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Don’t Make Your Kid the Center of Your Universe

Don’t Make Your Kid the Center of Your Universe

A friend recently chaperoned her middle school daughter’s class trip.  As her daughter rose to give her mom a seat next to her on the bus, 2 boys pushed past her, nearly knocking her over. When she asked them to be a bit more patient and respectful, they confronted her with, “You need to be more respectful, lady.”

Well. Well. Well.

(This is an actual blog-pause, with hands firmly planted on my keyboard as I fearfully contemplate how I might have reacted as those words fell from the lips of said middle schooler.  I have not forgotten my Italian/Jersey roots and I might have found myself standing in the principal’s office searching for ways to defend myself from the accusation of doing emotional harm to a 12 year old boy.)

OK…so what have we got here? An isolated incident? I wish that was the case. Is this a newsworthy story reporting the dangerous self-centered behavior of an up and coming generation that will likely be employed at my nursing home? Not on your life. Does anyone care and is anyone aware of the bratty, mouthy, and aggrandizing attitudes that appear to be saturating the current culture? If so, I don’t even hear about it on local news.

There was a time we had something called “corporal punishment”. For those too young to have ever heard the term (or experienced the effects) this was a physical punishment inflicted on someone by one in authority. Schools way back when had this authority, along with parents and anyone who came across a child who exhibited unsavory behavior. This practice is no longer acceptable in institutions for obvious reasons. But as usual, the pendulum has swung in the extreme, far direction and seems it’s no longer acceptable to even correct repugnant behavior.

For those who believe a child should call the shots and everyone should laugh when he or she is being rude or disrespectful to adults, I’d like to remind you that what may seem amusing at 3 or 4 is not so funny when the child is 13 or 14. Somehow the wise biblical counsel to “Train up a child a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” has given way to “Let little Johnny decide how he wants to go, and when he is old he will follow his own devices.”

In the flurry of progressivism we’ve given way to allow complete family decision making to children, while parents follow their lead. Meals are based on what children refuse to eat, bedtime is navigated by chasing the wild child till he or she finally exhausts, and parents orbit their beloved offspring to the exclusion of one another.

Don’t misunderstand. I love children. I loved and still adore my own and my grands. But honestly, we are doing a disservice to these little people when we allow them to rule in the home. Kids need and want boundaries. They feel safe when the adults in their lives make wise decisions and stick to them. They want to know that their guardians are indeed capable of leading, guiding, and protecting. A child isn’t meant to lead in the home as this creates a deep sense of insecurity.

Young parents can sometimes believe their children won’t love them if they are authoritative (not authoritarian). But this simply is not true. A child who learns healthy boundaries, decent morals, manners, gratitude (as opposed to entitlement), and loving discipline are actually more secure and easily place trust in his or her parents. In addition, the child who has clear boundaries actually has a better sense of self because they are learning healthy socialization, and in turn, perceiving positive feedback and a sweet sense of self-worth.

Do you love your children? Then do them a favor and train them to have respect for you, for others, and for themselves. These are the future society. What do you envision? Sow those good seeds in your children now. They are fertile soil ready to accept the seeds of truth you plant in them, whether it be wishy-washy parenting, allowing for an “anything goes” mentality, or visionary parenting that gives them deep roots of love, respect, and generosity to lead them into a stable, thriving future.

Please young parents, start now…(I really don’t want to be the one to throw them off the bus!)

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Lori Travers

Lori finds the Joy of the Lord to be her strength. Born and raised an Italian Jersey girl, she has finally settled in the south as Reynolda Presbyterian church became her new home. Ministry to women, reading, writing, cooking, and anything having to do with animals are her sweet spots. Having a background in cardiac testing, she chose to stay home and raise three incredible children who are now married, and currently has 2 precious granddaughters and one faithful husband of 34 years.

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