Here are seven things that I highly recommend you never tell your parents.
My Spouse Is Better At…
If you tell your mom that your wife does a better job of doing this or that, or if you tell your dad that your husband is much better at something than he was, then you’ve probably hurt their feelings. They might even take offense to it, and why shouldn’t they? They really did the best they knew how, and, yes, they made mistakes, but who hasn’t? They were not any more perfect than we are, but to tell your parents or insinuate the idea that your spouse is better at something than they were is very dishonoring to them (Ex. 20:12).
My Kids Will Never…
If you tell your parents that you’ll never let your children swim without a life preserver or never let them stay up so late on weekends (or whatever else it is), then you are telling your parents that you’re a better parent than they are. By claiming to be stricter than your parents or in-laws were, you are telling them that they were more permissive parents than you are. A great way to honor your parents is speaking highly of them in front of your children (their grandchildren).
This Is the Best Way
If you tell or show your parents that this way or that way is a better way of doing something, again you’re speaking to them as if you’re a better parent than they were. If you say, “This is the best way to do this,” your parents might hear, “Our way is better than your way.” If your parent or in-law does happen to say something like, “I did it this way,” it might be better to respond in this way: “We feel that this works best for us.” Or say nothing about it at all (probably best) don’t make an issue of it.
I Wish I Had…
If you remind your parents of how much you wished for things that would have made your childhood better, you’re making them feel like they didn’t do a very good job as parents. Even if they were inadequate–and who among us isn’t–if you see someone else doing something as a child and you tell your parent “I wish we had gone ice skating more often” or just fill in the blank, then you’re telling your parent(s) that you were unhappy as a child and it just wasn’t what it could have been.
You Didn’t Know It, But…
Here is where it’s a bit dangerous to let all the skeletons out of your childhood closet. Does it help your parents to know that you snuck out at night to go party or you did this or that? There are some things you can recall as a child and laugh about with your parents, but some things are better left unsaid.
I got this from my children a few times: “Whatever!” If you say it to your parents–and this includes your in-laws–then you are telling them that whatever they were saying doesn’t really matter or isn’t even important. It’s like telling them, “You can talk, but I’m not listening.”
This is something I’ve heard parents tell their children while they’re under duress, but I’ve heard of a few cases where a child and even a grown child said this to their parent in front of others. This is the height of rudeness and disrespect. God will not be pleased by this, and you break the fifth commandment by telling your parents to shut up.
There are many other things that you should never say to your parents, but make sure you do tell them you love them. Make sure you appreciate what they did and honor them, as we are all commanded, regardless of whether you’re still living at home or they’re no longer living.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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