Honor More, Criticize Less


The life cycle of parents and children is interesting, to say the least. When your children are infants, they depend on you for everything. As toddlers, they worship the ground you walk on and they want to be around you all the time. Soon, teenagers are standing in front of you, and they want your resources but they don’t want to hang out with you. Their friends have all the wisdom they need to navigate life!

When children become teens, they also start to complain more about their parents. They’re discovering life outside of their own family and differences are more noticeable. Some positive and others negative. Parents begin to hear their kids say, “Well, her mom said…” or, “Their dad lets them do that.” Sometimes it’s hurtful and other times it’s just funny. This pattern continues as the child grows into their own person (and not merely a carbon copy of mom and dad). Ideas and thoughts clash. At some point, these teens and young adults start reflecting on their childhood and start wishing their parents had done things differently when they were growing up. A lot of problems are blamed on parents during this stage. Sometimes it’s warranted and other times it’s easier to fault someone else instead of taking responsibility for their own actions.

I probably could justify some anger toward my dad for varying reasons that I’ve talked about before in this column, but when I reflect upon my parents’ generation and how things were during the time they parented me, I think they did okay. Certainly the best they knew how. If I replay what it would have been like for me to parent during those days, I might have had a tough time too. We have to be careful not to bash our parents for things they’ve been through that we simply don’t understand. Some of them paid a pretty high price for us to be where we are today and we need to appreciate their effort.

I also know complaining is pretty normal where kids and parents are concerned, but it gets dangerous when it starts to permeate and damage a relationship.

As we all know, as they get older and reflect on things, it’s inevitable my kids will be talking about me. As I age, they may get frustrated with how slow I walk, how many times I tell the same story, or how I don’t understand technology. But I also hope that despite these minor irritations, they will honor more and criticize less as I’ve worked to set that example for them.