Thursday, September 3, 2009

Who's Problem Is It?

As parents we really want to protect our children from harm. We want them to make better decisions than we did. We want to spare them the heartache we've endured. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. We actually do them an injustice if we don't love them enough to cope with the natural consequences of their choices; which interferes with God's law that a man must "reap what he sows" (Galatians 6:6-8). The best discipline we can offer our children is to trust that they are capable of learning from their mistakes, and faith that they can handle the natural consequences when the price tag is small; raising the odds that they will gain enough wisdom early in life to make fewer mistakes as adults when the price tag can be daunting. Isn't this the way God loves all His children? The love is unconditional, but we cannot expect that God is going to rescue us from every poor choice we make. Otherwise, how would we ever learn anything? If God parents us this way, why should we think we know better than, or love our kids more than He does?
The easiest way to start raising our kids the way God parents us is to FIRST determine who owns the problems. It's amazing how much you can love your kids just by trusting them to "handle" their own issues. Your son forgets his lunch? Let him go hungry a few times, instead of dropping the lunch off for him. Your daughter has an electronic device confiscated at school? Let her do without it. Your child takes his time getting dressed in the morning? Let him choose between going to school with his clothes on his body, or in a bag. Your daughter is a fussy eater? Give her a choice between two things or waiting until the next meal to see if she prefers what's offered then better. Your daughter refuses to do her homework without your help? Ask her if she wants to learn it at school and practice what she's learned at home; or if you need to confront the teacher to find out why she has to re-learn everything at home (Usually kids don't want you to accuse the teachers of not doing their jobs, when it's really their own laziness that's the issue.). Remember, it's our job to "wean our kids off of us" from the time their born! Let them own their own problems. There is a stark difference between nurturing, and enabling a child to remain a child. What do you think?

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