A Wise Life

A blog by Lisa Price

Capricious children will rule over them, the people will be oppressed; each one by another, and each one by his neighbor. The youth will storm against the elder and the inferior against the honorable~ Isaiah 3:4b-5 NASB

 It’s difficult to quibble with the notion that our society has become progressively more child-centric over the course of the last few decades. The phrase “family friendly” is assigned to everything from frozen chicken dinners to prime parking spaces at the grocery store. Sentimental ballads like “Children are Our Future” are the rallying cry of educators, church leadership and Moms and Dads everywhere.

 All kidding aside, overall concern for the health and welfare of kids has brought about some much-needed changes in our culture. Research has raised awareness concerning the educational, medical and emotional needs of growing children. Parents readily invest more of their time, energy and treasure in raising kids than at any other time in history; and educators are much more in tune with the developmental needs of each individual child. As a result, school is far more interesting than it used to be.

 All this child-centeredness has also brought with it a greater awareness of child abuse and neglect. Physical discipline of any kind is now frowned upon and has been replaced with more “enlightened” forms of discipline.

I am all for anything that brings awareness to the horrors of child abuse. But I’m afraid we’ve exchanged physical abuse and emotional neglect with a pernicious new form of child abuse. One that is much more socially acceptable but every bit as crippling to the long-term health and well being of children.

 I call this relatively new form of child abuse “insulation.” Insulation happens when well-intentioned parents go beyond protecting their children from harmful influences or danger. Parents who insulate attempt to shield their kids from every kind of distress, pain, sadness, discomfort, discouragement or discontent. Some of the more common methods of insulation would include:

 Demanding teachers give kids grades they have not earned

Refusing to expose kids to unfamiliar foods for fear they won’t like them

Insisting swings and other “dangerous” equipment be removed from playgrounds

Piling on undeserved praise

Allowing laziness and irresponsibility

Failing to tell children “no” when appropriate

Delaying the teaching of necessary life skills (cooking, cleaning, driving, money management)

Neglecting to correct disrespect or rudeness

Anxiety over offending your child

Operating as a mediator with teachers and other authority figures

 There is nothing sinful about attempting to make childhood pleasant. Nor is it wrong to want to protect children from danger. The world we live in is full of evil people and some genuine threats. One of the primary obligations of parents and guardians is to shelter innocent children from unsafe people and risky situations.

 The trouble comes when parents endeavor to shield their children from unpleasant or painful situations that teach kids truth about life. A scraped knee is painful, but the pain effectively communicates to a child the truth concerning their physical limitations. A bad grade won’t kill a student, but the embarrassment that comes with a bad grade may instill in them the importance of working hard. If a youngster is never made to try unfamiliar foods they will be robbed of the joy of discovering foods they do like.

 Childhood is far too brief to fritter away time puffing kids up with unjustified praise or setting them up for disappointment by constructing a fictitious reality lacking responsibility or obligation. Childhood is the only time parents get to teach kids all they will need to know to navigate the rigors of the adult world. One aspect of preparing kids for the inevitability of adulthood is guiding them through unpleasant or challenging experiences, not eliminating them entirely.

 Parents ought to teach kids to negotiate with teachers or coaches, rather than doing it for them. This gives kids the confidence and skills needed to deal with supervisors and managers in the future. Parents need to demand respect and teach etiquette because respect for others, civility and good manners make children and grown-ups more likable and more marketable in the professional world. Refusing to correct disrespect sets a child up to be disliked and passed over for opportunities.

 Insulation is born out of a misguided interpretation of love. Love is more than just squishy, squashy, sloppy sentimentality. Love is more than a urge to bless and shelter. Authentic love is multifaceted and complex. It is patient and kind, but it is also honest, tough and future focused. Love desires what is best long-term. Love looks beyond childhood and prepares for adulthood. Love motivates kids to try new things, to be courageous, protects when appropriate and corrects when necessary. Love, authentic love, provides kids a start that will serve them well over the course their lifetime.

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Acceptable Child Abuse?

  1. Blackhorn33 says:

    I read Acceptable Child Abuse and I would like to know how you and your family got past the Flaming Sword. “Children are the future”, I was going to tell you that I use this statement to “attempt” waking people from the state of indifference toward what is out of control in this Country. While wondering where to begin, and how best to say all that I would like to “say” is the wrong word, communicate is, I believe, what I desire. I seriously hope you have been living back in the Garden, or that I have made the trip back to my second childhood, and have been imagining all that surrounds us in my delusional state. I also see the word “narcissist” over my head here, I use the words “Indifference, Hedonism, and Narcissism” on Our Home Page, along with FEEL-GOOD Society to describe parents, who have only time for their pleasures, not caring what we have allowed to happen to this country. Every where you turn INDIFFERENCE is being planted in Children’s hearts. I wonder how many children died in a hot car 30 years ago. Where you really got me was what you said or implied about discipline, because I came very close to it with my 4 sons, but I read to them before they were born, and sang. I hate to be a pessimist but I have my doubts that even 10-15% of Mothers or Fathers are GOOD Parents.
    Lastly, misinterpretation of love? There was only a small amount of Agape that I ever witnessed, and that was over half a century ago, so I’m betting 5% tops. Eros was the basis of 50’s and 60’s marriages. Although Philia wasn’t so endangered as now, and Storge was alive back then,

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    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comment! I agree with you that indifference is a huge problem not just in our country but also in our world. I don’t pretend to have all the answers but I do think that at least part of the answer is education. Many of the parents I was writing about WANT to be good parents, they are just going about it the wrong way. They believe that overindulging and over protecting will accomplish something it won’t.

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      1. Blackhorn33 says:

        Ms Price, are you by chance a Minister’s wife???? I need to go back and refresh my memory on your blog I read because I could have talked for a day or 2 on all that came to mind. I will look at your page and if you have a non-public form of communication listed I will discuss more at length, or if you wish, one or more of our email addresses are listed where you can email. People are quick to defame the name of the Church because of the actions of some who have yielded to sin, yet they see nothing wrong with murdering Babys, flaunting same sex relationships, alcohol, drugs, and even total disregard for Our Country and Our Laws by feeding into the growing anarchy in this country by taking the side of Michael Brown, who had just robbed a store, and Eric Garner. who did not obey Police Officers when they told him to get on the ground. How can anyone with a brain say they killed a man who had a heart attack, much less a man who had over 30 arrests, one of which was grand larceny. Parents let their Children watch Ellen Degeneress and Oprah Winfrey, who incited the riot along with Al Sharpton.
        What does all this mean? IT IS A SIN TO IMPLANT INDIFFERENCE IN A CHILD’S HEART, Indifference to GOD is what this is referring to.
        Ms Price, all this tells me is that there are fewer parents even attempting to be anything more than being someone who should never have had children.

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