Your children are the product of your training

Ho boy. This is going to upset some people. And if I do offend some of my friends, I’m not trying to crush your spirit. I hope you take this with some salt and try to glean something from my rantings.
Everywhere I look, it’s obvious that there are multiple generations of people that are struggling in life simply because they weren’t raised properly. Not only are these people then going on to pass their bad upbringing to their children, but you now have grandparents that are still perpetuating their failures down one more generational rung.

Here are a few examples. See if you recognize any of them:

  • Every time I walk into a Walmart or Sam’s Club or Publix, I see grown children, some as old as 10, in the middle of the shopping cart, sitting on their butts and playing on a phone or tablet, while their petite mother is trying to push both the kid and their groceries around the store. Their child is either too lazy to walk or so uncontrollable that his mother must feel like she has no choice but to confine him.
  • It’s a generational cliché, but I truly can’t believe how some children speak to their parents, especially in public. Nothing will cause the Hulk in me to erupt more quickly than when my children disrespect me or my wife. And yet, these milquetoast parents stand there and just let their insolent children’s mouths run completely amuck and unchallenged.
  • You’d be shocked at how many times we have guests or family over at the house and we get comments like “Wow, all of your children are helping out! How do you get them to do that?” And I’m usually like –

    How is it that your grown teenager has never been taught to:

    • set or clear the table
    • prep food for cooking
    • cook a meal or at least a dish
    • plate and serve food
    • load/unload the dishwasher
    • sweep/vacuum the floor
    • take out the trash

    And that’s just when we are having a dinner party!

  • Don’t get me started with restaurants. I’m not even talking about McDonald’s or Chick Fil-A, although there’s no reason why you shouldn’t set proper behavioral expectations at fast food joints either, but I mean a real sit down, order from menus and service is brought to your table, restaurant. You’ve seen these children that can’t sit at the table, in their seats, without having to be constantly entertained with crayons and toys and devices and cookies, just so that the adults can have a nice meal together.

    They’re running around the restaurant, under tables, throwing tantrums, and making an absolute wreck of the floors and seats with their food and crumbs and beverages, disturbing other diners and causing servers and managers heartburn and grief. I would say they’re an embarrassment to their parents, but I’ve learned these weak procreators have no sense of dignity or shame.

  • As a homeschooling parent, what’s absolutely mind-boggling to me are the people who say our children won’t be properly “socialized” and won’t be able to fit into society. And yet, the average public high school graduate feels totally out of her element when it comes to mixed company. They’re incapable of initiating and carrying a meaningful conversation with people other than with their peers. To “fit into society”, a high school graduate should feel totally at ease speaking with toddlers, young teens, adults, and senior citizens alike. And ours do.

Now instead, imagine the possibilities for a moment.

  • What if, while they are still toddlers, children were taught to always have one hand on the shopping cart and to walk together with their parents and siblings in the store? What if as they matured, your children learned to help shop and find items at the store with you, cutting down your shopping time?
  • What if children were taught to Honor their Father and Mother in word and deed, even when they are frustrated, hurt, hungry or tired?
  • What if children were given chores to help maintain and keep their home so that they felt like they are part of a family rather than just consumers?
  • What if a child learned to properly behave at the table at home BEFORE they went out to a restaurant so that they knew the rules ahead of time?
  • What if children learned to carry conversations with all different age groups because they watched and learned from their parents instead of running off every time adults were meeting?

We’re often asked how we do it, what’s the secret? And it’s no mystery at all.

It’s called Training. YOU are the parent. It’s YOUR job to Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6.

It’s not the school’s job. It’s not the church’s job. It’s not society’s or the village’s or Congress’s job.

It is YOUR job.

The sooner you start, the sooner your child will learn.

I can tell you that as early as 9 months old, a child can be trained to behave and obey their parents. Don’t be surprised if you’ve waited hand and foot on your brat all through his childhood and pre-teen years and you’re met with resistance and outright defiance when you want them to do some chores for the first time when they’re 13. It’s way too late then.

Don’t give up because he doesn’t like to be trained or he’s throwing a tantrum. OF COURSE he’s going to resist at first. But if you are firm and resolute and consistent, there’s no reason why your child can’t learn to follow your instruction and expectations for him.

But children are smart. They watch you constantly. If they know, for example, that Mom is weak and doesn’t enforce all the rules that Dad does, then naturally he’s going to avoid Dad and stay close to Mom’s lazy eyes.

Parents have to be united in PARENTING. There’ no “go ask your mother” every time junior wants to do something, Dad.

Look, we didn’t do everything perfectly with our children. We made plenty of mistakes and hopefully learned from them. And the youngest ones are still waiting to enter their teenage years.

But I can tell you that God did not intend for children to be raised by weak, ineffectual, milquetoast parents.

Fathers, especially, I put the charge to you. You need to Man Up.

We all have work. We’re all tired. We’re all stressed and just want to have some time to relax.

But your children need your leadership and guidance now.

Do not misunderstand me. I’m not making the case that you need to be a tyrant or cruel.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. — Ephesians 6:1-4

Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.Colossians 3:20-21

YOU need to set the boundaries, the rules, the expectations. And when they are broken, there needs to be consistent and immediate consequence, particularly when they are younger.

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