Parenting Matters

Finding the Balance in Parenting

Basically, there are 3 types of parents.

1. Drill Sergeants: With these parents, "The Rules" are very clearly established by the parents. The kids have little or no opportunity to negotiate. Clarity isn't a bad thing, but unrealistic expectations are. When we have unrealistic expectations, we just set our kids up to fail. These are the parents who ground their kids for getting a B on their report card. When "rules" are broken these parents move swiftly and often harshly. Also, in the church community, these can also be the kids who are forced to be at church every time the door is open.

The result: These parents are at a high risk of having "rebels" on their hands. The "tight ship" often drives kids to "jump ship."

2. Whatever Parents: These parents are lazy, inconsistent or both. On Monday, we have rules, but by Wednesday we have none, or expectations are never articulated. This can be the result of wanting to be our kids "buddies," so these parents don't set clear boundaries. Also, if boundaries are set, the follow through is often inconsistent.

The result: These kids will often be very confused, because of lack of clarity. Also, they are likely to be "testers." They will do things that they think might be wrong, but they are looking for parental reaction. Their bad behavior is often a cry for guidance or attention.

3.Balanced Parents: These parents have some bedrock absolutes, but they are also willing to negotiate on less significant matters, if the kids have the basics down. When it comes to school, these parents expect their kids to do their best. As these children move on successfully in their development they earn trust and are given more freedom of choice. When it comes to matters of church, participation is the norm, but options are also available under special circumstances. And, things like forcing a child to sit through an adult Bible study that they don't want to attend, with no children's activities available don't happen with these parents.

The Result: These children feel secure. They know what the boundaries are, and realize {most of the time} that their parents love them and have their best interests in mind. As these kids grow up, they are the most likely to move successfully into healthy adulthood.

"Shooting Blanks"

One of the most common mistakes I see parents make is telling their kids that their behavior is wrong and there will be consequences. But the parent rarely follows through with the consequences.

This sends an unfortunately clear message to children: You can pretty much do whatever you want, because the threatened consequences are idol threats. It's kind of like the sheriff in town loading his gun with blanks, and every bad guy in town knows it.

Parental Consistency

Mom & Dad, you are a team. Before the ground rules are set for the kids, the 2 of you need to be in agreement about what they are. So, if Junior asks mom or dad for permission to do something, he should get the same answer from both parents.

Now, if Junior throws you an unexpected curve ball, don't be afraid to say, "I'll need to think about that and discuss it with your mom/dad, and WE'LL get back to you.

Parents, if you don’t work together, your kids will learn very quickly how to play you like a fiddle.