Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thoughts on child-rearing from a childless “mom”

Sorry - it's a long one.

Lunchtime at our office usually tends to be an interesting time. Being the ONLY republican in my office and the only Christian tends to lead to very different opinions and sometimes some heated arguments. Today we had a discussion on raising kids.

An older associate was talking about a child at the restaurant downstairs that morning that was laying in a puddle screaming and refused to get up. He kind of laughed at me when I said “that would never happen if I had kids.” I get the argument so many times that I “turned out good” because my dad raised daughters and those are easier than sons and that I was homeschooled (and thus under-socialized and saved from peer pressure). When I make the argument back that I didn’t have a problem with peer pressure in college they say that might have been different if I went to school - apparently middle school peer pressure is a lot worse than college pressures. Who knew?!

I get that there are times when “kids will be kids.” I get there are times when kids will misbehave and make bad decisions but that’s b/c we all have sin natures. It’s our job as parents to check that behavior and teach them what’s right – as my dad says “equip them with a moral warehouse” so that when they are faced with a decision – whether it be a 3 yr. old deciding if he’s going to throw a tantrum or a 15 yr. old deciding if she’s going to ‘give it up’ – they have a moral basis/a foundation of truth in God’s word to make those decisions on and not arbitrary feelings.

I’m not saying I’m going to have perfect children who are never rambunctious and do everything I say and never make bad decisions – because everyone makes bad decisions – it’s part of growing up. But I do know (without even having kids) that I will have children who (for the most part) are obedient, who are respectful and who are equipped to make good decisions.

No one can guarantee that their child won’t rebel or that their child will be a Christian just because they are raised by Christian parents. But “Kids being kids” doesn’t mean they get to throw tantrums. You’re the parent – you don’t let a 2 ft. person control the family. I’m sure I did throw a tantrum – once or twice – but there were definitely consequences that made me NOT want to do it again. You simply don’t allow that behavior. It doesn’t mean you’re a “mean parent” – it just means you raise your children to know that you expect a certain level of behavior from them. I mean, is it really so awful to have kids who are obedient? Or kids who respect their parents? OF COURSE you’ll have arguments, you’ll make bad decisions as parents but generally speaking parenting shouldn’t be a daily struggle – it shouldn’t be unpleasant.

I have a real issue with “counting” too – you know: “Johnny come here, Johnny…Johnny 1, Johnny 2….” Have you ever noticed “3” rarely comes? And if it does, what happens? My thing is, if Johnny can come on “3,” he can come on “1.” What if a bus is coming down the street right towards Johnny – do you really want him to have three chances to obey you when you say “get out of the street!” I don’t think so.

It’s horrible to say but often if you have “difficult children” you can look right back at mom and dad and see the problem – inconsistency! Look at kids who are well-behaved and a joy to be around and you’ll probably see a mom and dad who have it together.

So when my co-worker doubtfully chuckled and said he was going to keep up with me in the future, I encouraged him to please do so. No I may not have perfect angels (I don’t expect to) but I do know that my children will not ever be laying in a puddle in a restaurant parking lot screaming as I stand frazzled over them wondering what to do....

1 comment:

Kayla said...

I totally agree...Have a lot to talk about!