When Should You Leave Your Mother and Father?

Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Let’s look together at a few significant Scriptures on parenthood and family dynamics that are often misinterpreted and misunderstood. It’s my hope that the Bible would be useful in creating and fostering healthy family dynamics and would not be weaponized by unhealthy family members just to get their way.

#1 Children are to obey both their mother and father. Practically, this means that a parent can and should, at times, give commands to their child, and that child should obey. Importantly, this command to obey only applies to young children, not grown adult children who have left their father and mother. 

Failure to understand the fact that this Scripture only applies to young children allows incredible family dysfunction to harm a family system for generations. Religious parents who are high on control use rules to manipulate relationships and weaponize the Bible by misquoting this Scripture in reference to their adult child, which is an abuse of God’s Word. 

One way that unhealthy religious parents seek to control their child is by creating a triangle with God. In this scenario, the parents expect to hear from the Lord and then convey the will of God to their child. This is what needs to happen when a child is a baby, but as a child grows up, they need to learn to hear from the Lord for themselves. In one instance, I know a young woman in her thirties whose parents still claim that God will not speak to her, only to them on her behalf, and she needs to listen to them, or she is disobeying God. 

Spiritual differentiation is a healthy process by which a child grows in their 

wisdom, discernment, and relationship with the Lord. The Bible has numerous examples where even young children hear from the Lord for themselves, including Timothy of whom 1 Timothy 3:15 says, “from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 

As a twelve-year old boy, Luke 2:46-47 says Jesus was, “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.” 

I did not know the Lord at a young age, and did not become a Christian until college. Watching our five children grow up knowing the Lord and having the Holy Spirit has been incredibly encouraging. Seeing our kids grow up knowing not just about the Lord, but actually knowing the Lord and hearing from Him, was a great joy. 

#2 Children are to leave their father and mother. This is the process of differentiation where the adult child is different from the role they occupied as a child who was living with and dependent upon their parents. This is the transition to adulthood where the former child lives as an independent and responsible adult prepared to become married and care for their own child. 

As a child is growing up, the parents need to lovingly model differentiation for their child. For example, when I would get home from work, I would kiss my wife then my daughters to show them that mommy was my priority, even though I absolutely adored my little ladies. We also forbade the kids from playing in our bedroom or entering without knocking. We wanted to differentiate our bedroom from the other rooms in the house where they were free to play and roam. 

Tomorrow, we will look at two more verses that are often misinterpreted when it comes to family dynamics and systems. 

Where do you need to give grace to your family, starting with your parents?

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