In response to yesterday's post, I received an e-mail asking several questions that all boiled down to one specific thought......"I'm afraid of my child."
Parenting books are wonderful. Thank God we have writers that are willing to put their own lives on the line in order to teach parenting. Thank God we have "talented" people (notice I didn't say a person with a degree. You can have a degree and still not be good at parenting) who parent from within and know exactly how to help us connect with our own children.
The down side to all of that information however, is confusion. Am I parenting properly? Will I hurt my child? What if I make a mistake, can it be corrected? Maybe I shouldn't have become a parent. If I mess up my own life, whose to say I won't mess up their life as well.
Let me make this as simple as possible.....
1. Don't be afraid of guilt. Guilt can lead you to ask questions that will help you become a better parent. Guilt is like fear - it must be overcome in order for us to accomplish the impossible. Think for a moment what it was like when that first person stepped into a wicker basket and said, "Let's see how high I will go if I cut the rope." How about the first time someone said, "Let's get in this steel contraption and see if we can sink to the bottom of the ocean." How about when the first person said, "Take me up in this airplane so I can jump out with this thin little bed sheet."
Pushing ourselves beyond fear is a wonderful tool most of the time. The trick is being able to see the line that separates a plausible idea from a deadly one. Guilt is the same thing. Guilt can ask wonderful questions that will give you superb ideas. The trick is being able to see the line between proper questions and questions that will lead you to a life of depression.
You will make mistakes. Accept it. But also question the mistakes you've made and make sure you don't do them again. Question the situation so you can eliminate other mistakes as well.
2. Have you ever owned a dog? (I don't know about cats.) I have owned six dogs. When you love them as puppies, they never forget it. They are very loyal. If you are good to them and take good care of them - they are calm, loving beings. I would never be afraid of my own dog. I know that my own dog would not hurt me.
Children are similar in that you don't need to be afraid of your own child. Yes, they can turn on you - but probably because you have taught them to mistrust you. If you have taught a child that you can be trusted and that you have made it a life goal to help them and not to hurt them - they will be just as loyal as a dog.
Problems come along because children have been taught to mistrust parents. Parents say, "I love you" and then treat their child more like a servant than a child. Parents are more interested in quiet than in spending time with their child. Terrible parents insist that a child's problems are insignificant or nothing compared to their own and refuse to help them through their pain. Parents lie and cheat by saying they can't attend the child's play or they can't afford a school trip and then take time for golf or buy a new car. In refusing to be honest, it's possible for parents to build a wall of mistrust that can't be scaled.
If you did that to a dog - any dog - they would bite you. And I can prove it. Take two puppies from the same litter and abuse one and love the other. The difference in their personalities and affection for you will be unbelievable.
Why then, when humans have so much more intelligence wouldn't the same thing happen? Being able to rationalize and understand should make us more in tune to love, not less. Ahhh....there's the real problem. Small children can see through anyone. They can spot a phony at 50 paces. Children are real with their feelings and they expect you to be real as well. Don't tell them they mean everything to you and then let them down the first time they have needs. Don't give them some phony baloney about how both of you need to work and then go out and buy a $400,000 home.
How can you be sure you are parenting properly? Look at your child when he is in a room full of other people. Is he confident, kind, able to play well with others? When he's with you does he show love and affection? When he does wrong is he comfortable talking with you about it, quick to want to make restitution and wants to try not to do it again?
Or does your child withdraw from others, seem uncomfortable - uneasy. Does he seem to lack confidence? Maybe he's the opposite and just bullies everyone. Can your child show love, affection and mercy to those around him?
What I'm driving at is that "test" day for parenting is when we send our children out to mix with others his own age. If he fails, make sure you are doing your part right - call them in and do some retraining and then send them out again.
If your child deals positively with others - you are doing a great job! If he doesn't, perhaps you need to change not only his habits but your own as well. Don't be afraid of your child....just train him properly.
And if your child deals negatively with others and you are not willing to restructure what you are doing - be very afraid.....cause that dog is gonna bite you someday!
God loves you,