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Forgiving Your Children

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
In order to forgive children, parents must identify the offenses they have committed against them.

Family Counseling Ministries   -

Is your home a war zone? Parents are often bitter towards their children for their disrespectful, disobedient behavior. Many teenagers are disenchanted with their family life. They don’t like the rules their parents impose on them, they don’t care for their parents’ discipline, and they believe they are victims of unfair, inhumane treatment. When Dr. Dunlap counsels parents of teenagers, he offers them this checklist to help them identify the specific ways their children have offended them.


I forgive my children for:

1.      Telling me “no” when I give them a command. _____

2.      Interrupting my conversations when my spouse and I are talking with each other or with other adults. _____

3.      Complaining when I give them a job to do. _____

4.      Waiting to obey, or procrastinating (putting off obeying until later). _____

5.      Arguing with me. _____

6.      Demonstrating an ungrateful spirit to me by complaining about food, clothes, shoes, etc. _____

7.      Comparing me to their friends’ parents. _____

8.      Talking back to me. _____

9.      Rolling their eyes in disgust at me, or making other unacceptable facial expressions. _____

10.  Showing disrespect for me by talking about me negatively to others. _____

11.   Doing the jobs I give them half-heartedly, just to “get by”. _____

12.   Trying to manipulate me in order to get their way. _____

13.   Lying to me. _____

14.   Telling me “half-truths” (which is still deception). _____

15.   Not calling me to let me know when they’ll be late coming home. _____

16.  Doing things that I don’t approve of. _____

17.   Stealing things. _____

18.   Trading their possessions with friends, without my permission. _____

19.  Seeing movies, or videos that they know I would not approve of. _____

20.   Borrowing things without my approval. _____

21.   Yelling at me or speaking rudely and disrespectfully to me. _____

22.   Using unreasonable terms such as, “You always…” or “You never…” _____

23.   Misusing furniture, such as slamming doors, hitting walls, throwing things, etc. _____

24.   Pouting when they don’t get their way. _____

25.   Giving in to moods, and acting sulky for no apparent reason. _____

26.   Neglecting their duties, and making excuses for laziness. _____

27.   Failing to show appreciation to me. _____

28.   Refusing to willingly and cheerfully receive instruction or correction (having an unteachable spirit). _____

29.   Getting out of bed at night for unnecessary reasons in order to delay going to sleep at their appointed bedtime. _____

30.   Making long-distance phone calls without permission. _____

31.   Abusing phone privileges by having long conversations and monopolizing the family telephone. _____

32.  Spending excessive amounts of time at the computer, emailing friends, etc. _____

33.  Doing anything illegal either in our home or outside of it. _____

34.  Having guests over at inappropriate times. _____

35.  Not taking proper care of their possessions and their room. _____

36.  Misquoting what I say, to their brothers and sisters. _____

37.  Not serving with a good attitude. _____

38.  Always having to be reminded of their responsibilities. _____

39.  Nagging me, or begging for something after I have said, “No.” _____

40.  Leaving certain areas of the house messy, for other people to clean up. _____

41.  Playing tricks on me. _____

42.  Accusing me of “playing favorites”. _____

43.  Seldom or never hugging me and telling me that they love me. _____

44.  Seldom or never allowing me to hug them. _____

45.  Ignoring me when I am speaking to them. _____

46.  Responding slowly when I call them. _____

47.  Trying to play my spouse and me against each other. _____

48.  Not helping take care of me when I am not feeling well. _____

49.  Trying to talk their way out of punishment that they know they deserve. _____

50.   Having a demanding attitude, insisting upon having their way. _____

51.   Not giving me the courtesy of their full attention when I am talking to them. _____

52.  Wasting time in front of the TV and/or playing computer    games. _____

53.   Seldom or never asking me if there is anything special that that they can do for me. _____

54.   Not surprising me with gifts or cards on special occasions, such as my birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day or    Father’s Day. _____

55.   Not verbally expressing their appreciation to me for all that I do for them. _____

56.   Not asking for my forgiveness when they offend me. _____

57.   Not readily forgiving me when I offend them. _____

58.   Not allowing me to be human and make mistakes. _____

59.   Holding grudges against me. _____

60.   Not praying for me. _____

61.   Not doing their best to make good grades at school. _____

62.   Dressing wildly, in a way that embarrasses me. _____

63.   Being unwilling to change their hairstyle if I tell them I think it looks rebellious. _____

64.   Not asking for my opinions about issues in their lives. _____

65.   Refusing to get an after-school job to earn spending money. ____

66.   Treating my friends impolitely and disrespectfully.

67.   Having poor phone manners. _____

68.   Not joining in enthusiastically on family outings. _____

69.   Acting embarrassed to be seen with me. _____

70.   Being insensitive to my feelings. _____

71.   Not taking care of my possessions when they borrow them. _____

72.   Not offering me extra help when they know I am under unusual stress. _____

73.   Never offering to run errands for me. _____

74.   Borrowing money from me, and “forgetting” to pay it back. _____

75.   Seldom or never paying me compliments. _____

76.   Losing things and expecting me to replace them. _____

77.   Automatically blaming me when something goes wrong. _____

78.   Pitching temper tantrums. _____

79.   Exaggerating stories or “stretching the truth” when I ask them questions about their life. _____

80.   Muttering things under their breath when I rebuke them. _____


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