When our daughter was tiny she would toddle up to us, tug on our clothes and ask, “Whatcha doin’ up there?” We thought she was adorable. We wrote about it in her baby book and regaled our friends and family with the story.
One of the most fun parts of being a parent is all of the funny, endearing things our children say and do. It brings a bright spot to our days and makes our hearts all warm and fuzzy.
Unfortunately, some parents are setting themselves up for some tough times when their children are in elementary school, teens and beyond. Why? Because these parents find words and behaviors hysterical that are actually warning signs your child is not quite as adorable as you think.
No child is perfect and sometimes their mistakes are so adorable it is hard not to laugh. If you find yourself regularly laughing at your child for doing the following things, please stop and take another look at how you are parenting your child.
- You are regularly laughing at your child for wrecking or destroying things or making huge unapproved disasters. This is a child who is begging for limits and positive attention. He has learned the best way to get your attention is to make a disaster and then say something funny or give you an “adorable” look. In the teen years, this can be a child who is totally out of control. His problem behaviors are in part because he hasn’t been taught self-control and in part because he will be even more desperate for your attention.
- You are laughing at your child for saying disrespectful things, sassing or using inappropriate or potty talk. Your child will not get very far in life if she is consistently allowed to be disrespectful. This one is especially tricky. Things that might be appropriate for an adult to say, often sound disrespectful coming out of the mouth of a child. Families with a very sarcastic and/or dry sense of humor need to warn their children to be very careful when speaking sarcastically. Proverbs and James spend a lot of time counseling us to watch what comes out of our mouths. Consistently laughing at your child for speaking inappropriately is creating an environment where your child will feel free to speak to you in increasingly hateful ways when she is upset.
- You find yourself consistently laughing at your child for disobeying you and then saying something funny. Your child is smart. She has learned she can deflect your anger and avoid consequences by saying something cute after disobeying you. Unfortunately, she is also learning it is okay to rebel against your wishes and do whatever she wants to do. Sadly, it also teaches her she can rebel against God and His commands. After all, if her parents didn’t really care when she rebelled against them, why should God?
- You are laughing at your child for hurting an animal or another person. Want to hear something really scary? Some of the cruelest murderers and criminals started out when they were children by abusing or killing animals. If you find your child engaging in abnormal aggressive behavior, please find outside help from a Christian psychiatrist or psychologist. You will need professional help moving your child to a healthier way of dealing with his feelings.
Enjoy your children. They are one of the most special blessings God gives us. Just be careful you are encouraging truly adorable, creative, funny children and not bad behavior that will come back to haunt you and your child in the future.