Three Things Parents Can Do That Ensures Irresponsible Entitled Adult Children

I am still on my course of “entitlement” and what that is doing or has done to our country. Are you looking for Christian parenting help on how to raise responsible children? There is a marked rise of irresponsible adult children that need help from their parents well into adulthood. While there are many justifiable reasons for this such as a bad economy, the high cost of living, the increase in college tuition, there are also plenty of unjustified reasons such as laziness, addictions, irresponsible decisions, and a lack of maturity. Prevention is always the best policy. With that in mind, here are three things you can do with your young children that ensure irresponsible entitled behavior in adults:

Make excuses for their irresponsibility. 
Whether it is with homework, chores, carelessness, or immaturity, if you excuse what they have done and don’t allow them to face the natural consequences of their choices, you are teaching them that they don’t have to live with the outcome of their choices. Instead, you want them to face those consequences so that they will learn that there is a cause and effect in life-if you don’t pay attention and do what you need to do, you will face unpleasant consequences and things won’t go well with you. This is God’s law of reaping and sowing (Gal. 6-8).

Intervene in their battles. 
Of course there is a time for parents to protect their children from abuse and actual harm, but most of the time it is actually best to allow children to learn how to stand up to people who mistreat them and to make their own case against people that accuse them of things. Parents won’t always be around and children need to be taught that they have the ability to make choices that can protect themselves. This keeps them from developing a passive victim mentality that can be used as an excuse to not stand up for themselves and fight for what is right (Ps. 56:11).

Give them everything they want. 
This one should be pretty obvious. If you give children everything they want, they don’t learn the value of hard work, saving, and withholding gratification. They become child brats who become adult brats who don’t appreciate what they have and yet feel entitled to it. No one can succeed in life without learning how to set and work toward goals which require sacrifice, patience, and diligence. When children don’t learn how to manage money, they mismanage it as adults. When children don’t learn how to deny themselves pleasure, they become addicts and immature selfish adults who expect everything they want to be given to them without any effort on their own. The Apostle Paul reminded the church that if a man doesn’t work, he doesn’t get to eat (2 Thess. 3:10).

If you don’t want to raise irresponsible entitled adult children, let them face the consequences of their own choices, face their own battles, and work for what they get.  Just Saying…

Learning Obedience: The Great Debate

When is it OK for your child to “question” your authority? Does your child have a right to “negotiate” rules or commands set in the family household? When is it appropriate for them to make their own “adjustments” to the rules set forth by the parents?
I was going to write down my thoughts more completely and then this article came across my reader by Cheri Swalwell, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer. She summed up most what I was thinking and of course, better articulated it than I probably would have.
So take some time to read her article…what do you think??

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands…” – 2 John 1:6

Argue…debate…rationalize…manipulate.  I think we could agree that most families are made up of at least one child (if not more) than does this a little bit better than the rest.  When given a direction, instead of just saying, “Yes, mom,” and fulfilling the request, a long list of reasons why it should be done later, shouldn’t be done at all, or how it could be done better follows.  

One of the characteristic traits my husband and I stress in our household is that by obeying your parents, you are in reality learning how to obey God, our ultimate authority.  One of the reasons we stress that rule is so that I have the assurance in an emergency when my children need to stop or be quiet when I tell them to, they will obey first and ask questions later.  By obeying my authority right then, it could very well mean my children avert a disaster instead of getting hurt or even worse.  

Isn’t it like that sometimes in our relationship with God?  He gives us clear guidelines in the Bible for our own good.  The rules in the Bible aren’t there because He was bored one day and needed something to do.  No, the rules are there to help us live a purposeful, fulfilling, and at least as much as possible, peaceful life here on Earth.  He put them there for our own good.  It is our responsibility to obey first, ask questions later.

But how many of us actually do that?  How many of us, in reality, are willing to step out in faith and just obey God?  Yes, it’s easy to follow the Big rules:  Don’t murder, Don’t steal, Don’t commit adultery.  What about the little rules?  Are we really following those when we are jealous of our friend’s 3000 square foot house compared to our 1500 square foot house?  What about when we rationalize that taking office supplies from work and using them at home for our kid’s school project really isn’t stealing – it’s owed to us?  Lastly, what about when we fudge on the time sheet a little bit, since “no one will notice anyway.”  

As important as it is to teach our kids to obey our authority which teaches them to obey God’s ultimate authority, there is another side to the story. 

Yes, I firmly agree that there are times when our children need to just obey – without arguing, whining, debating, manipulating.  However, there are other times when listening to their opinions and asking them how to solve an issue might grow their independence, reasoning skills, and learning responsibility.  

