I see this happen all the time and it annoys me to no end. Parents asking their children 8, 9 10, 11, 12, 13 year olds to make decisions for them. eg, the house and furniture they buy, the school they will go to, the holidays they will go on, the restaurant they choose etc, etc.
I thought life was one of those things that you grew into, that parents have wisdom to draw from and guide and lead their children into what is good for them. That life experiences teach us valuable life lessons, that scars follow growth and change.
Consider this, a child wants to go to a particular school because his friends are going there, not considering educational or financial factors. Parents sacrificing financially to buy a house that’s in keeping with their child’s vision or commodities. Parents giving into having a lavish birthday party with alcohol, amidst underage teenagers. Parents giving into Facebook/Mobile phone accounts when it’s not a necessity and the child is underage etc… etc..
As an educator, I have seen the aftermath of parents giving into these things. As a parent, I had to resist giving into some of these. I was told by my children that I was the worst parent. Well!!!!!!!!!!! How many parents had they had? ( one set of course). I figured that as a parent, I wasn’t meant to be their friend (not yet anyway, although my children and I are best friends now).
The important thing here is to remember, that because parents have given into their children’s whims, they run the risk of having spoilt children. Children who don’t adapt well. Children who have little resilience. Children who cannot regulate their feelings or emotions, children who cannot face challenges in life because they’re too hard. Children who are lazy, children who are not independent enough or self starters. I’m speaking from first hand experience here, all this can manifest in the child getting headaches, sore stomachs, children who cannot cope at school or at work in some cases, I have seen children as young as 5 year olds suffer from anxiety, depression and stress because school is too hard.
Mind you, I’m not trying to pick on parents here, because parenting is very testing but as an educator I can see the benefits of tough love. Setting boundaries and having consequences for not adhering to them, are important in establishing order and character.
The Beatitudes Matthew 5:2-12
At the beginning of each school year the students and I formulate 3-4 goals/values for the smooth running of the classroom. We establish together, positive and negative consequences. The classroom has to be a fair and a happy environment to work in. Explicit teaching of the pros and cons and of the consequences are paramount.
This is not fail-proof, things don’t always work to plan, however, with routine and consistency and prayer I see a change in the students and standards rise as they aspire to be better. I believe this is good psychology for parenting as well.
Discipline of children can be hard and sometimes seemingly unrewarding for a moment, but you eventually reap the rewards. After parenting two children and having spent many years in education myself, I can look back on the hardships and see the rewards that have come after, worth the effort.
With some explicit teaching, children learn what they live:-
- If the children see a parent praying they will learn to pray.
- If the children see order they will learn to appreciate and aspire to it.
- If a parent gives praise they will praise others.
- If a parent shows respect they will learn to respect.
- If a parent sees the glass as half full they will see life as too hard.
- If a parent is hardworking and a go getter, they will go and get what they need. There is no magic formula, what you put into the bucket is what you get in return.
- MAY GOD BLESS YOU AS PARENTS AND CHILDREN, TOWARDS WHAT IS GOOD, PRAISEWORTHY AND PLEASING TO GOD.