Sunday, January 12, 2014

Parents Have Limitations Too

Unless we understand certain expectations for parents are outside our control, we set ourselves up for disillusionment and frustration.

First, there are no formulas for raising children. We have guidelines, but no two children are the same and require different handling. What our oldest child would take as a warning, our second would accept as a challenge. This means that even experience is a limited asset. Our third—the ultimate strong-willed child—was different again. That strong will would be invaluable in later life and needed to be moulded and not broken.

Second, we have no final control over our children. Of course, in the earliest years we have some control, but in the end we can only influence them. We are not creators, making others into our own mage; children are people with their own God given personality and decision making ability. This is true from early childhood on, and increasing independence only lessens our control over them. In fact, good parenting will prepare them to channel their independence into constructive and creative ways.

Finally, there is no guarantee that our children will turn out the way we desire. We are all aware of children from good families that turn out badly, and vice versa. Perhaps our biggest mistake is in planning to bring up good children. As we have seen, this is outside of our capability. What we can do is plan to be good parents, praying for God’s wisdom and direction for us; for His call upon their lives at an early age and guidance in their major choices of life.