David M Carder, author and counsellor, knows parents often do things
that would negatively impact their children. This is not surprising
since we are all broken people trying to raise broken people. Still,
some understanding can go a long way in parenting. Here is what he
shared about some things people do that will inevitably mess up their
children's lives, continued from last week.
STUPID THING #5: REQUIRE NO ACCOUNTABILITY
Healthy parents try to teach their children about consequences. Cheating
has consequences. Lying has consequences. But many parents, feel it's
okay to cheat on certain things - to get ahead financially or in school.
It's important to be consistent. If you say it's wrong to lie, it's
always wrong. Part of that comes from the Ten Commandments, a belief
in the truth of the Scriptures.
Children who are not held accountable run the risk of becoming completely
self-centred, and feel an enormous sense of entitlement - that the
world owes them everything. They often expect to be bailed out of
debts and failed businesses and all the other problems they are sure
to encounter later on.
STUPID THING #6: PUSH SUCCESS, SUCCESS,
Parents want their children to be successful - we all do. So we feel
a natural tendency to push. If we nudge our child towards achievements
so that we can feel proud, to feel good about ourselves, that's the
wrong motivation. But if our goal is to build his self-esteem, to
make him feel good about himself, that's a better motivation. Parents
must constantly reevaluate motives because it is a very fine line.
You can lie to yourself. When your child does badly, maybe flunks
an exam, are you as fond of him as when he gets A's? If so, your motivation
is pretty good. Do you ever feel angry, frustrated or even disgusted
with your child if he gets less than an A? Maybe it's time to reexamine
Academic pressure can build up on children. Some of them can't measure
up. These run the risk of becoming a 'bad' child; When a child feels
rejected, inadequate or insufficient, it's hard to keep trying, so
they look outside the family to build peer relationships. And that's
more likely to happen with other kids who have felt rejected, who
are angry, hurt, even Insolent - and may not have much of a future.
The responsibility of parents is stewardship, The
Bible is very clear -~ a child is a gift from God and we are responsible
as stewards to raise the child in a way that God will be pleased with.
That is the primary task. That child does not belong to you, that
child belongs to God. You have 15-18 years to raise your child. You
need to ask, what does Jesus want from my child? Not what I want,
not what my country wants, not what the university wants but what
does Jesus want from me when it comes to being a parent?
The goal is not perfection - but closeness and stewardship. Let the
child know that God will hold them accountable to their gifts and
talents one day.
STUPIDTHING#7: BUILD NO TRUST
Children need parents to be present. They need to be touched and loved.
When parents scream and yell it startles children. They feel safe
when spoken to with calm, clear voices and with honest communication.
The first development of infancy, according to child psychology researcher
Eric Ericsson is trust versus mistrust. The child who builds trust
up early with the parent will take more risks initially in life. They
feel that the world is a safe place, and that they have to influence
over the world; that they can shape it.
If we only begin to show love and approval to a child when he is good,
we are teaching him the wrong things- You demonstrate to your child
you love him no matter what, even when he is bad. Your feelings about
his behaviour are separate from your feelings for him- That is where
we begin to model relationships to children. They begin to learn that
the relationship, not performance is the important thing- Children
who value their relationships with their parents have a lot of performance
orientation - you don't have to worry about that. People always love
to get ahead. They always have, and they always will.
One of the things that parents need to do more is be available, be
connected with your children, to listen, and keep the relationship
going with them. That is the critical thing.
Most of us have done some pretty stupid things. But God is gracious.
Grace and truth are the things God wants to teach us about Himself
over and over again.
So we need to show grace to our children.
We need too to recognise that sometimes the best parenting doesn't
work. But I would say to parents that their relationship with
their children is what is critical. Build that relationship.
That is what will carry you through the tough times.
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them
up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:
<< Letter # 26 (13. 7.2003)