How would you feel if you are the CEO of goggle? Being the owner of the exotic cars, nice house, great family and getting a massive salary. It feels good, yeah? It feels really good but this should register in our minds; a greater position calls for more responsibility.
A mother came home late from work assuming her children were asleep with their housekeeper as it was the daily routine. Together with the husband they went to bed and woke up in the morning to prepare the kids for school, only to be told by the housekeeper that they never returned from school.
Being an adult is recognizing your own responsibility. A fundamental truth all parents would admit to, is the importance of being responsible for their kids. Children are blessings given to parents and therefore parents have the responsibility to cater for them, until when they have become physically, mentally, financial and psychologically matured to handle their own affairs. In actual fact, parenting has no end, as parents’ graduates into grandparents and then the cycle is repeated from generations to generations. It is therefore, a terrible thing not to cater for your children or accept your responsibility as a parent. How well a child turns out to be in their adult life largely depends on how well they were catered for by their parents. Nobody ever said that children were easy to raise. They don’t come with guidelines or instructions, and they certainly don’t come with a “pause” button. What they do come with is a crucial set of physical and emotional needs that must be met. Failure of the parents to meet these specific needs can have wide-ranging and long-lasting negative effects.
A responsible parent is a parent who is “willful” and has the ability to respect and do the needs and aspirations of the family and children. It is the ability of a parent to detect the need, happiness and desire of the children and helping them to become responsible and reasonable children. It is also the ability of a parent to meet and cater for the needs of the family and children according to his or her capability. There is no single way to parent, but maintaining basic standards of safety and behavior can make the difference between responsible and careless parenting. So many parents shy away from taking their role in the family. Some other parents do not even know what their responsibilities are such that when they provide basic things for their children, they make those children feel they have to ‘pay back’ for all they have done.
Ways parents have been careless with their children.
Some of the most dangerous parenting mistake are not obvious. They’re subtle and stealthy. This makes them even more dangerous, because we can go on doing them for years without even realizing we’re harming our kids in the process!
- Subtle dishonesty: Kids are like human lie detectors, and we can’t teach them the value of honesty and integrity when we’re willing to be dishonest. One of the most common examples of this is when parents lie about being cashless because they don’t want to purchase something their child asked for. Saving those few extra cash the wrong way will cost you a huge amount in the long run with the negative lessons you’re teaching your child about “selective honesty.” You can simply say this to the child; “Son, you can’t simply get everything you want all the time. You can also say “Son, please bear with me, I have a lot of expenses to cover”. There are diverse things to say to your child to make them understand you can’t afford to spend at the moment instead of being dishonest.
- Emotional sabotage: It’s easy to fly-off-the-handle when one of our children isn’t listening or when they’re being careless or disobedient. Sometimes we’ll even use our emotions just to get a reaction from our kids. This is dangerous, because when we can’t control our emotional reactions to our children, we’re teaching our children that ‘they’ are in control of our emotions (instead of teaching them that ‘we’ are in control of our own emotions). This can create a longterm pattern of emotional dysfunction in the home.
- The Comparison Trap: In an attempt to encourage or correct our children, we might point out the example of another child (often a sibling) as a reference point. While this is usually a harmless attempt to bring context to the situation, most children won’t see past the comparison. This can subconsciously train children not to be the best they can be, but rather to find a way to simply “seem better” than their peers and siblings hereby leading to ‘sibling rivalry. ‘
- Leaving children to things and people devoid of values and responsibility : In our technology-driven world, it’s easy to plop the kids down in front of a screen so we can get some stuff done. In small doses, this is okay, but it can develop into a dangerous habit where we’re delegating our most sacred duty to TV shows and video games to raise our kids for us. Some parents handover their kids their neighbors, siblings or babysitter who does not know the first thing about parenting. Your kids learn a lot from their environment or people you hand them over to.
- Putting the happiness of your children ahead of the health of your marriage: Many couples won’t even go on a date night because they’re afraid the children will cry, so to pacify the kids, they never invest in their relationship with each other. Some couples even communicate less because of their kids. Ironically, many of these kids end up crying anyways after divorce rips the family in two. One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the security that comes from seeing their parents in a loving, committed marriage.
- Hiding your capacity: We all want our kids to see us as superheroes who never make mistakes, but our kids aren’t looking for perfection; they’re looking for authenticity. When you’ve blown it, own it! Use it as a teaching moment. Remember that God is the only “Perfect Parent” and his love has got you covered on those moments when you mess up (and we all have plenty of those moments).
If this post helped you, please share it so we can help others too! In my next post, I’ll be talking about roles and essential responsibilities that parents must adhere to in order to foster their child’s physical and/or emotional well-being.