I’m not talking about life-and-death situations.  There are certain nonnegotiable items in life, but there are also lots of gray areas.  As a parent, I’m learning that it’s important to distinguish between the two while our kids are still young, so that when they hit middle and high school and their independence really needs to blossom, these skills will already be in place.  For a semi-control-freak like myself, this is sometimes a hard lesson to teach.  

It’s important to look at the big picture.  As the parent, I want certain things done in a certain time frame.  For instance, chores need to be completed before my kids participate in a fun activity, they need to be relatively clean and presentable (including shower, appropriate clothes, hair and teeth brushed), and they need to learn how to make appropriate decisions in a variety of situations.  But…can’t the end result look different for each family and possibly even for each family member?  

Taking into consideration that each child is an individual, isn’t it acceptable to allow one child to do his chores in the morning because he wakes up fresh and ready to tackle the day, whereas allowing the other child a chance to slowly greet the morning and still have hers done by lunchtime?  Is it super important to take a shower at night, or can one child take their shower in the morning as long as there is enough time to catch the bus?  Yes, there are certain clothes for certain situations, but within that boundary, isn’t it more important that your child work on his or her own sense of style while still living under your roof, time for a child to experiment with individual taste before that all important job interview?  And isn’t it more important that your child came up a solution, unique to him and his situation, that you agree with, when dealing with the bully, the awkward social situation, or the problem with friends?

Some Things I’m Thankful For…

A friend of mine inspired me with his random list of things he is thankful for. As I read through his list, it made me pause and think of some of the things that I am thankful for.
So here is my list, not in any particular order, until you get to the end…

  1. Sushi
  2. Flavored CoffeeMate
  3. Cherry tomatoes
  4. Smell of the morning at Inlow
  5. The kiddos in our Children’s Ministry
  6. Singing of children during VBS
  7. Reading His Word
  8. A good book
  9. Chili cheese dogs
  10. My parents living in the same city
  11. Mango slices
  12. Ability to breathe
  13. The “Pauls” in my life
  14. Houston Clan
And these are those that I’m truly thankful everyday for…
  1. Ryne…His daily love and encouragement for Sam is such a blessing
  2. Baylee’s ability to shine and bring excitement to any room
  3. Samantha’s growing faith and her love for children
  4. My Beloved…She is my best friend and an amazing lady after God’s own heart
  5. Finally, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
Stop and ask yourself…what am I thankful for….

The Power Struggle of Children

Just finished this article by John Rosemond. It really struck me because I truly feel like we have become a nation of entitlements, starting with the way we raise our children. We give in to their pressures and that of the culture. A 12 year old does not need an i-Pad. For them to properly function as a 12 year old, that item of luxury is not necessary. Instead, we as parents and guardians, give in so as not to cause “conflict” or “trouble” in the home. Dr. Rosemond really spoke to me and hopefully will speak to you also as parents so we can begin to turn the tide of this attitude of “I’m entitled” to “I am grateful.”

12-Year-Old Grandson Wants Cell Phone and iPad
Nov 16, 2012 by John Rosemond
Question: My 12-year-old grandson has become obsessed with things he wants, including a cell phone (the most expensive, mind you), an iPad, and expensive designer jeans. He begs, throws tantrums, pouts, refuses to speak to his parents, and the like. When told not to say another word, he leaves them notes, draws pictures, or comes to us or the other grandparents. These obsessions and his very manipulative behavior are a mystery because he’s never been given an excess of material things. My daughter and her husband have addressed this with common-sense talk about greed, excess, obsessions, and self-control. What should we do to solve this problem?

Answer: First, I feel obsessively compelled to point out that talking to a 12-year-old about greed, excess, obsessions, and self-control is not an example of “common-sense talk.” These are not concepts that the average 12-year-old understands. An example of “common-sense talk” would be as follows: “We are not going to buy that for you, ever, no matter what you say or do. When you are older and are earning your own money, you can buy it for yourself.”

You would probably tell me that his parents have told him words to that effect and he continues to obsess and pester and pout and throw tantrums. Pardon me for speculating, but I have to believe that his parents have been less than unequivocal. My guess is they’ve occasionally (perhaps rarely) told him “No” in no uncertain terms, but then at other times they go on and on about greed, excess, and so on, trying to persuade him to accept their decision. If that’s the case, then allow me to point out that your grandson (like all children) perceives persuasion as a weakness. He can simply refuse to be persuaded and even though he doesn’t get what he wants, he’s “won” that round.

