I once witnessed a group of adults telling some teens news they thought was great. From an adult perspective, it was wonderfully exciting news. As the news was shared, I watched as the teens clapped. They probably assumed it was expected, as the adults were cheering. The looks in most of their eyes told a much different story. The news made them uneasy and they doubted that it would indeed be positive for them personally. Yet, the adults around them missed the signals and continued chattering about how exciting it was.
There was an interesting article in the New York Post this weekend. The thrust of the article was that parents aren’t doing anything positive by occasionally having lunch with their kids at school. Read closely though, and you will notice the main “source” is someone who seems to resent her child constantly bugging her to come have lunch at school with him or her.
The modern parenting narrative has become one in which the parent’s wants and needs always come before the wants and needs of the child. We pretend there are parents who are overly involved in the lives of their children, but the sad truth is the vast majority of kids don’t get any of the things they really need from their parents. Instead parents provide lots of “stuff” and swoop in to “save the day” if Johnny or Susie becomes unhappy for some reason.
Nothing bothers me more as a parent than to hear an adult encourage kids to “be sassy”. As if this is a trait to be admired! Many adults find disrespectful talk hysterically funny – especially from the mouths of young children. Of course, laughter just encourages the “sassy” child to continue speaking disrespectfully in hopes of getting more “positive” attention.
Unfortunately, “sassy” speech can quickly become a bad habit. Your sweet child will sound increasingly mean and disrespectful as he or she grows older. By then, it will be much more difficult to correct the speech patterns and attitudes that have developed. Even sarcasm, often considered the humor of the intelligent, is thinly veiled contempt – another form of “sassy” speech. We know God wants our children to speak in ways that are loving, kind and respectful. How can we train them to speak the way God wants them to speak to others?
It’s definitely easier to train or disciple your child in any godly behavior when you can count on other adults to reinforce what you are teaching them. Even if you don’t have that support system though, there are things you can do at home to move your child towards more godly speech.
Here are my six favorite tips:
Want a formula for childhood misbehavior? Let’s plan a month when they don’t get nearly enough sleep, feed them tons of sugar, drag them all over the place, make them sit for hours in the homes of relatives they barely know…and leave their presents at home they have been asking for since…forever.
As parents, the last thing we want is our kids misbehaving or throwing a tantrum in front of extended family or in laws. The rest of our holiday will probably be spent listening to criticism and “helpful” advice.
There are actually some things you can do to lessen the chances your kids will go into full meltdown mode at your Aunt Bess’ house.
One of the best things about the holidays is that your kids get time off from school and many of their activities. Bed times can be a bit later, because they can sleep in a little longer. You have more time at home together.
What does your family do with that extended family time? If you use even some of that time more intentionally, you can have fun with your kids while teaching them some important things God wants them to know.