Mindlessly surfing the web, I stumbled upon an article that had me riveted from moment one. Surprisingly, this post described various ways parents scar their kids for life. Curious and always a bit unsure if I am on the right parenting path, I was floored to learn the #1 way parents are ruining their children.
It wasn’t the terrible reasons you would expect, such as neglect or abuse. According to this article, Hubs and I are one step away from ruining our children because of something we do regularly.
We tell our children ‘no’.
Saying ‘no’ has become a taboo phrase in the parenting world. Modern day parents are expected to let children explore the world, culture and social issue without boundaries or face ridicule by the masses.
Modern day children are often entitled and self-centered, believing the world revolves around them. Many of the poor attitudes can be attributed to lack of correction in the home and few consequences for their actions.
Yet we as parents have the power to guide our children on a different path and to set boundaries to safeguard their developing hearts and minds. There may not be a magic formula for raising kids who are generous, appreciative and godly, but saying ‘no’ is a great place to start building character.
Here’s how a firm ‘no’ is a blessing to children and a gift that any parent can give.
Kids learn self-control and how to wait
We live in a fast paced society, and kids are taught at an early age to indulge their every whim. With high-speed Internet and dinner that’s as fast as the drive-thru line, waiting has become a lost art.
Yet when the boundary of ‘no’ is established, kids learn they have the ability to control their wants and desires. Children also develop the understanding that life does not revolve around them, but that we’re all required to wait our turn and practice self-control each day, even when it’s hard.
Memorizing Scripture that encourages self-control is a great teaching tool and helps kids understand God’s commands about this principle. It may not be fun or popular to wait and deny ourselves, but it’s a valuable life lesson that children need to practice on a daily basis.
“It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” Titus 2:12
Kids learn respect
When I was a child, we were taught to respect ALL authority over us and this principle was ingrained from the time I was small. While I despised hearing ‘no’ to a wish and a demand, I grew to respect the authority figure’s request and over time, to take ‘no’ in stride.
As a mother myself, I consider it my duty to teach my children to respect authority figures and to obey the first time a direction is given. May that firm foundation of respect help children understand that ‘no’ is not the end of the world and life goes on even when a desire is unmet. This character training will set children up for success as an adult and in the work place, too.
“Stand up in the presences of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32
Parents can filter a child’s exposure
It’s a dangerous and demented world out there. I want to have control what my children are exposed to, including movies, friendships and experiences. When something is inappropriate for my children, ‘no’ has to be the answer. It’s not a popular parenting practice, but it’s our jobs as parents to train up our children, not let the world do it for us. We have the duty to protect and filter what our children are exposed to, and saying’no’ helps protects a child’s vulnerable heart and mind.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
I encourage you to examine your family and the boundaries you have in place. ‘No’ may not be easy, and you’re right to expect that it may bring resistance. I’ve learned that the future of my children is far more important than a few temporary tears. Parents, you can stand strong and say ‘no’ to your kids!
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Do you say ‘no’ to your children?
How do you set boundaries with your own children?
This post was shared with my friends at Grace & Truth.