This is the fourth in the series of parenting pitfalls from Dr. Tim Elmore's list. I encourage you to go to his site and read more. I'm really just putting this in front of you as matter of convenience, and because I believe he is right on with his assessments.
The first three pitfalls were raving too much, allowing too little risk, and rescuing too quickly. This week I chose to write about letting guilt get in the way of doing the right thing. When it comes to the myriad of decisions parents must make, some are indeed confusing. But if we really think about most decisions, it's not that we don't know what to do, we just don't want to do it. We let our feelings get in the way of our reasoning.
Elmore says, "Your child does not have to love you every minute. Your kids will get over the disappointment, but they won't get over the effects of being spoiled." Take the time to think through the requests your children make. Is this something that will benefit them in the long run? If not, say no. Our children learn early in life to ask with "puppy dog eyes" or to insist. When we give in, we are teaching them to be manipulative whether we intend to do so or not. Remember, it does not matter what you intended; be smart about the reality of the consequence.
Teaching children they must accept "no" for an answer or wait for something they want is good for them. Giving in actually robs them of the opportunity to learn. So why do we do it? Simply put, we would rather have the short term smile of our children when they are nine years old than the long term appreciation when they are 30. If we considered each decision in terms of how it will affect our child when he is 30, we'd make far different decisions.
Believe it or not, my purpose here is not to make all parents feel guilty. After all, we all make mistakes. What I really want is for each of you to simply give each decision the thought is needs. Blessings on your high calling as a parent.
In His Service,
Tim Miesner, Principal