Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Most Offensive Blog Ever . . . For Parents

Alright, let's just say it.  I'm going to offend many of you with the premise of this blog. Some of you might even quit reading my stuff. A few will wonder how I can be so misguided but I'll take my chances.

Because here's my observation. And like Simon Cowell on American Idol or Howard Stern on America's Got Talent, I know I'm right.

The universe does not revolve around your children! Nor my children nor anyone else's kids. Our children are not the most important people in the world, our church, school or neighborhood. They do not deserve more than others and are not entitled to the first, best, optimum, finest anything. The world has not been looking for or waiting for your child or my child to arrive on the scene any more than anyone else's son or daughter.

Now let me be clear. I'm a parent and now a grandparent too. I love my kids and their kids. I want the best for them and tried along with my wife to give them as many favorable and positive experiences and training opportunities as possible. There is nothing wrong with desiring the best for our kids. But too many parents demand it and shove their way to the head of every line so to speak to get it.

I recently heard of a mom who was attending a Christian women's activity and who demanded that her preschooler be in the same childcare room with his friend, a friend who was not even the same age. Parents in a host of situations demand the best teacher, trainer, room, nursery worker, class, summer activity or coach and if they don't get it for little Connor or Clarissa they vent their anger, pull strings until they get it, make life hell for the leadership or find another program.

Comedian Bryan Regan talks about the people on airplanes who take ten minutes trying to get their large case crammed into the overhead compartment while oblivious to the people waiting to get to their seats. His description is hilarious though these rude travelers are not. You do wonder sometimes if this person in row 20A really thinks they are the only one on the airplane.

Pushy, demanding parents aren't funny either nor are we if we live our lives forcing our kids to the front of every social line. Sometimes in life we just don't get what we want. We need to get over ourselves.

Why might parents like us overreach, overreact and over- respond when it comes to our kids?

Perhaps we didn't get the perks and opportunities we would have liked when we were growing up. And yes, that is disappointing but we're not helping our kids by letting them think that they need every advantage now or are more important than the others. And we certainly aren't wise to use our children as some sort of payback for the childhood we never had. We're only going to injure our kids or a relationship somewhere.

We're fearful that if our kids miss out on that one teacher, class or experience they will be scarred for life.  Guess what?  They won't. In fact, part of growing, learning and maturing is to face experiences that are extra-challenging, where you don't have all the advantages others have and work through it anyway. Many of the perks we're perhaps panicky about today won't even be remembered by us or our children in five or ten years.

We're just plain selfish. I know none of us like to hear this one but it's worth asking. Have we become a little too entitled, arrogant and self-centered? Is it time for us to care about others more than ourselves? If we are Christ followers are we modeling the kind of spirit and attitude Jesus modeled? He modeled humility and restraint and was always sinless even in His dissent.

Is it time to take a step back, breathe in deeply and remember that life is about far more than being first or getting our own way?  Maybe.

One final caution. What our kids expect in life today is likely what they will expect tomorrow.  If they live an entitled life and watch mom or dad demand more for them at every turn, they will probably expect the same when they are adults. But they will be disappointed and likely hurt big-time when they find out that people and  life in general doesn't cater to them.

So enjoy your kids. Help them succeed, grow and mature. But they aren't the only star in the heavens. Just yours. Appreciate and love them for that.

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.


  1. I am reading an interesting book about the increase in prevalence of character disturbance in our society titled Character Disturbance: A Phenomenon of Our Age by Dr. George Simon. The author explores the marked increase in narcicism and other character problems and connects it in no small measure with this increasing attitude in parenting over the past generation or two. This is a real problem in our society, Gary, and there are a number of legitimate studies that back you up. So preach it, brother!

  2. Thanks for the input and resource. I may check that book out. Much appreciated.

  3. Great rant, much needed! I see what this does to kids, and it is not pretty. Neither is it good for the kids!