Second guessing = stymied
A problem with disciplining our kids or other folks’ kids is that we second-guess ourselves. Am I being too hard? Am I being fair? Maybe I should give him one more chance. These are things that entered my mind when we were raising our kids. Let me tell you, it’s not wise to be second guessing our parenting.
There were so many books, so many talk shows, and so many articles to read about parenting. And there was not enough time. I read some books and listened to family programs. Other moms gave me ideas that helped. I got advice from grandmothers that made me look wise. Last, but not least, I prayed. This kept me from second guessing my parenting. Mostly, I prayed.
But there were days I totally winged it. The wings came from how I was raised and how I watched my uncles and aunts raise their hoodlums. The wings came from Dave, whose parents raised him and his siblings with wisdom and grace. They, too, were part of those parents who were “strict”.
You know, those parents who were too strict and too demanding. The ones who made their kids do chores before they left for an activity. Some of them had to get up earlier in the morning to milk the cows before an outing. Those parents made the kids bring in wood or wash dishes by hand before play. They had to help hang out laundry in the winter, then bring it in and let it defrost before it could be folded and put away. I am not making this up.
I got my raising from parents who didn’t own a television and didn’t read the latest on raising kids because they had seen and experienced enough from families with a passel of kids. They didn’t need any psychologist to tell them that hard work was good for teenage testosterone and menstrual moods. They knew that being family meant pulling together for the team and not just one individual, spoiled player.
Parenting torches passed on
We tend to parent the way we were parented. That can be good for kids who are parented well. For moms and dads who did not have good models, they will still tend to parent the way they were parented, unless someone comes alongside them and shows them a better way. There are a lot of parents out there who need someone to come alongside and show them a better way so they can stop second guessing their parenting.
In a required online class Dave and I took for foster care recertification, an instructor was exclaiming the virtues of today’s parenting. After all, we are now enlightened and know better how to allow children to express their emotions; we know to use Time Out* instead of whoopings, give a scolding instead of washing a kid’s tongue with soap for bad language, and encourage children to “find themselves” at a young age, especially choosing which sex they want to be.
Statistics speak for themselves and help you stop second guessing your parenting
In the same session, the instructor gave us statistics showing that there has been an increase in kids who are suicidal, in juvenile detention, and foster kids who end up in prison. The numbers have increased over the past years. Explain that to me! Something isn’t stacking up.
So, I asked this question: “IF we are so much more enlightened, and IF we are so much better able to parent, then WHY are prisons and detention centers fuller than back in the day when parents were not so enlightened? IF we have better answers now, then WHY do more children struggle with ADD, schizophrenia, Autism, OCD, drug addition, depression, suicidal thoughts, and why are the struggles more intense?!”
I can’t tell you what her answer was, because she did not have one. From the responses of other class members, I knew I hit a cord.
My point is this: if the numbers of troubled kids are elevated, then our parenting is worse instead of better. The problem isn’t the kids. It’s the parents and adults who are working with the kids.
My second point is this: keep learning and finding approaches that work with your individual kids. If what you’re doing and how you’re parenting works, then don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken. If your methods bring more chaos, friction, and emotionally frazzled kids, then stop and take a look at what you’re doing. Figure it out. Get help from folks who have been there. If necessary, get professional help that can steer you in the right direction and not force you to accept your child’s behavior as okay.
Wisdom keeps you from second-guessing your parenting
Ask for help and guidance from folks who have been there. Seek wisdom from folks whose proof is in the community-builders they’ve produced. Don’t seek council from folks who give diagnoses without actually interacting with you and your kids.
Any new-fangled way to raising kids has to have proof in the product if you’re going to give it a try. If you can’t find actual validation that it makes a difference, then don’t waste your time or your energy.
If the way you’re raising your kids is keeping them out of prison and out of trouble, then don’t nix it just because there are “newer and better” approaches. When what you’re doing means you have to involve law enforcement or social networks, then it’s time to step back and change your style of parenting – or give me one good reason why you shouldn’t.
I’m all for learning about personalities and empowering kids. I’m a strong proponent of helping kids find their potential and encouraging their giftings. What I can’t support is grasping at new-fangled ideas just because it’s from a person with a degree even though they have no trench experience.
There isn’t one of us who couldn’t have done things better, who has no lapse of experience and understanding, or who can’t improve and grow in our parenting. Choose to follow the advice of those whose track record speaks for itself. That’s the wisdom of good parenting, and it will keep you from second guessing your parenting.
*Oh, I’ve used my share of Time Outs and I verify they work. So do spankings [not a beat-the-tar-out-of-a-kid-spanking, but a good bit of knowledge applied to the seat of a kid’s understanding.] If you’d like to read about some alternatives to spankings, you can click here.
Photo attribution: Pixabay.com