Where Are the Respectful Children?

Why do we decide to have children?  Do we want them?  Is it a social stigma that we aren't complete unless we have children?  Why do we decide on 2, or 4, or 20 children?  Is it our right to decide?  When we have children, are we willing to accept the responsibility?  The responsibility to raise them, to teach and train and guide them, throughout their growing up years?  And, beyond?  Or, are we going to pass that responsibility off to everyone else to raise them for us?  Day-cares, preschools, schools, friends, grandparents.  We don't mind having babies, we say we love being pregnant, we love cuddly babies, "they are so cute," but then we get tired, and decide we did want that career, or we sure did like the peace and quite before kids, so it's much easier to hand them over to others to do our job.  Compare the hours you are actually with, engaging with your children, to the time they are with others or asleep, because they aren't really trouble when they are asleep, for the most part.

We have heard a lot in past years regarding the scripture in Genesis 1 verse 28; "Be fruitful and multiply."  What exactly does that mean?  Does this mean we are to have as many children as humanly possible?  I believe when God spoke those words to Adam and Eve that was His intention, because they had the job of filling this world He had made.  Also to Noah and his family, because they had the same job as Adam and Eve had, to fill the earth.  However, I also believe God knew Adam and Eve would fall from His grace, they would fail in being obedient to His words, to His commands, and God had not, as yet, given all His commands.  We, however, have God's entire Word to look at, His laws, commands, His truths to a prosperous and blessed world.   Unless we look at His entire Word, to ALL the principles He has given us, we will fail.  To have lots of children is a good thing, but until we apply that ONE principle to the many, many principles of how to raise those children, then we will have failed to fulfill His purpose for those children in this world, to raise them up for the glory of the Lord.

If children are rude and disrespectful, we must ask, "Why?"  Because the mother and the father have taught them to be that way.  Unintentionally, as it may be, but they taught it.  You may strongly disagree, but let's go further and see if you might change your mind.  If I have not taught my child to behave at home, in and around family, then they will misbehave elsewhere.  If I have not taught my child to mind me when I tell or ask them to do something, then I have taught them that it is OK to disregard my requests.  Do you see where I am going now?  If we have not taught them to do what is right, then we have taught them to do what is wrong.  If we are not encouraging good behavior, through discipline and punishment and consequences, then we are encouraging them to misbehave, to continue to "push the buttons," to continue to, "see if mom or dad really means what they say."  And they will, and it works.  Parents, if your child tells you "No," then you have not been the parent God intended you to be.  You are not, "training a child in the way he should go."  Yes, you are training him, training him to tell adults no, training him to not obey when asked to do something, training him to be disrespectful, to talk back, to be, what was once called, a smart-aleck.  Now, I know that term is not used anymore, but we have some very smart-alecky kids around.  At the same time, we have smart-alecky adults who have taught them to be that way.  

I have gone round and round and round this issue, and have not wanted to write more on parenting, (there are other posts here and here), but God just keeps on putting this on my heart, till I simply canNOT get away from it.  I have thought about the "new" ways of parenting circulating from everywhere, and I have seen the implementation of this, the "grace parenting," the "always be positive mode," the "use only Scripture to teach," and then I look around and see the children of our day being more disrespectful than any generation I have heard of and seen, more selfish, and rude, and lazy, I believe we can honestly say, "It is not working."  I do believe ALL of those work together to make the principles God laid out for us as parents, but none, alone, works.

When have you seen a child, who is asked to do something, automatically do it when asked?  The first time, all the time, and with a joyful heart?  Now, I know, all the time and with a joyful heart may come and go, but with instruction and teaching and training, and LOVE, it can happen, and someday, your teenagers will be a JOY to be around and not a burden as so many believe, and so many are, you see them everywhere you go. 

What does it take to have respectful children?  It first takes respectful adults.   We have 20, 30, 40, and even 50 year old kids these days.  This is very sad.  No wonder the children we see are selfish, immature, disrespectful, rude, and what once was called "bratty."  Take a look around and listen, listen closely, anywhere you are, to the adults.  See and hear how they interact with cashiers, waiters, waitresses, people standing in line in front of them, and especially when they talk to their children and adults who are with them.  We have a couple of the rudest generations around, and I believe it comes from not wanting to be a "mean" mommy or daddy.  We are paying  the price of a world of narcissistic and entitled people because we have not wanted to wield--are you ready for it?--Discipline.  Yes, we feel so bad when we must discipline our children.  We want our children to be happy, to do what they want, to just go and have fun, to not have to be responsible until they "have " to as adults.  The problem is, when they do not grow up being taught how to be responsible, respectful, nice, kind, quiet, polite, then they will NOT, all of a sudden, decide, "Oh, now it's time to be a grown up," and at once have all of those good characteristics.  They must be taught, from early, early on.  If a three year old talks back to his mother or father, then he will talk back when he's 15.  Guess what?  It isn't so cute then, is it? 

