“If I Have to Tell You Again…!”
I have found HEB and Walmart to be the perfect venues for observing all the parental attitudes and practices that make me shudder and fear for the future of our nation. Here are some examples of parenting styles and what I believe will be end result for the child I observed:
“If I have to tell you one more time, I’m going to……….........(fill in the blank with any quasi-punishment you like… because it will never actually be given ):
Result: An adult who has no idea how to delay gratification; an adult who will take what he wants, when he wants it, no matter the cost or inconvenience to others, and who will whine and complain until he gets it. A perfect example can be found in the cast and crew of the Occupy Movement. These unruly bullies didn’t just drop out of the sky…they were “raised” by someone, someone who threatened but never followed through and taught these children entitlement…to everything, even things that don’t belong to them.
“Just wait until your daddy gets home!”
Result: A child who learns that his mother has absolutely no clout and who will pass off any responsibility for discipline to a father who has not witnessed the event and who is tired after a long day of work and doesn’t want to deal with it. Consequences should be swift, sure, and consistent.
And my favorite: “Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh” repeated in one long wail, which follows me on every single aisle of the store, sometimes accompanied by swatting mom or telling her he hates her. Someone please tell me why this child is not getting his sweet little rear end worn out in the bathroom so I can shop without having my eardrums violently assaulted and my brain scrambled!
Result: An adult who constantly whines and complains to anyone who will listen about how terribly life is treating him, until he gets what he wants, of course.
You get the idea. Under-parenting leaves a child to himself, and creates a self-centered person who cannot control his own emotions and actions. Children must be trained, and that takes a lot of attention and effort. It is not an impossible task, and I can say this because I trained six children who were an average of two years apart in age. Yes, it can be exhausting, and the rewards are not seen or appreciated for a very long time. But the end result is an adult who has respect for others, is diligent, knows how to wait for good things, is generous and loving, has a moral compass, and who is capable of handling the difficulties of life. A wonderful side benefit is a peaceful home where screaming, demanding, and whining are not a part of everyday life. Whimpy parents produce whimpy children who will expect others to meet their needs and to overlook their “issues.” As my mother once told me, “Be the strong-willed parent your strong-willed child needs.”
Children crave boundaries. This is a true statement. The first time I spanked an out-of-control child and witnessed the peace that resulted, I was awestruck. This kid had really, really wanted me to stop him! Who would have known? Spanking suddenly took on a whole new meaning for me. Now if you are of a non-spanking mindset, I don’t have issues with you. I’ve seen other approaches work, too. I just guarantee you it will take you longer and use up much more of your precious time to train your child with time-outs and lots of talking and reasoning. And you also have to address the fact that if you are a Bible-believing and -following Christian, you might have a hard time justifying not spanking, since there are many scriptures to support it. But spanking is a whole ‘nother subject and a can of worms that can be opened on another post.
For now, if you are a parent, especially a parent of young children, please just know that what you are doing or not doing right now to train your child is shaping a future adult. Set limits, stand by them, be consistent, and don’t let a little pipsqueak of a kid wrestle the control from you. They don’t really want it, you know. They want YOU to be in charge.