There are few fields I am an expert in. One thing I do have experience in, possibly not an expert in, is raising kids. The Lord blessed me with 5 kids. Three are my step kids. At this point in my life & theirs, we don’t even really like to acknowledge they are not my own. Reason being is that I see no difference in them & my own two. Strange how years of being right there for everything makes me feel like we are more blood than not. My last baby did tie all the kids together with having a sister. I pity the person that refers to her as their half sister. They will tell you, real quick she is their real sister. Nothing half about none of that. People rave at the resemblance of me & my two step daughters. We just laugh quietly to ourselves, hardly ever admitting we were bound by anything else other than genetics. My husband & I have been married for 15 years this year. So, we have all put our time in, together, to make this blended family what it is today. The youngest, which will be 20 her birthday, had just turned 5 when I became her step mama. She doesn’t remember when me & her daddy were not together. Along with my son, for years, we had 4 kids like stair steps. It does not seem like that long ago, that they were in kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, & 3rd grade. Now, I have grandbabies. Time stops for no one. Have times always been candy canes & fluffy clouds? No. Have I learned something about kids during this time? You bet your bottom dollar. That is why I feel so strongly about young people & the direction some of them are taking today.
I watched parts of an episode on Dr. Phil last week. It was a teenage girl, that is from a nearby town. Evidently, she was reeking havoc on her mom. She smoked dope, drank, was actively having sex with a boy over 18, kicked her mama’s windshield out of her car, shoplifted, & various other things, that I may have not caught. Dr. Phil was trying to counsel her. He asked her why she shoplifted. She said it was the people she was with & that if her mama had of given her money, she would not have had to. Come to find out her mama had given her $800 for clothes & she spent it all. Now, let’s stop right there. My 19 year old, knows this girl.
She said, “Who gives their kid $800 to spend on clothes?”
She was amazed & perplexed at this. She said this because, brace yourself , we did not give our kids wardrobe money. It’s not that we hated our kids, or that we did not want them to be able to go out & buy whatever their hearts desired. I felt it my duty, as a mother, to be a part of the clothes buying process. Have you seen some of the stuff these girls wear these days, in the name of trends & fashion? Between me & their grandmother, we made it our job to keep them in modest clothing. Today, as young ladies, my two oldest daughters dress appropriately. Why? Perhaps because as teenagers, they had to pass by their Daddy’s recliner, as they made their way out the door. He would stop them in an instant & send them back to their room to cover up whatever it was that needed it. Now, did they stay covered up after they left the house? I don’t know because I wasn’t always with them. However, they knew what the right thing was.
I will give you my best shot at telling you what I believe is going on with some of these young kids, these days. Why the rebellion & the acting out some kids do in the name of trying to get attention? First off, many parents do not want to parent. They want to be their kid’s friend. Why you may ask? Because parenting done right, is hard. It’s exhausting & tiring & a headache. Sometimes you feel like you are fighting a battle. Who wants to fight a battle, if you don’t have to? You have to have a lot of self confidence & conviction in you to stand up to a 16 year old boy, who is already a head taller than you. And to tell him, in no uncertain terms he is NOT taking your car out, because he made the bad choice to not study & make a less than stellar grades on his report card. No matter how much he wants to huff & puff, he ain’t blowin’ my house down. (Whew! I think this just got personal.) All that strong will, I have always had, would be mush if I did not use it for the good of my kids. Many parents today are afraid of making their teenage kids mad. You know what? I was never inclined to “pacify” my kids. They knew how I felt & what I believed to be right, good, bad or indifferent. Sometimes, you could cut the tension with a knife. But I was never miserable in my own house.
Thus the passive parenting begins. The path of least resistance. A parent has to have their stuff together, to pass that along to a child. So many parents are off chasing a rabbit. They, themselves are not growing up. They are still partaking in things of the world that is not good. Parents of children are on drugs, taking alcohol to the extreme, involved in unhealthy relationships & barely able to take care of their own basic needs. A person has to be serious about this parenting thing or you are setting yourself up for disaster with your kids. Kids are very monkey see, monkey do. It they don’t see the mama & daddy monkey with it together, chances are, they are going to follow suit. If the mama & daddy aren’t going to church & don’t care about the Lord, don’t be surprised that the kids aren’t going to be that interested either. And who’s to blame there? Not the kids.
Now, saying all of that, can you do your very best to do everything within your power for the good of you kids & your kids still turn from the way? Well yeah. Kids are free moral agents. They have a mind of their own. You & your household is not their only influence. Does that release you of your responsibility of doing your part to raise a child to not be a menace to society? I think not. It’s our whole duty to give it our best shot. You can’t make me believe that even the ones that go astray don’t have the solid seed of the Lord planted deep down in their soul. We have to pray that they will come back. We must stay on the straight & narrow path ourselves. Some good advice my aunt gave me-
“Your kids ain’t ever gonna do exactly like you think they should.”
(so quit with the wringing of the hands & worrying.)
& another wise woman said,
“You can’t let your kids run your house.”
Oh how true. I am not going to live in a house where everything revolves around the kids. I love my kids more than life itself. Too much to let them go out in the world with the false sense of believing they are so special they are not responsible for their actions. Letting them live in a kingdom, in which they rule, is a recipe for disaster. Especially the reality check they will get when they step out on their own in the world & realize they are not the center of the universe.
My Daddy told me one time when I went to him for advice about kids,
“Do you think you are better than God? Look at Adam & Eve. Even God had problems with His kids.”
So, don’t beat yourself up too bad, when kids get on the wrong path. Pray & let God handle it.
Here is what Solomon said about raising kids- (remember when God was handing out wisdom, He gave Solomon an extra helping of wisdom – just because he asked for it.)
Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (NKJV)
Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him. (NKJV)
Proverbs 23:13 – Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
Proverbs 29:15 – The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Just to clarify- these last verses have things about beating with a rod. I don’t believe in child abuse. I don’t think that’s what King Solomon was saying. I do believe in getting a child’s attention when they do wrong. Whether it takes a belt or time out. Each child is different. One of my sons would not straighten up until my husband got his belt out. My youngest daughter, I believe we could have beat her to death & she would have still been doing what we told her not to. She got lots of time outs. That’s what worked on her. The main thing is correction & consistency.
Granted my kids are not perfect. I was not a perfect parent. I did faithfully take them to church & involve them in lots of church activities. They are all Christians, they work, & provide for themselves & their families. They are God-fearing. I just don’t know if I could ask for anything more. I am proud of each & every one of them. And we still have Miss Neenee at home with us. There is still time for improvement!
I am so glad you stopped by to visit with me today. Sorry if I got on a bit of a tangent. I do hope you took something positive away from all this. Don’t take raising kids lightly! When they are grown, you will be glad you put the time in! I hope you have a great rest of the week. This weekend I will be doing a 5k at Woodall Mountain. Pray for me that I don’t pass out. 🙂 Until then, I have to be going because I should be washing clothes.