September 17, 2007

Where Have All The Parents Gone?

Maybe I am now officially an old curmudgeon, but I swear children are less respectful and more obnoxious than they were when I was a child. However, I don't think it is fair to blame the kids. In truth, kids are no different than than they've ever been -- but parents have changed quite a bit! Here are some examples inspired by real life events:

Johnny has trouble behaving in school. He frequently gets into fights with the other kids, and after ignoring many failed requests to stop hitting others, Johnny is suspended. His mother's reaction? She storms into the school and demands that the school remove the suspension. Her son, she says, would never hit anybody. And besides, it would be too inconvenient to find daycare on such short notice.

Johnny's mother brings him with her to visit a friend's house. A short while later, Johnny draws all over the host's white drapes with permanent marker. Perhaps the greater insult is that his art isn't even very good. His mother's reaction? She kneels down in front of him, smiles and says in a sing-song voice, "Johnny, we only draw on paper, ok? Now, this is your first warning". No apology is made, and no offer to replace the drapes.

It's way past Johnny's bed time, and he is ignoring all requests to finish getting dressed and into bed. His father finally tells him quite firmly to get into bed, or there's going to be trouble. Johnny screams "I don't want to go to bed," and punches him in the thigh. His father's reaction? He acts as though nothing happened, and goes downstairs to play Freecell.

Parenting is not a biological description -- parenting is a job description. And it's a serious job that we must perform to the best of our ability, because the stakes are high. If we fail, we destroy not one but two lives!

The role of a parent is this: to train children to live harmoniously in a world where there are consequences for their actions. This is certainly a practical approach, because this is a world where there are consequences for our actions. Once children understand that there actions have consequences and begin to choose their actions accordingly, a bright and beautiful future opens up for them.

First of all, self-destructive behaviors practically disappear: smoking and drugs lose their allure because the risk is too great. Abstinance becomes more appealing than sexual promiscuity. Also, children are less likely to misbehave in school because it just isn't worth it to be disruptive.

In addition to avoiding decisions that have negative consequences, children begin to seek out actions that have positive consequences. They treat other people with respect and actively seek to help out around the home. They focus on their studies and have plans for a brighter future. In short, a proper understanding of consequences -- also known as the law of cause and effect -- inevitably leads to taking responsibility for one's own life.

Parents clearly wield tremendous power over their children's well-being, and it must be used with great care and diligence. Good parents don't shield children from the consequences of their actions. Rather, good parents help their children endure those consequences. Then, most importantly, they ensure that the lesson is learned so that it need never happen again.

Also At Babblermouth:

Financial Freedom Series 1 -- Cause And Effect
Who Are You?

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