Sunday, May 5, 2013

Parents These Days

It's become very common to see families with small children (and even not so small) who are demanding, unthankful, whiny, disobedient and stubborn.  The parents often look worn out, haggard and act as though this is normal.  That all babies are a handful. Oh and toddlers, too. And gradeschoolers. And highschoolers.  Does anyone see that parents these days are bemoaning EVERY stage of childhood?

Societal lies have convinced this generation of parents that it's normal for kids to be a big drain on your emotions, your wallet, your time and your life. It's normal for them to whine. It's typical for them to refuse to do what you say or want. It's average that they are picky eaters. And don't all little kids need 658 toys in bright primary colors to amuse themselves with?  The word "amuse" is an interesting study.

A - MUSE = NO THINKING.  When one is amused (entertained) there is no original thought patterns happening. It's all incoming - someone else's ideas designed to fill the mind and heart of the partaker.  This is in sharp and complete contrast to MUSE, which means to ponder or to think. 

I saw an hgtv show recently where a family was having a picnic dinner in their back yard because of renovations going on in their home which prevented them from eating inside. Their toddler got restless and whined that he wanted to see "his shows".  His dad corralled him, looked at him forlornly and in somewhat of a whining tone himself, told the child they he wouldn't be able see "his shows" right then because there was construction going on in their house right now. 

Parents who sit their children in front of television amusement to the point of the child having his "own shows" are making a grave mistake.  The reason they do it is to buy themselves some time. But the bill for that time will come as surely and swiftly as the noonday sun. And they will find it hard to pay. 

Children must be dealt with. Parents must see their children as small people with no self-discipline and all the passions of an adult bound up in 3 feet of unskilled and untested humanity. Parenting is a big job, but it is not a drag and it's certainly not impossible.  But when parents lack understanding and skills to train up their children, they wind up with children who are far from being a blessing. 

Giving children something to do that will keep them busy, teach them discipline and make them feel accomplished is an absolute necessity. So what could they do around the house with mom each that would fit this bill?  


Let them help you, mama. Let them roll the dough, sweep the floor, wipe the counter, feed the pet. Let them fold the socks, water the plants, dust the tables, stack the books, stir the soup and set the table. 

Let them work. Work is fun. It has immediate gratification and reward. Work is something that we are created to want to do. To be busy, useful and productive. 

Genesis 2:15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 

Hobbies are an example of how work-oriented God has created us to be.  Even when we are not sweating and laboring at tough jobs, we invent things to do. Only instead of calling it work we call it a hobby.  Hobbies are just fun work. And much more refreshing and satisfying than camping oneself on a sofa in front of a screen. 

Just think of all the fun hobbies women often do, like crafts, scrapbooking, quilting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, cross stitching, painting, cooking and the list goes on.  

And men's hobbies are often woodworking, old car restoration, marksmanship, camping, hunting, chess, model building, whittling and the list goes on.

The point being that people - even little people (i.e. children) - need something to DO. Children are blank slates when they come into this world. Every impression we make on them must be deliberate and with a goal in mind.  Good goals begin with the proper understanding.

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15)

So many mothers are asking their children what they want.  I believe that kids become overwhelmed when faced with too many decisions and actually prefer having the decisions made for them. 

The other day I was in a department store and a mother was holding up a couple of household items asking one of her very small children which one she should buy.  The kid's face was glazed with a mixture of uncertainty and power. It was really an odd thing to see. His eyes rolled around like spilled apples in the back of a pick up truck. 

I wanted to go over to that mother and politely say, "Please stop asking your children to decide for you. Just make the decision yourself and TEACH them what is good and right. Don't ask them which item you should buy. Choose the ones you know are good and then TELL them why those are the best ones. Stop making them choose everything."

This is the trend I'm seeing. Parents are either so cowering that they don't want to risk their child's wrath when their wills conflict or so curious that they are obsessively asking their children what they think and for their opinions years too soon. 

Little children do not have a clue which shirt to buy or what tv show is right. They must be shown by a loving parent. A mother who will guide her children into right behavior, right thinking and right doing is a wise mother. 

Don't ask them which movie they want to see. Choose one. Don't ask them what they want to do, tell them what it's time to do. It's time to pick up the mess.  It's time to do a puzzle.  It's time to empty the dishwasher. They need the structure.

Don't worry - you will not squelch their personality. When they are older and into their teens they will naturally give their opinions and want to express their voices. Believe me! :) And that is when they need to be heard and have their opinions matter and count for something. Because at that age, they are emerging into adulthood.

But while they are little, exert all the influence you can possibly muster. It is for their good. Lay their clothing out for the day. Don't let them dress themselves until they have been taught how to properly choose the right colors, types and coordinate things well.  

Meals are non-negotiable. Activities are mom-directed. Again, don't worry about how they will learn to choose. Choices are built-in to life. For example, going to the park they will choose which playground equipment to start playing on.  When they are coloring they'll choose which part of the picture to fill in first. When they are eating they will choose which food to eat first. When they are playing - choices galore!

Parents these days keep allowing "the village" to raise their children.  That is why 
I homeschool. Because I've seen the village and I don't want it raising my kids.

The "other kids" wear A and B, so these kids in these mixed up homes demand it, too. (Demand?!) The other families do such-and-such and go here and there, so these kids want to as well. These families are becoming a facade of a what a real family is. 

What is a real family? A father who leads his home, a mother who enjoys guiding it and children who are secure in their role and productive, members of a happy household. 

It's not about eliminating a child's choices or options.  It's about wise guidance. The world is big place full of unending choices. Don't overwhelm children when they're young. 

Providing balanced structure with wise limitations produces happy, well adjusted little souls.  And that leads to peace and harmony within the home. 

Happy homes are becoming a lost art. We need to pray that families today will turn to God in faith. And that they will look for their road map in the living Word of God.  

Have a blessed day sisters in Christ.

Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Ephesians 6:1-4 - Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.   

Genesis 2:24 - Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

1 Timothy 5:8 - But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Ephesians 6:4 - And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Proverbs 23:22-25 - Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.  


Courtney said...

Hi there!
This post is very good. I read it twice today. I need a lot of help in this area. I have a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and a 1 year old, so most of the time I feel like I'm in survival mode. But I know that's no excuse.
Thanks for the encouragement and wisdom.


Simply Keeping Home said...

Thanks, Courtney. You're in the trenches of motherhood right now and I know what you're going through. I'll be posting more on a mother's priorities and planning her days in the coming weeks.
Keep your chin up and keep seeking the Lord!

DeNiece Barnes said...

Hello I just wanted to stop and visit and say what a wonderful post. It is so encouraging. Especially now when it seems that children are ruling the parents. I am looking forward to your posts on mother's priorities and planning her days. Have a wonderful and blessed rest of the week.

Simply Keeping Home said...

Thanks so much, DeNiece!