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Really, Really Crappy Parenting Advice
There is a lot of garbage out there masquerading as parenting advice that sounds really profound but if you actually do it you will end up with Dennis the Menace. Here's one:

"Kids naturally WANT to behave. Nurturing their goodness and guiding their behavior is the best way to help empower kids to make the right choices on their own."

I got it from here. It's a parenting site delivering all kinds of "wisdom" on positive parenting techniques. But most of it looks pretty stupid to me.

Interestingly, just after that I went on a blog of a mom who gets it. She says we need to "overthrow the kindergarchy", because kids are taking control.

When did the children take over? Did they sneak into my purse while I was watching "All My Children" and lift the car keys? Did I unknowingly sign over my power of attorney thinking I was ordering a school t-shirt?

I don't think I'm the only one who's troubled by the mounting evidence that there's been a power shift in our society from the grown-ups to the children. In fact, enough people have registered this shift that it now has its own pop-culture handle, as defined by WordSpy:

Kindergarchy n. Rule or domination by children; the belief that children's needs and preferences take precedence over those of their parents or other adults.

She goes on to list how Kindergarchy is taking on a role of its own, growing in our vocabulary because people are starting to notice that kids are taking their parents hostage.

These two things are related.

Kids take us hostage because too many parents and "experts" believe that top quote: kids naturally want to be good. So instead of disciplining them, we negotiate, cajole, and let things go. We don't set limits, because we no longer believe in our own authority.

And then we wonder where these monsters came from.

The truth is that children need those limits. If kids don't have them, they're going to feel very insecure in life. They'll push and push and push because they're trying to come up against a limit. It's like they're a ping pong game, and they'll keep bouncing until they hit a wall. But if there are no walls, they'll just run and run.

Walls are what define our children's lives for them. When they know where those boundaries are, the world is easier to figure out. It's easier to navigate. And when it's easier, then they're free to explore, to learn, to be creative, to love. If they don't know where those walls are, then they spend their lives trying to find them rather than trying to grow.

And that's why they become monsters. They don't have the emotional stability to let them mature and learn to treat others properly.

Boundaries are a natural part of life. The very first thing God did when He made people was He gave them boundaries. He created a garden for them to live in, and He made rules of what they were to do there. When they crossed that line, He expelled them from the garden, and created more boundaries about where they were to live and how they were to live.

Boundaries are important, and we're not stunting children's spirits or creativity if we give them boundaries. On the contrary, if those boundaries are loving, we're actually helping them be creative, because we're putting one of their big worries to rest. We define the world for them, so they don't have to worry about it.

Kids don't naturally want to obey. They naturally want to test the limits, just like Adam and Eve did. We need to show them that the limit is the limit. It's only then that they learn what the world is about, and that they develop the maturity to live well in it.

So don't be afraid to say no to your child. Don't be afraid to set up a schedule. Don't believe the child-centred parenting experts. Kids have no maturity. They have no wisdom. Why would we let them run their lives? We do know what's best for them, so let's enforce that rule, rather than letting children decide. They're kids, after all. That's the whole point. I wonder when experts starting forgetting that?

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At 11:09 AM , Blogger Tracey said…

Agree....children have a sinful nature just like adults...and we are there to show them a better way.


At 12:08 PM , Blogger Kris said…

Hmmm...sounds like the foundation for all the UN Rights of the Child crap to me. I love that the entire United Nations is trying to tell us to quit parenting our children and let them do whatever it is that they want to do.

Personally, I think God gave Solomon a pretty good little nugget of wisdom when He told him that "folly is bound up on the heart of a child" and that the "heart is deceitful above all things."

I'm not even going to get started because I need to fix lunch, so I'll just end with my concise opinion of all this garbage: humanism at its worst.

Thank you for trying to throw some common sense and Biblical wisdom into the mix.


At 12:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

whoever says that children don't have a sin nature, and really just want to be good has never watched a toddler or a preschooler in action when they are told not to do something. That is the first thing that they do.

When my son was 2 I told him he was not allowed to go past the carpet into the laundry/utility room while I was in there doing laundry, so what does he do, he stood at the doorway with one foot on the carpet and one foot on the tile floor, if that doesn't scream testing the boundaries I don't know what does.


At 2:28 PM , Blogger Andrew & Terri said…

Amen and Amen.



At 3:47 PM , Anonymous Antique Mommy said…

Yes ma'am, you speak the truth. What you are proposing is hard work and it has to be done every stinkin' day. Over. And. Over.


At 10:56 PM , Blogger Amy said…

This is something I'm fighting against every day as well. I was immature when I had my oldest and let him - and others who doted on him - set the limits (what limits!?). When my second was born 5 years ago I tried to set more boundaries, be more consistent, etc. I can see a difference between the two, but the 5 year old imitates his brother's bad behaviors at times. The big difference is that my 5 year old is easier to rein in than my oldest.

I also have a baby. I have already started setting boundaries with her, and she is only 7 months old.

Trying to set the oldest right? Yeah... BIG struggle here!


At 10:32 AM , Blogger Kimberly said…

So many parents want "to be best friends" with their child, and miss the whole point of being the parent.

It is not always fun, and it is never easy, but it is necessary for a childs development to have people that say no to them....


At 1:11 PM , Blogger Cheri Gregory said…

I believe technology is a major factor these days. This is the first generation of kids that is SO far ahead of their parents -- and especially their grandparents -- when it comes to media and technology.

It used to be that adults -- parents, aunts/uncles, grandparents -- taught children the next skills in life. They helped them learn to walk. Ride a bike. Learn to cook. Learn to drive. Open a checking account.

Now, it's the kids who are teaching their parents how to use cell phones, who get the DVD hooked up correctly, who defragment the hard drive when it crashes. And because technology is society's current "god," whoever communicates best with the "god" has the power. So we're seeing a major flip-flop, with kids holding power over their parents.


At 1:23 PM , Anonymous Kristi_runwatch said…

This topic is such a heavy weight on my heart. Parents are a child's first model of loving authority, the first exposure a child gets to what it means to fear the Lord. If parents refuse to discipline their children and, as another commenter said, remember that folly is bound up in the hearts of their children and must be driven from them, we are choosing to allow our children to self-destruct!

I've been working through a "series" on parenting principles from the book of Proverbs because of this concern.


At 7:37 AM , Anonymous Kathryn Lang said…

I have three boys and if there were no limits then I would NEVER have control. The punishment always fits the crime (I try hard not to take out my personal frustrations on them) and grace does sometimes play a factor (when they get less punishment than is required).

Consistency is the key - and keep in mind that disciplining YOUR children will NOT make the neighbors repeat the process ;).

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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