Title: The Pitfalls Of Parenting: Part One
I remember that overwhelming feeling of frustration with trying to figure out how to parent effectively. I even remember thinking to myself, “There are 8 billion books out there on parenting but none of them seem to work with my child.” If I have to be honest, I still worry what our kids are going to say in future therapy sessions :). Parenting is tough and we can all get down on ourselves for not being the perfect parent. Guess what? No parent is perfect! (Even Joseph and Mary lost Jesus for 3 days and, at least, I have never done that!) Last year we touched on a number of topics, but this year I want to spend time going over some of the parenting pitfalls that can have negative effects on your children.
The first pitfall I want to discuss is the trend of trying too hard to be your child’s friend. I am not saying that your child cannot ever be your friend. In fact, if done well, your child can be a good friend once they become an independent adult, but not until then. I can understand falling into this trap… I mean who doesn’t want to be liked by their own child? The problem with this pitfall is it sets up an unhealthy relationship that the child is not ready for.
Children need a parent not a friend. We get caught in this pitfall because, as parents, we simply want to be empathetic to our children. I found a good example in an article by James Lehman called, “Your Child Is Not Your Friend”. He gives the example of a child coming home and complaining that their teacher won’t let them chew gum in class. Parent A says, “Yeah, that teacher is ridiculous. Why don’t they just let you chew gum? What a dumb rule!” Parent B says, “Boy, I really disliked that rule when I was in school too. But I had to follow the rules too.” These responses are both empathetic towards the child and their feelings, but couldn’t be more different. Parent A is treating them like a confidant or a friend, while parent B is still being empathetic, but also reinforcing the importance of following rules and respecting authority.
Dr. Belsky in Psychology Today, says this, “The role of parent comes with certain responsibilities and obligations and being a friend can make exercising these more difficult. It can also make life more challenging for the child.” He is saying when we try to be friends before it is appropriate, we can make parenting more difficult and set our kids up for failure.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11
I hope this parenting email was helpful. I will touch on a few more parenting pitfalls throughout the year. I have also added a link to each of the articles that I referenced to go a little more in depth into the subject.
Please let me know if there are any topics that you would like addressed over the next 12 months. Happy New Year!!!
Family Life Pastor