Why should children respect authority when the ones in authority are as childish as they are?   We shouldn't expect anything more until our adults act like adults and not big kids.  Kids are unruly, children are a joy.  Kids are loud and disrupt all around them, children are obedient.  Kids run all over the store, children walk calmly with their parents.  Kids tell their parents "No," children don't talk back.  Kids are bullies, children care for others.  Is it wrong to be loud, to laugh hysterically, to run around, and act crazy?  No, there is a time for all of that craziness, but not in public places, not if it will be disruptive, and not if mom and dad has taught them to be obedient.  Do children think of their older siblings as ones in authority?  They should.  If the older children have been taught correctly and are responsible, then younger children should listen to them as well.  If the younger children do not listen to the older siblings, then the older should take them to their parents to correct the situation.  The older children should never be forced to give in to younger siblings.  Parents are encouraging more misbehavior from the younger child and confusion and resentment from the older child.  It is not good.

So, who is at fault?  Parents.  If we are not correcting and encouraging good behavior, then we are encouraging bad behavior.  Sometimes when we are in the middle of something, it is hard to see what others on the outside see.  We, as parents, have difficulty seeing, with our own children, what others see.  Some did not grow up with correctable teaching and therefore, unless taught somewhere, they do not know how to teach their children.  A great example of this is "following through."  Parents are so guilty of NOT following through when laying down "threats."   If you are going to resort to a threat, for example, "If you do not remain seated in this shopping cart, we will have to leave the store," make sure you plan to follow through. It only takes ONE time of not following through for a child to learn that you are not serious, which is also teaching them that you lie, and in turn, teaches them to lie.  Once they know you will not follow through, they will test you, and test you, and will learn to continue to pout, or kick and scream, or stomp, or whatever fit they choose to inflict on you and themselves at the time.  This new, "walk away and let them pitch their fit" only puts the child in control over you as the parent, and God did not intend for that to be the hierarchy of parenting.  If He did, He would have created us differently.

The following are excerpts from Thriving Family.com; Simple Strategies for Effective Discipline, by Dr. Kevin Leman:

"Over the years, I have learned that kids act this way because they've gotten away with it in the past.

It all comes down to who is really in charge of your family. Is it you or your child? Today's parents often don't act like parents. They are so concerned about being their child's friend, about making sure their child is happy and successful, that they fail in their most important role: to be a parent. They snowplow their child's road in life, clearing the path so the child never has to be uncomfortable or go out of her way. Mom and Dad have become mere servants rather than parents who have the child's long-term best interest in mind.

Every child has a predictable strategy. He plays a daily trial-and-error game that's designed to get the best of you. He wins when he gets you to do anything he wants. That means if he tries something, and it works, he'll try it again. But he'll ramp up his efforts a little. Instead of simply crying when he doesn't get his treat, he'll add a little kicking, too. If slamming the door causes you to go trotting after your teenage daughter to hand over the car keys like she wanted, she'll be more dramatic the next time she wants them. Children are masters at manipulation.

B doesn't happen until A is completed. You never have to change this strategy. It works every time with every age. If you've asked your child to do something, and it's not done, you don't go on to the next event — no matter what the event is.
Let's say you've asked your 8-year-old son to mow the lawn, and it's clearly not mowed. Two hours later your son wants to go to the pet store to get the fish you promised him. If your son is 16, he'd probably want to head to his buddy's. But no matter what the activity is, simply say, "We're not going." Then turn your back and walk away.
If your child follows you, don't announce your strategy. It works better if the child has to figure out the situation for himself and asks you for an explanation. It comes down to this: Seeing the changes you want implemented is more about you than it is about your child.
Here's a caveat: When you start applying these techniques, attitudes and behaviors may get worse for a time. Don't panic; it means you're on the right track.
The most important thing is that you use consistent action. You don't embarrass the child on purpose; you correct the behavior. You keep the tennis ball of responsibility in his court, not yours. There is no harassing, no threatening, no warning. There are no put-downs, because if you have the right to put him down, then turnabout is fair play. No one wins in such a situation. Your relationship breaks down. But as you work together on attitude, behavior and character, you can build a relationship that's mutually satisfying."  End of Dr. Leman's quotes.

