I turned my head and noticed the woman was talking to a whining child who could not have been more than three or four. The conversation continued as the woman said, “If you’re good we can go to the park before we go home.”
It struck me as odd that this mother was bargaining with a three to four-year-old! Parents are afraid of scolding their children and worse, disciplining them. We, as adults have a God given authority and responsibility to raise our children properly. We are to teach them values, respect, manners and how to live fully among those who love them and with strangers they will meet in their lifetime. As parents, we should not be expected to have to plead with them, argue, bargain or bribe, or give them a time frame (counting… one, two…three) to respond to our words. Why then, do we allow our children to “raise” us, as parents?
It seems children now have the right to divorce their parents if they desire. Depending on the state they can be as young as fourteen years old! The court calls this action “emancipation.” The child is freed of his parents! Is it any wonder parents are afraid to discipline?!1
Our parenting roles often look more like “friendships” trying desperately to make sure we don’t lose our children’s “loyalty.” We’re afraid of hurting feelings and rejection! As parents we should not be expected to let our children run our household or our lives, in the sense they tell us where they are going or what they are going to do, and when, necessitating a shift in our lifestyle, schedules and plans to accommodate their desires.
When we command control, and create boundaries our children must live within, we are teaching them to honor and respect us as parents, adults and authority figures. While doing this we must remember to always love them. Creating boundaries shows them we care about their welfare. As they get older and the reins of freedom are loosened, they can use the guidelines taught, to make decisions based on what they have learned.
They need to know what will and will not be accepted and that disobedience will bring consequences! I grew up with the knowledge that depending on the behavior, a spanking would not be out of in the question. In fact, it was likely! My children also grew up with this knowledge. It does not mean we were “beat” or that I “beat” my children. I used my hand on their bottoms.
It also doesn’t mean I didn’t use other methods. “Time out,” which we just called sitting in your room on your bed without any toys, books or other entertainment and think about what you did, was used, as well as others. But the children got the idea and knew the standard. They understood their boundaries and my limits!
Children have discovered spankings and discipline in general can be avoided if they respond with “You can’t touch me, or I’m going to the authorities!” This happens in our homes and in our schools and it’s shameful! Our young people are growing up with no sense of right or wrong and a measure of defiance that is frightening. How will this affect next generation, as this situation seems to be getting worse and worse?