The questions run the gamut—but can be summed up like this — what is a parent supposed to do when it comes to raising our children in today’s world?
No doubt, it’s difficult. I can understand parents who feel like they are or could be losing their kids to the surrounding culture. That feeling as if your son or daughter is slipping away provokes all kinds of anxiety.
When it comes to parenting, communication is the key. As parents talk to their children about hair styles, clothing, music, movies, TV programs, video games, websites and books, there isn’t a one size fits all answer in determining which ones are acceptable and which ones are not.
I wouldn’t pretend to come up with a list of “do’s and don’ts” for you. But I will give you a few pointers—
It’s the parent’s anxiety that often gets them in trouble. Anxiety causes them to sound the alarm and batten down the hatches, rather than creating opportunities to communicate positively with their children.
Parenting, like Christianity, is about relationship. If you don’t have a relationship with your children, then they don’t value what you say. You can teach right from wrong, but ultimately they must grow up to make their own decisions.
2. Let go
You might picture the whole parenting process as looking like a funnel. As our children get older and move closer to adulthood — top of the funnel — there should be a widening of the boundaries that allows them to take on more responsibility. Of course, here is the challenge — knowing when and how much control to give up and how much responsibility to give.
Remember, our over-arching task as parents is to love them, but also to launch them into adulthood. When parents clamp down so hard on a child it can stifle the child’s ability to mature into the next stage of life.
Our goal is to enable them to think, trust, love, and believe so they can realize God’s best for them. That means parents must live openly and transparently. After all, you can’t fool them. They see and know — “more is caught than taught” as they say.
Our children carry with them the best and the worst of who we are. So the best that we can become, the better it is for the kids.
As for our boys, they are on their own now, our job complete. If your kids are still home, take full advantage of every opportunity you can. It goes by, oh, so fast!
Question: What have you discovered that is key to effective parenting?