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

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Three Things We Inadvertently Teach Our Kids

Most of us find ourselves modeling the actions of our parents, right? Even things we vowed we would never do sometimes just happen and we hardly notice.

However, we also teach our kids attitudes and actions that most of us would rather they didn't learn. And chances are that even when we see our sweet sons and daughters acting inappropriately we prefer to blame their nature, other social influences, the declining culture or some other handy sacrificial lamb.

Unfortunately, some of their responses are our fault. We the parents taught them how to live the way they do and we need to own our part in it. Let me suggest three of those lessons.

We don't really mean what we say. We supposedly lay down the law regarding when they'll go to bed, their need to clean their room or what they can and can't wear. But then they balk, come up with an excuse or two and we let things slide. And then they use that tactic again the next time and the next. And it seems to work. They have quickly learned that we're not serious and it doesn't matter if they don't respond to our exhortations right away.

We might subsequently tell others that our kids are not very obedient, but we've actually taught them that they really don't need to do what we say, at least right away.

The family revolves around them. How many families are simply running from event to event, practice to practice, rehearsal to rehearsal, all required for their kids? And in most cases there is more than one child involved so the schedule is even more complicated. As a result there are few meals eaten together or evenings when everyone is at home. Sleeping in and having a leisurely weekend morning is a thing of the past.

In other words, mom and dad spend most of their non-working time driving the shuttles, sitting in the stands watching or getting things bought or cleaned so these activity addicts can do it all the next day. And the kids likely begin to think they deserve all of our time, money and other resources. Mom and dad aren't entitled to relax, stay home or slow down. The family center has become the children and their activities and everything else bows down to them

More is more. Finally, most of our homes are not satisfied to be busy during one season, one sport or one extra-curricular activity. Child athletes almost always play multiple sports while some children play a sport, instrument and join a club or two. They can't just play on a local team either and they also at some point join a traveling league, more advanced conference or trendier academy. They are learning that you're only better if you do more.

So how do they learn otherwise?  You'll have to break some habits, go against the cultural grain, be serious and put our values into action, not just talk about them. You might risk having the children angry at you a bit more but when it's all said and done, they'll love you for it and probably be just like you someday! Teach them what you want to teach them. Forget the rest.

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

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

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