Moms, don't be like I was; I always knew everything...HA!  I wasn't willing to really listen to "older" moms, ones who had been there, who had already went through the exact same things all moms go through; experienced moms, weathered, tired, but who came through this greatest calling of all time - motherhood, and hear what they had to say.  I do believe I had the greatest parents who shielded us, as best they could, who did not cave in to everything we wanted, but gave us all and more than we needed, and I had them as my greatest example.  We were punished, but loved.  We did survive, we are not worse for the matter, but I believe better for it.  I do believe God laid on my heart, so very strongly, how I should teach and train my children.  Did I do everything right?  Oh, My!  NO!!!  Did I struggle?  YES!!!  I can say though we have very responsible, kind, respectable, hard-working, loving, wanted for work - everywhere, and we are so very, very proud of them.  God has blessed us so much for our hard work and determination in our teaching, training, disciplining and discipling of our 4 wonderful adults.  Trust God, and look to Scripture for His ways of loving and raising children.  Turn your eyes away from the world's ways, and on Jesus.  He will bless you.

Views and interpretations are my own, from what I ascertained God has shown me through my discernment, my observations, what I have gathered through Scripture,  books and authors, and from over 22 years of parenting.

My lovely daughters and I were just talking about this interesting post, when one said, "you beat them when they are little and when they grow up they will be angels," then the other said, "beat the devil out of them and you will get angels."  HA!!!  
Now, I am NOT advocating child abuse, at any level, and some may think a simple spanking as that.  It is NOT.  We are reaping the benefits, of now, the 3rd generation of dwindling punishments and the most disrespectful children of any kind, and it is anything other than benefits.  We reap what we sow.  Rather, seeing the consequences of allowing the child to be in control over the parent, God has, I do believe, as in Romans 1:24-32, "gave them over...gave them over...gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper...disobedient to parents...and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but give hearty approval to those who practice them." 

We can only hope that parents will be who God intended them to be, for mothers and fathers to guide their child's footsteps each step of the way, sometimes with force, but always with love.  God does not leave us alone, but chastens and punishes us when we need it, and only because of the love He has for us.  We show we love our children when we discipline, when we correct, teach and train, when we are the in-control parent, God desires nothing less than our obedience and we should desire nothing less from our children.

Proverbs is full of instruction, and many, many chapters begin with, "My son, give attention to my words...My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother...My son, keep my words."  Heed these words, and 13:24 says,
 "He who withholds his rod (i.e. correction or discipline) hates his son, 
But he who loves him disciplines him diligently."

I know you love your children, but God says if we do not discipline, we hate them.  Correct them, be consistent, be diligent, and show them love, God's love, with patience and the responsibility God has laid before you in the greatest job you will ever have.  Nothing will compare to the love and joy you will have to see your children walking with the Lord.

"Commit your works to the Lord
And your plans will be established."
Prov. 16:3

Always Experiencing Him,


Missy said...

Such good words you have shared. It's a constant in our home to remind the kids (meaning the younger 4 mostly) to show respect along with kindness. I also notice that when my attitude gets nasty it is very contagious. Thank you so much for sharing what the Lord gave you. It blessed me and also reminded me to not get lax in parenting my younger ones coming up. We had a week there where everyone had the grouchies. I think a lot of it was doing too much and everyone being tired but nevertheless it happened and we had to call a family meeting. Just a few days later we were at a public store shopping and kept be around this one family with four kids that were so loud and downright mean and rude to each other, including the parents It was a huge eye opener for some of mine that were with me that day. They thought it was AWFUL!!! It gave me a chance to reinforce that although mine were not using some of the name calling they were doing it still represented an UGLY attitude toward others. Hopefully those people had a family meeting too when they got home, ha-ha!!! again, wonderful post

Jody Dake said...

Thanks so much Missy for your kind and encouraging words; always look forward to your sweet comments. We all need encouragement from one another from day to day, thanks.

Always Experiencing Him,