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Wanda Smith writes about raising children
On the Front Porch by Wanda Smith

None of us wants to raise a human no one likes being around. We’ve all been there... imagine the grocery store scenario when the infamous temper tantrum emerges when we’ve just said “no” to our mini prince or princess. Shame on us as parents for allowing a melt-down in Superstore. How dare we not give in to what our sweet-little-something wants? How dare we say “no?”

To avoid further embarrassment, we finally do give in, only to reinforce the fact that a temper tantrum will result in the child getting their way. Human behavior dictates what type of behavior works to get our way and children are quick to find out what works and what doesn’t. Unfortunately, this will carry forth into adulthood if not put into check.

There are several clues we can look for in order to determine whether or not we are raising an “entitled” child. Do we reward for good behavior? Are our children selfish? Do we “bail” them out of their problems? Do they like to get not only their way but also their wants? Do they dishonor their parents and anyone else in authority? Do they lack resilience or persistence to do the hard things, and eventually become angry and demanding?

Upon reflection, I have come to the realization that we, as parents, are the ones at fault. I admit it: I’ve enabled my children to live entitled lives to some degree. I started putting my foot down later than I should’ve but, thankfully, God is merciful and helps us in our weakness as parents. As I shared last week, we have to learn to navigate through the cultural sea that’s all around us. It is not always a popular thing to go against the grain but the results are peaceable and blessed.

How can a generation be raised that is kind, thoughtful, respectful, hard-working and honest? It will require changes... and change can be hard but we must persevere to bring results. Don’t be overwhelmed by the task ahead. One adjustment at a time will begin to turn the whole ship!

“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.” James 3:3&4

It is not our job to be our child’s friend; our job is to train them up in order for them to have the tools they need to leave home and contribute to society when they do, desiring that they would be empathetic, community-minded individuals with a solid work ethic and a sense of personal responsibility. We may find that holding our children accountable for their actions won’t be pretty in the moment but it will work over time.

If we adopt the attitude that we love them too much to leave them to their own selfish ambitions, it will help to set them on a course to be successful contributors in their own families, specifically and to their communities in general.  As parents, we must be confident to go against the norm — to not take the easy way out.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Next week, we’ll look at specifics of how to train our children to not expect hand outs and to take responsibility for their lives and the community around them.

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