Friday Counseling Issues: Child-rearing

What is the biggest parenting mistake you made? Tell about a time you “hit the mark” in parenting.

(Thanks, kathleenduncan)

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This is a hard one for me, and somewhat painful.   We all evolve over time in how we respond to people. Our attitudes change. They grow either harder or softer. Mine have softened considerably.  What that means in terms of childrearing is that I was too quick off the mark, especially with my first two.

I was reared by an authoritarian father. His word was law, and you challenged him at your own risk. He was typical of his generation. That wasn’t always a bad thing.  I grew up watching Father Knows Best, and it was a great program. We could use more of that today, couldn’t we?  Instead, we have programs that portray Dad as Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest.  Mom is the wise one, and the kids are all full of perfect one-liners that put both parents firmly in their places.

I hate those shows, and I won’t watch them.  Give me Andy Griffith any time!

Anyway.  Add to my authoritarian father my natural temperament to take charge, lead, problem-solve. Whoever first said “my way or the highway” was like me.

Also add into that mix the strong belief in the church we attended when our kids were young that every home should have a well-used paddle.  We did.  I am not against spanking, and I don’t believe we ever took it to the level of abuse. Three quick swats was the usual discipline, over and done pretty quickly.

So I would still apply that board of education to the seat of learning, but it would be far less frequently.  It would be reserved for outright, rebellious disobedience.  I would be more creative in dealing with smaller infractions. I’d like to believe I would be a better listener.

I had very good radar with my kids, and I didn’t miss much.  I did, however, miss some things that cause me deep regret now.  No parent can be there 24/7. No parent can know every interaction between the children, and no parent is god-like. And contrary to what we’d like to believe, all children lie. All children push the boundaries.  All children hide things from their parents.  I did.  Why wouldn’t mine do the same?

So, wrapping it up, I would paddle less often, and listen more closely.

Where did we hit the mark?  Sometimes I feel there was very little we did right, but the thing I hear from all four of my kids is that we taught them to think for themselves.  We had lots of family discussions at the supper table, something which I fear is becoming a part of the American past.  We talked about faith, politics, history, relationships, dating, just about everything.  It was good. We spoke, they listened.  They spoke, we listened. They have all told us that they are thankful for our teaching them to think criticially, not to be duped by every silly fad or fantasy; to be able to defend what they believe because they believe it, not because someone else believes it.

And they’re all raising good kids.  That is a great joy to me.

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9 thoughts on “Friday Counseling Issues: Child-rearing

  1. Perhaps the best test of our parenting skills is what we see in our grandchildren. At least it is eye opening. I know for sure that one thing I would never change in rearing my children is the sacrifice I made in putting all three through education via Christian school. All three of my children also graduated from Christian colleges. But, the Christian school alone cannot produce fine, solid, upright citizens of the Kingdom. It takes dedicated parenting from the start. Good points, Linda, you did well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some days, when regrets are at the forefront of my mind, I look at my children today. Did I ruin them? Did I fail as a mom? I think not.

    They are almost all in a good place. The one who is not, is better than she was two years ago. Progress, not perfection. As young adults they know right from wrong, care for others, and have the tools they need to overcome and succeed. They have been taught about a loving, gracious God and how to forgive others. They know we love them are willing to encourage and support them as appropriate.

    My oldest is the only one married and with children. She is a great mom and has credited me with teaching her.

    We all make mistakes. We all have things we would have done differently. But I believe I did the best I could with the tools I had at the time. And I have asked forgiveness for my failings from my kids, my husband and my Father.

    Sounds like you were a great mom who has chosen a career field where you continue to help others grow and mature.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kathleen. You are right. Most of us do the best we can; and you can’t give someone something you don’t have. Sometimes I feel like a little kid still, wishing I knew all the answers. Perhaps part of growing up is recognizing that you don”t 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. michaelkreger

    For what it’s worth:

    I don’t remember being spanked more often than was necessary, and certainly not to the point of abuse. Not even close.

    And once I was old enough to actually have something to say, I remember that you LISTENED.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Linda, our table talks as a family will be the thing I miss the most when my teens all grow up and move out. We goof around a lot during meals, but we also have deep discussions too. I’m amazed at the grace my children have shown me about the mistakes I’ve made over the years. They know they are free to call me up on anything–and they do. Yet, they are also quick to thank me for both the little things and as well the big things I’ve done right. Parents who are honest, quick to apologize and forgive, and who listen will bear the fruit of a close relationship with their children. It sounds like your family orchard has produced an abundance.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    Liked by 1 person

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