thus, I prayed to God in my heart: “God! My son has just refused to listen to me and I want to use my position to control him again. I’m so arrogant! God! May You protect me from living by my corrupt disposition. May You guide me.” After my prayer, I walked to his side and talked with him about my experience in my childhood. I also told him the reason why I asked him to do the housework: “It’s all in order to cultivate your ability to live on your own, so that you could take care of yourself in the future. Otherwise, you would grow up to be a good-for-nothing.” Unexpectedly, after hearing my words, my son seemed to understand what I meant and went to sweep the floor without a murmur.

Later, when he saw there was clean laundry in the washer, he would actively take the clothes to his room, fold them, and put them away. He also would go get the mail from the mailbox on his own initiative. I was very gratified to see these changes in him. Previously, not until I repeatedly asked him to do these things did he reluctantly do them. Now, when I had just practiced a few of God’s word, learning to let go of the position and status of a parent and communicate with my son calmly, he could actually understand me and do some housework of his own accord. Seeing the improvement in him, sometimes I would give him some encouragement and praise, and he was quite happy with it. Gradually, our relationship became much more harmonious than before. Thanks be to God!

One day, I watched a film of the Christian Church, Child, Come Back Home. The hero, a high school student, once lost himself because of being obsessed with online gaming. But luckily, after a few setbacks, he finally saw through the true essence and danger of online gaming under the guidance of God’s words, successfully broke his online gaming addiction, and walked onto the luminous path of life. Seeing these, I was reminded of my son, who was addicted to games as well, and I decided to communicate with him so that he could detect Satan’s trickery and quit gaming. Then I prayed to God first, asking Him to lead me lest I restrict my son by speaking in the place of a mother.

After my prayer, I called my son to me and then we watched the film together. Afterward, I fellowshiped with him patiently: “My son, it pains me much to see that, after you come back from school, you bury yourself in games and even forget to eat dinner because of it. It’s not that I don’t allow you to play with the tablet. The games on the tablet are actually what Satan uses to deceive and corrupt people. Once people play these games for a long time, they don’t feel like doing anything they are supposed to or capable to do, such as eating, doing the laundry, doing the housework, and doing the homework. As you can see, due to the addiction to online gaming, the teenagers in the film who used to be obedient and get good grades start to skip school and cut classes, thus saddening their parents, and one of them even plays himself to death. In fact, it is Satan that has killed him through the games. So are the games good or bad things for people? Look how you lied and deceived me for the sake of playing games before. These games can’t change us for the better but only make us became ever worse.” Hearing my words, my son nodded and said: “Mommy, it turns out that playing games is so bad. Now I understand, and I’m willing to quit gaming in the future.”

One day, my son said to me: “Mommy, I felt like playing games again. I know doing that is bad, but I could not control myself. So I hid the tablet. In this way, I can’t see it and won’t think about playing games on it.” When I heard him say this, I was very happy in my heart. I could see that he did want to change himself, and it was just that the games were too great a temptation for people and my son was unable to completely give them up at once. Hence, I encouraged him and told him to pray to and rely on God more when he wanted to play games.

Concluding Remarks

Later, I found that gradually my son was no longer as obsessed with playing games as he had been before. He also lied less and could take the initiative to talk with us about things he had done. Seeing these changes in him, I thanked God from the bottom of my heart. Through my experience, I truly saw that only God’s words can change man. When I acted on His words, not only my arrogant disposition changed, but my son was willing to change himself as well, and the relationship between the two of us also became increasingly harmonious. No matter what befalls me in the future, I’m willing to come before God more to seek the truth, and practice based on God’s words, because only by living relying on God’s words can my path become brighter and brighter. Thank God!

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