Even though obsessive thinking is often indicative of a psychological problem, I think you’re describing a power struggle. Your grandson’s parents need to stop participating. They need to make themselves perfectly clear, and accomplishing that is going to require some “drastic” measures on their part.

Drastic Measures: When he’s at school, his parents remove anything and everything from his room that isn’t completely necessary, including favorite but unnecessary clothing. When he comes home from school, they sit down with him and inform him that he’s going to live that way until his inappropriate requests, tantrums, pouting, and the like have completely stopped for a continuous period of two weeks and that until that happens, he is also going to bed at 7:00. This “conversation” should last no more than two minutes, during which they should stick to the following facts: (1) Your requests are inappropriate (I recommend that they present him with a list of those requests). (2) We’re not going to buy you those things. (3) Because you obviously don’t appreciate the things you already have, you are going to live without them until your inappropriate requests have stopped.

If, during the next two weeks, a request occurs, or displays any of the manipulative, self-dramatic behaviors you listed, the two weeks begins anew. He should have his stuff back within six weeks. Those six weeks will be some of the most memorable weeks of his life. That is, after all, the point.

Copyright 2012, John K. Rosemond

That’s Not Fair!!

How often do you hear this proclamation in your home?
Kids have an acute sense of justice – at least when they are the ones that come up with the short end of the stick.
Think about it: how likely is it that your child would fervently protest the fact that her brother got a smaller piece of cake than she did? Hardly. Kids (and adults for that matter) care about equality when justice benefits them.

What kinds of subtle things do you do in your family to perpetuate this importance of fairness? Count Christmas gifts to make sure everyone gets the same amount? Buy something for one child out of necessity and then feel compelled to buy something for your other children to even the score? Do something special with one child and then smooth over hurt feelings, by promising to do something with your other children as well? Find yourself questioning your parenting decisions because “it wouldn’t be fair”?

By putting fairness on such a high pedestal, we actually perpetuate a heart problem in our children – a heart that is focused on self.
Before we get to the “what can I do about it?” part of this blog, I want to direct you to a helpful piece of Scripture.
What the Bible Says about Fairness
In Corinthians chapter 6, Paul speaks harshly to the congregation at Corinth for their lawsuits among brothers. He asks in verse 7, “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?” 
It can be easy to gloss over this verse in the context of the rest of this passage. But let’s force ourselves to camp out here for a bit. What is Paul (God, rather) saying to us? Isn’t He saying that brotherly love and unity is better than justice? Wow. Better to let something be unfair than cause disunity and strife among brothers. Like so many things in the Christian life, God turns our norms upside down.
We may tell our children that they need to love one another, but if we perpetuate a priority of fairness with our actions, how deeply will those words take root in their hearts?
What You Can Do
  1. Model humility. If your children can see you holding love and unity as the highest goal rather than fairness and restitution, they will have a living example after which they can pattern their reactions.
  2. Watch out for favoritism. Maybe your need to ensure fairness is fueled by an underlying affinity toward one child. To combat this tendency, you may focus on fairness to cover it up. Cultivate unique and separate relationships with each of your children.
  3. Talk about the impact of sin. The very fact that we are alive is “unfair.” Our sin nature requires death. The fact that we are here is a manifestation of God’s love and mercy. If we were to truly advocate for fairness, we would be asking for our own demise. When we can understand this reality, the fact that Jimmy got three more Skittles doesn’t seem that important.
  4. Stop “bean counting.” If you do, you will eventually find that your children will stop being focused on fairness as well. In fact, you will likely find that they develop hearts wanting to give of their bounty. And they will learn the ever-so valuable lesson that giving is just another form of receiving.
  5. Study the above passage together as a family. And talk about the all-time, ultimate expression of “unfairness.”
And what was this ultimate in unfairness?
“. . . Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death –  even death on a cross”(Phil. 2:5-8).
Now that’s not fair.

National Honor Society…again!

Congratulations to Baylee!! 
She will be inducted into the National Honor Society at Hope on November 12th.  She is following in Samantha’s footsteps as Sammie Jo was also inducted her Sophomore year. 
Baylee not only puts in between 10-15 hours with Varsity Cheer each week, she is also on Student Leadership for Eastern Hills Youth Group and still maintains a cumulative GPA of 4.0714 and is on the Gold Honor Roll. Yikes…that’s a busy week for anyone…just saying… 
Like I have always said, God blessed both our ladies with intelligence from their mother!!

These three have become best friends!
The cheer squad calls them “Neapolitan Ice Cream”
Cuz together they are Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla
Here they are again and displaying a reverse Oreo
cookie this time. Do you see it?
BTW..Strawberry is Jamie Huskey &
Vanilla is Courtney Denker