Monday, September 30, 2013

The (un)Perfect Child

Recently, it seems that I have seen a flood of posts about kids and parenting.  Specifically, if your kid does something horrible - if they are bratty or have the nerve to call another child a name - you must be an awful parent.  You must be aloof and not ever go over how to treat others and you must be just a jerk to others yourself.  I mean, where else would they pick up that kind of behavior?

 Now I understand the sentiment of such posts.  As parents, we are to guide our kiddos to be the best little people they can be.  We should teach them manners and kindness to others.  We should demonstrate this in our own lives, and we should be always on top of this so that our child would never be THAT child who does something uncouth.

After all, who can argue with Proverbs 22:6?  "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

There you go. Plain and simple.  We are to train.  So that must mean it's our fault!

Except...I don't see it that way.  Not at all.

If you look at that verse, it says, "...and when he is OLD, he will not depart from it."


Do we all realize that our children are in constant training?  It doesn't say, "And if you train them, they will be perfectly behaved at age 7."  Nope.  That's not it.  Unfortunately, our natural tendencies as children can sometimes be unkind.  I don't understand it, I wish that wasn't the case, but it is. 

Adults can have these tendencies as well.

I think my kids are great.  I love watching them play together, and I especially love seeing them play with other kids to see how they interact.  Sometimes I will drive by the playground when I know Sarah (my 1st grader) is out there (when I am running early for Gabriel's preschool drop off).  I would love to think my child would NEVER call another child a name.  I go over this with them constantly.  Every morning before Caleb (3rd grade) and Sarah leave for school, I say, "Have a great day, and be kind to others!"  I feel that my husband and I demonstrate this to them.  We do not talk about people unkindly in general, but especially not in front of our kids. could happen.  They could say something to another child that could be hurtful or unkind.  And if it does happen, I honestly hope that the parent of that child comes to me with respect and kindness and we could work together to fix it.

I suppose I say all of this because I don't believe it's always the parents' fault if a child does something horrible.  We do the very best we can, and sometimes our kids are going to mess up.  They will let us down.  But we still love them and keep working to train them.  Our children are a work in progress.

Keep fighting the good fight.  And be mindful that other parents are doing the same.


Marcinda said...

well said. Just like God tells us over and over the right way to do things... and we still mess up over and over... how can we expect to be a better parent than HIM!! good job.

Liz said...

Amen sister!! I feel the same way. Some parents get so distraught when their kiddo does something and I try to see it as areas that need a little more work than others. Maggie recently got in trouble for hitting a little girl at school. It wasn't more than a tap but her teacher called. Her teacher told me that when she asked Maggie what happened she didn't lie or try to cover it up, just gave the straight truth. In my head I was fist pumping and shrugging my shoulders at the same time! Lol they are kids. We have to let them make mistakes and be kids, no kid is perfect and ones who are expected to be don't have happy childhoods I think. Great job!

Jen said...

I totally agree! ...and I think the church is especially bad about this - there were/are a lot of people that said really unkind things to/about my parents because of things my sister did/pictures they saw of her on fb in college. Sure she drank too much and partied at times but those were her choices and it didn't/doesn't make my parents horrible people. I think "old" is different for people can plant seeds in children all their life - some kids grow those seeds faster than others. All four of us (kids in my family) still make choices time to time that are not Christ like but I really believe my parents did an amazing job raising all of us. I'm glad you blogged about this no parent or child is perfect

Nel said...

When I see these posts about... all their kids getting to the perfect age! Or what a crazy thought to have another child... or something about LOVING the stage their kids are in, taking time to slow down and not be in a hurry all the time... yadda yadda yadda... I start to judge my parenting and my life. I think we all need to remember that we do what is best for OUR family. I think all of us mommies and daddies try very hard to teach our children the right things, the right way to act and so forth. We take a lot of the blame when they act out and do something wrong... but we must remember just what you said, they are not going to act perfect at age 7. We can't possibly expect our children to always be on their very best behavior (no matter how much us moms try, even I am not 100% everyday). I think the world has gotten so judging... and then we judge ourselves. I used to make myself crazy trying to be perfect in everyones eyes... but then realized I need to focus on our little family and our little life and everything else will fall into place - take us or leave us.

Stacey said...

I don't have kids, but I agree. I think peer pressure and being socially accepted are major influences in kids' behavior.

Christy said...

Absolutely! My kids are not perfect, they say ugly things to each other and a couple times have said unkind and ugly things to one of their friends. They were disciplined, we talked about WHY what they said was ugly, hurtful, etc and they on their own came to the conclusion that they knew they needed to apologize and they did so.
Kids make mistakes. They say and sometimes do things that are not appropriate, that are sometimes out right stupid, hurtful, etc. As parents, we just have to teach them when they do make mistakes why they need to do better and how to do better.

Beverlee Parsons said...

Thank you for the posts… I agree. Kids aren’t supposed to be perfect. They need to learn and grow from their mistakes.
It's funny how before I had children, I thought a lot about the things that I would say and teach differently to my own children than what my parents did with me. Looking back now, I have to laugh. There are so many times that I catch myself sounding just like my mother.... talk about "when he (she) is old, he will not depart from it." I'm not perfect, but I’m a good person, and hope the same for my kids. When I see the obstacles and what our children have to deal with in this day and age, it scares me. I hate to imagine what will be out there for my grandchildren. I am so grateful for the values that my parents instilled in me as a child and that I am passing on to my children. I expect my children to make mistakes, but in the long run, I hope the value of kindness and respect towards others will follow them into adulthood.

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