In Are You Accidentally Raising a Victim, I shared the negative effects a victim mindset can have on your children and the best way to stop it from developing. Unfortunately, your kids may have already started developing a victim mindset – even if they have never experienced a particularly traumatic event. Our society loves convincing all of us we are victims. It’s a great way for others to gain power and money, by promising to “fix” our victim status.
So what are the signs your kids may already think of themselves as victims? Here are some of the most obvious ones.
As your children enter their teen years, you may begin to feel a sense of urgency in your parenting. You only have a few years remaining when you will see your child daily and have hours a day to help build their spiritual foundation. By your child’s senior year of high school, even the most proactive Christian parent can feel a sense of panic. What have you forgotten to teach? What more do you need to say?
There is a way though to create a special gift that will be a subtle (or not so subtle) reminder for your child of the spiritual truths that were so important to you – the ones you pray are also a part of who they are and who they will become. The great thing is you can put your own special touches on it that will also reflect your love for your child and the value you place on your relationship.
If you are a woman who attends church on a regular basis, you have probably heard discussions about the roles women can and can’t play in God’s Kingdom. Those of us raised in the feminist era have been trained to begin feeling angry whenever we are denied something a man is given – period. We have been told life must be fair – which to the world means equal.
One of the most difficult things for people to truly accept in the core of their beings is that God sees life very differently than humans do, and because He is the all-knowing, all-wise God, He gets to make the rules. These rules are in our best interest because they were created by the one who created us and loves us more than we can understand.
Yet, often mankind has made rules where God never intended them to be. In fact, that was one of God’s problems with the Pharisees. They had created so many extra rules, the people could barely breathe without breaking one of them. Or, we want to discard the rules we don’t like as being outdated or only “for those people in that time” – not for us.
One of my favorite things to do is watch parents literally drag young children through museums. If you are new to this experience, let me enlighten you. Young children generally do not find walking through one of the largest buildings they have ever seen with room after large room of paintings, sculptures and random objects fun. Sure, a few will catch their attention. Trust me though if you are on day three of a touring vacation or your child is tired and hungry, it can be painful.
If you persevere through the whining and complaints… If you make enough bargains of “let’s just treasure hunt to see if we can find this painting” or “just look at this one gallery”, you most likely will raise a child who appreciates museums. You may even find your children ask you at some point to take them to a particular exhibit or museum.
It seems like every day another young person commits suicide. There are many different reasons some children choose such a drastic route to end their pain. One reason that is often cited is an intense feeling of loneliness, sometimes caused by the rejection of peers and others. Young people can be surrounded by peers, live in an urban area with millions of people and still feel as if they are all alone.
Assuming the young person does not have an underlying mental health issue though, there are some things parents can do to help their children prepare for loneliness, being alone and solitude. You can’t solve all of their social issues – especially as they reach the teen years, but you can give them extra layers of protection from severe loneliness.
The best time to help your children be ready to prevent or handle loneliness is before they become lonely. Studies have shown that not only is the need to feel like they belong a basic need, but also when they are lonely, it only increases their sense of needing to feel like they belong somewhere. (Making them more susceptible to the temptations of peers to do ungodly things in order to belong.)
So what can you do as a parent to help your kids be prepared to handle the loneliness we all feel on occasion? Here are some of my favorites (Please note: These may not work for young people who have underlying mental health issues. Please have your child checked by a doctor for loneliness that seems to last more than a few days.):