Raising Kids and Raising Cain

If you’re a parent, you need to know that kids can give you a run for your money. I know several parents who have young children. I’m not in that stage anymore, so I can kind of laugh as I walk away from the destruction that those kids sometimes leave in their wake. Being a parent is tiring. Sometimes you wonder whether you are raising a child or just raising Cain!  But it’s all just a normal part of parenting. 

First of all, you need to know and understand that children will always be children. They are not adults yet. They will make mistakes. They will make messes. They will destroy and break things. That’s what kids do. Knowing the difficulty of this stage, I recommend that parents reconsider purchasing white carpeting and leather couches! Certainly, you need to give your children guidance and instruction so that they learn to move away from that sort of behavior, but when you are in the middle of parenting young children that, it can be pretty frustrating, and quite often you can feel like a failure. 

Parenting has far less to do with you being a failure and far more to do with simply managing your children as they grow and mature. If you are faithful to teach your children some basic principles, they will eventually start learning what you are teaching them. 

The most important thing to do is to be consistent in applying your parenting techniques. The more consistent you are, the more stable your children’s behavior will be. These areas of consistency may include issues such as expecting your children to obey when asked to do something. Expecting them not to talk back to you in a smart tone, and expecting them to contribute to the family in some way. These may be some of your non-negotiable rules. Therefore, don’t let your children get away with disobeying you at times simply because you don’t have the energy to deal with the issue. Don’t give in and let your children forego their chores because they’d rather play. And when you hear them mumble something sarcastic under their breath, don’t pretend you didn’t hear it so that you can avoid a confrontation. As you are consistent and persistent, your children will probably become very productive people in society.

Consistency also includes following through on discipline. When you give a child a consequence for an action, make sure you don’t deviate from it because you start to feel bad. Children learn from discipline, not hand-outs. Communicate expectations to your children so that they know their boundaries. It’s difficult for adults to operate without boundaries; imagine being a child and never knowing how far you should go. You can discipline your children and show love to them all at the same time. 

A term I’ve heard lately that I think applies here is the idea of “children-centered family.” What this term implies is that the children are basically running the family. All of the decisions in the family are made based on what would make the children happy and not based on what is best for the children. There’s a difference. When you give into the whims of your children because you fear they won’t be happy unless you do, you are allowing your children to be the head of your home. The only thing that promotes is raising children who will raise Cain when they don’t get their way in life.