I recently read this from a young Christian father. My only response: “In 10 years let me know how that worked out for you.”
“… to honour our children, we must let them reciprocate however they want to. I usually hear something like “Me no love Daddy! or “Jonathan [the Dad’s first name] JUST LEAVE ME ALONE”. Getting this far is huge, because your child confided in you that they don’t like you right now. That is communication, even if they call you by your first name.”
The author is well-meaning but also well on the way to training self-focused kids unprepared for the real world.
Can “Jonathan Jr” respond like that with his first grade teacher? Or a future boss? Or a cop that pulls him over? Or his future bride? In life it’s foolish to “reciprocate however you want to”. We need to teach our children that self-control is more valuable than unbridled self-expression.
3 ways to avoid raising self-focused children.
- Require your children to speak respectfully.
They can express frustrations even anger but in a respectful way. Other people’s feelings matter too and we can’t vomit our anger all over anyone who displeases us. PS – demonstrate respectful speech by the way you speak to them.
- If a child whines you can’t give in to their request – even if you were considering it before.
To do so rewards complaining and strengthens their resolve for next time.
- Don’t always drop what you’re doing to attend to a child.
Obviously I’m not talking about an emergency situation.
I’m referring to:
- Don’t allow a child to interrupt conversations.
This teaches he’s more important than what anyone else is doing or saying.
- Don’t stop everything to give them what they want.
Teach patience. We can’t always get what we want, right when we want it.
- Don’t go running to them when they call you.
Teach them to come to you and not yell at you from another room.
- Teach them to say, “May I please have …” instead of “I want ..”.
These are important life skills but also are Christ-like character traits we’re charged by God with instilling in our children.
Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
– Philippians 2:3-5
Also check out: The Problem with Mommy Blogs by Joel Malm