I wish kids came with an owners manual, but they don’t. They don’t even come with a care label: feed every 4 hours and bathe daily.
That’s why a book like George Barna’s Revolutionary Parenting is a great resource. If you missed yesterday’s post, you can catch up here .
Have you ever wondered what makes some parents more effective than others? What works and what doesn’t? Well this book is full of research and statistics based on kids who turned out to be ”spiritual giants.”
It is interesting to note that the parents who raised these kids went against the grain. They swam upstream in the current of societal norms. Here are a few examples:
“From our research, we can posit that raising a spiritual champion is best accomplished by having at least one parent in the home who is fully committed to honoring God through his or her parenting practices.” pg.30
He explains that their choices are based on knowledge of scripture. They talked about the Bible with their kids. (He says fewer than 1 in every 10 born-again families read the Bible together during a typical week or pray together. Yikes!) They talked about good character and monitered their kids progress.
“One of the moving aspects of our research was discovering the depth of love that Revolutionary Parents had for their children and how that translated into an intense sense of mission to prepare them for life. These parents held the notion that ministry is relational in nature and their ability to affect the lives of their children would be minimized unless their love for their children was manifested in an authenitic relationship.”
He explained that this meant setting limits, maintaining standards of behavior and enforcing discipline on one hand and being a real friend to your child on the other hand. The parent is the parent, and has boundries, but the child knows that the parent is “for him” not against him.
We cannot buy into the mindset portrayed on TV that we cohabitate with our kids–sometimes being together at an occassional meal or watching a movie together. But we have to be involved with our kids, guiding, setting limits and cheering them on.
Kids need the stability of knowing that Mom and Dad are united. That the rules are the rules, and they don’t change on a whim. That parents have good reasons for what they say. (This implies that you think before you speak. Your word should be your word! ) That you can’t bargain your way around every rule! There is nothing worse than a parent who just cannot say no to their child–well, perhaps the child who won’t take ”no” for an answer. You know the scenario.
Child: “Mom, can I have a brownie?”
Mom: “No, not before dinner.”
Child: “How about a few chips?”
Mom: ”No, no snacks before dinner.”
Child: “Well, can I just have a few crackers?”
Mom: ”Oh, alright. Just a few, Sweetie.”
A child needs to learn to accept a ”No” without manipulating to get what they want. (And it is the parent’s fault who says things that they don’t mean in the first place. If you said “No snacks,” then stay true to your word, otherwise don’t say it. You are training your child to wager by your inconsistency.)
And bigger yet, that the child IS subject to the rules and not above them. (Every public school teacher in America can relate to parents who think that their child is the exception to the rule! That their cherub need special treatment. UGH! )Parents are doing their kids a HUGE disservice if they constantly manipulate the system for their kids, and allow them to think of themselves as above the rules. Not only is that not real life, but it is obnoxious!
Parents today are afraid to be parents, and say no. I think they are afraid that their kids will not like them, and they desperately need their kids approval for some odd reason. Barna covers that in his section entitled “Make Friends Elsewhere.”
More on that on Monday!