Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him- Psalm 127:3
People argue about anything and everything.
Otherwise rational adults will argue about issues that swing from the significant to the silly. Art, politics, the best donut, burger and pizza places in any given city, the correct way to hang a roll of toilet paper and of course, religion. If it’s something we talk about, then it’s undoubtedly something we argue about.
Attitude and mindset seems to be the one exception to this rule. Pretty much everyone seems to agree mindset makes or breaks people and situations. What one believes or thinks about any given subject affects how they behave concerning that subject (Matthew 15:18-19, Philippians 4:8-9) .
In my humble estimation, there is no subject where mindset matters more than parenting children. There are mindsets or attitudes that we adopt, sometimes unknowingly, that can seriously affect our ability to parent well. Most of these mindsets are actually lies that we’ve bought into. If we allow these mindsets to continue unchallenged, they can eventually ruin our kids.
Four of those are:
Good parents do everything for their kids–
This is probably the most dangerous lie that has taken root in our parenting culture. Many well meaning Moms and Dads will literally knock themselves out to do everything but breathe for their kids. They do their dishes, pick up their stuff, pack their lunches, clean their rooms and pay for luxuries long after kids should be providing those things for themselves. Some well-meaning parents even do their kid’s homework for them. This mindset is incredibly harmful because it FEELS loving and kind but it teaches nothing, produces laziness, and ensures a sense of entitlement going into adulthood, all this effectively cripples kids for lives and makes failure almost inevitable. It’s better, more productive and far more loving to teach our kids how to do things for themselves and reward them for a job well done (Proverbs 10:4, Hebrews 6:12, Proverbs 3:1, Proverbs 13:1).
The 24-hour news cycle has produced a generation of adults who worry about strange things. Parents worry themselves sick about school shootings, Ebola, random kidnappings and what will happen if their kids don’t learn to play an instrument or get into the “right” school. It’s not as if those things never happen or don’t matter. However, they are all less likely to hurt a kid than the dangerous ideas and corrupting influences they are exposed to on television or through peers and social media. Bad things happen, but kids are much more likely to be harmed by the influence of a friend or what they see on TikTok than to become a victim of a school shooting (1st Corinthians 15:33). God wants us to control the things we can control and trust Him to protect our kids from the things we cannot control (Matthew 6:25-24, Luke 12:22-34) .
Parenting and guilt go hand in hand. Parental guilt begins in pregnancy, gathers momentum throughout early childhood, reaches a peak in the teen years and continues…well, until you die. Guilt is not automatically a bad thing. If handled wisely, guilt can be a powerful motivator towards transformation and better parenting. Guilt becomes a bad thing when parents are driven to do things, buy things, tolerate bad behavior or indulge their children’s whims out of a sense of guilt. Next time you feel guilty about a parenting issue, stop and analyze the feeling. If you can change something, (like yelling or not spending enough time with your kid) change it. If the guilt is coming out of something you can’t change, don’t try and compensate for it with more material blessings (Isaiah 30:15, 2nd Corinthians 7:10).
Not focusing on the real issues every kid has-
Because every kid is human every kid has character issues that must be dealt with before they reach adulthood or those issues will become hard baked into their personality. All kids will lie. Some kids mistreat other kids. Most kids shirk responsibility, disrespect adults and tend toward laziness. Our children’s flaws are a result of their human nature (Jeremiah 17:9, Hosea 10:2). These flaws need to be dealt with decisively. Not blamed on bad teachers, television, other children, gluten or video games. All of those things may contribute to a kid’s issues, but they are not the cause.
Twenty-five years of parenting have taught me that time is short and we have to take advantage of the teachable moments because those moments do not last forever. When we are deep in the trenches of diapers and temper-tantrums it’s hard to imagine that that our kids will ever grow up and make adult decisions and choices, but they do, and it all happens very quickly. Smart parents decide early on what kind of an adult they want produce. Then they are intentional about sowing those qualities into their children. Our attitude toward the process makes or breaks our ability to sow truth into our kids while we have them.