Not able to fix your kids’ problems.
The meme said,
The hardest part about being a parent is watching your child go thru something really tough and not being able to fix it for them.
I don’t know who wrote it, and that’s not the point. Many folks have “liked” this meme, and I get it. It really is hard not to be able to fix a problem for our kids.
The problem is, it’s not our job or responsibility to fix our kids’ problems. Certainly it’s our responsibility to nurture and protect our kids from harm, accident, and known contagious diseases. It’s our responsibility to make sure our kids are well-fed, clothed, and physically safe. As believers, we are responsible to teach our kids right from wrong and to listen to the Spirit when conviction comes. Yet fixing a problem of our child’s own doing is not our responsibility.
Grow them up
If we want to grow kids into truly healthy adults, we must recognize this fact. We must stop smothering and helicopter parenting. We think we love our kids too much to allow them to get hurt. The problem is that they will never learn to grow up if we keep protecting and fixing things.
Our natural inclination is to help them out of their problems. We go to bat for them against a teacher, try to convince an officer a traffic ticket isn’t warranted, or connive to get them a job. Stop it! The problems of your child’s own making are his problems and not yours.
How to grow up adults
When your child breaks something, let him deal with the consequences. If your child tells lies, don’t ignore the lies or excuse them. Help him admit it and make it right. If the deadline for a school project comes and goes, don’t try to fix the poor grade for him. Let him learn so he won’t commit crimes when he’s older. When you struggle with what to do, ask yourself some questions.
- Is this situation a result of my child’s own free-will choices?
- Did I try to help my child understand the consequence of his poor choices before he made those choices?
- What does “going to bat” for him say to my kid? (That the teacher is wrong? He doesn’t have to abide by the rules? Mom or dad are here to fix life’s problems for him?)
- What will not fixing the problem for him teach him about the real world?
- Am I using this to train my child up so he won’t leave the principles I’ve taught him behind when he’s an adult?
Think: the end result of fixing your kids’ problems
One of the hardest things in parenting is making ourselves look down the road at the person we want our child to be when he hits 18 or 21 or 30. If it’s hard to say no when he’s two or eight or twelve, what makes us think it will be easy when he is sixteen?
One other hard part of parenting is that we compare ourselves with other parents. Our kids use that, too! “But everybody else’s kids get to do that!” Or “No other parents make their kids do this!” It’s a trap, folks. Recognize it as such.
The years pass us by, and suddenly we’re dealing with a defiant teenager who never learned to take “No” for an answer. That’s not his fault; it’s ours. Next thing we know, we’re taking responsibility to provide food or housing for an adult child because we never helped them learn to live responsibly. We fixed their problems for them instead of helping them learn to fix their own.
How about it, parents? It’s not too late. Don’t be guilty of fixing your kids’ problems. You can start today. Develop your plan of action. Plan your approach and your words, and follow through. They will be happier, and so will you.