In this blog I want to warn you about the consequences of another mistake that is so easy for us parents to make. We don't want to see our children hurt in any way. We want to protect them from anything and everything. As result, we tend to remove the natural consequences of their mistakes. In this process, we think we're loving them, but instead were hurting them in the long run.
Usually this consequence removal takes one of two forms. We either make excuses for their behavior and thereby remove its negative outcomes, or we actually step in and pay the consequences for them. When we do this, we remove the immediate problem but create longer-term issues. Because it appears we have solved the situation with this "strategy", both we and our children become addicted to this pattern. We do it because it's the easy way out.
There are rather obvious exceptions to this. The natural consequence of running out into the street without looking could be getting struck by a car. As parents we can't allow that to happen. But in anything other than life and death situations we can allow the real life situations to play out for our children. For example, when my own children received poor grades in school, I told them I would rather have them fail a grade and learn the lessons of natural consequence than to "save" them out by doing the work for them. I would rather have my child repeat a grade than for me to step in and pretend they were ready for the new grade by doing work for them.
We need to start that pattern early. Otherwise, what are we going to do when they get a traffic ticket? Are we going to pay the fine for them? Are we going to take the driver's training online six hour course for them? And what happens when they decide to drop out of school? This happened to one of our children who quickly learned how hard it is to make a living at minimum wage jobs. His grades were remarkably higher when he returned to school the next semester.
As harsh as it sounds, it's more loving to tell a child "I know you can solve this problem" than it is to step in and demonstrate by your actions that you believe he or she cannot.
I'm not pretending this is easy. Believe me, when our youngest was working at minimum-wage jobs having dropped out of school, it was painful, for him and for us. Still, it was one of the most valuable lessons he's ever learned. So take some time and think about the situations in which your child finds himself or herself. How can he or she learn from those situations and solve them?
Make this a matter or prayer. Ask God for the strength and trust His provision for your child. 2 Corinthians 9:12 says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness". When we are weak, He is strong.
Blessings on your parenting,