A Thought for Today

“Good government generally begins in the family, and if the moral character of a people once degenerates, their political character must soon follow.”
― Elias Boudinot

History has shown this statement to be true over and over again.  So instead of calling our leaders ugly names, instead of becoming way less than Christ-like in our words and attitudes about the present sad offering of Presidential candidates, we need to do some self-examination.

Was there “good government” in your family? Were you grounded in God’s Word?  Were you taught manners, respect, the value of hard work, and the good stewardship of your finances? Were you taught to be decent toward others, even those with whom you disagree?

No family is perfect, but we do tend to pass on to our children what we learned growing up.

So if you were allowed to set your own boundaries as a child; if you were permitted to throw tantrums, if your parents were obedient to your every whim, then that’s most likely what you are passing on to your children.

Or, if there were things you felt were unfair when you were growing up, you’re probably not requiring that thing of your own children.That philosophy teaches them pretty quickly that if there’s something they don’t like, then they shouldn’t have to do it.

I’m not completely sure when good government in the home fell apart in America. Some would point us back to the permissive parenting styles of child psychologists like Dr. Benjamin Spock. His book does seem to have been something of a landmark in parenting practices.

I never read it. Neither did my parents.

I’m about to make a very general statement here that will probably get me into a lot of trouble, but here goes:

If you came from an orderly, Christ-centered,  well-governed home, you’re probably not out there with screaming, looting, rioting, angry people who know no other way to express themselves and wouldn’t care if they did.

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Government, as Hillary believes it should, must NOT be the primary molder and shaper of our children. No government ever gave birth to a baby. Parents conceive babies together in an act of mutual love and caring, and no government should ever have the right to snatch that baby and leave the parents with nothing more than a guardianship role to play in the child’s life.

In America, government was designed to serve and protect, not to  control and supervise us in the smallest details of our lives.

When that balance of power shifts, and government becomes primary in influencing families and children, then any nation is in deep trouble.

America is no exception.

 

Friday Counseling Issues: Helicopter Moms

Before you tune out, just relax.  This isn’t going to be a post yelling at conscientious, dedicated mothers. There are never too many of those. I do want to make some observations, though, based on some things I see fairly often in my practice.  If it doesn’t describe you, you’re good to go.  If the shoe fits. . . .well, at least please think about it 🙂

First, I want to say that I think the term helicopter mom is snarky and unkind. What I know beyond a doubt is that the intentions of an overprotective mother are for nothing but the good of her child. She has invested in her child heart and soul, and what seems overbearing to her child and, perhaps, to observers, is simply her ongoing desire to see that child succeed.

Nothing wrong with that, right?

Here’s the thing: Any good thing, taken too far, becomes a negative instead of a positive.  Think in terms of sugar, chocolate, alcohol, financial success, exercise and diet, and so on. All pleasant and good until they are taken too far and become obsessions.

A mother who is obsessed with her child and his welfare has gone too far.

As a teacher, years ago, I dreaded certain moms. In their minds, the entire educational system was responsible not only for her child’s education, but also for his physical, emotional, and social welfare. If the child came home unhappy, the mom was sure to come to school the next day with her cannon loaded, looking for the culprit who caused her child’s misery.

She maybe could have aimed those cannons at herself, because the one thing she isn’t doing in her devotion to her child is teaching him to stand on his own two feet and be responsible for his own behavior. She is not allowing any difficult consequences to go unchallenged. The child will grow up to always expect someone else to bail him out. He will have a hard time understanding that when you choose the behavior, you choose the consequence.

There are a couple of identifying sentences that overprotective moms (dads,too, by the way) use whenever their efforts are frustrated:  “I was just trying to help!  It was just a suggestion!”

They do not–will not–see that their constant hovering over the child has become interference. They don’t realize that the child needs to have the freedom to mess up, make mistakes, get knocked down a time or two and learn to get back up and try again.

Some kids learn early to cope with these ubermoms. They learn to let the constant stream of warnings, instructions, reminders and questions slide off their shoulders.  Others become angry and rebellious, demanding their space and their independence of the smothering concern of someone who is ALWAYS “just trying to help.”

One of my major concerns about these well-meaning but overly aggressive parents is how thier obsession with their children affects their marriages.  There are some women who, the minute they know they are pregnant, feel that their immortal destiny is fulfilled in bearing and rearing THE PERFECT CHILD.  This will be a child to whom no harm will come; who will know that Mom always has his back, no matter what horrendous behavior he has committed; a child that the world will recognize as being something special in human history.

And while this incredible child is incubating, the father learns that he has just lost his position as first place in his wife’s life.  After the child is born, he will experience a slowly but clearly widening gap in their relationship as more and more of her energy is poured into her child or children. She just has nothing left for him. The least little whimper or gasp from the baby’s room has her flying to the rescue, and if she finds that Baby is sound asleep, she may pick him up and rock him anyway just because she loves to do it.

A little bit of that kind of thing is fine.  Take it too far, you’re going to reap the whirlwind.

The child should never be the center of a parent’s existence. Eventually, in spite of all efforts to keep him safe at home, that child is going to spread his little wings and fly, and then Helicopter Mom or Dad will have nothing to do with their time–except, of course, to send a prodigious number of texts, emails, voicemails and requests to be called.  Sometimes I think the electronic age has done more damage than we will ever know.

If you see  yourself in this short little article, take a step back. Give your child room to breathe.  You’re a well-meaning, dedicated parent, and we would be a better world if there were more like you.  Just don’t take it too far.

Don’t clip the rotor blades on your child’s helicopter.  He needs to learn to fly alone.