Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Treating Kids as they Will Be, Not as they Are

One thing about summer vacation is that it puts in the limelight behavior problems your kids have, among other things. You become acutely aware that you can't parent all your kids the same, and they don't respond to punishments or incentives the same way.

I had an epiphany the other day that you need to treat your kids like they are making good choices, regardless of whether or not they are. Kids need love love love-- and it's my belief that kids act out because they are having a hard time feeling that love (it all goes back to feeling attached to someone, I believe). When a kid gets in trouble a lot or big trouble you should spend a lot of time with them, one on one time. If you knew somebody was in trouble or you were in danger of losing them you would go to them, give them special attention. Punishment should not be that the parent withdraws- you have to be their lifeline out. It’s not about spending more time with them so you can instruct them, it’s about spending more time with them so they feel loved.

No matter how a child acts, they don't "deserve" poor treatment from their parents. A removal of privileges, certainly, but not a removal of love. What they need is more love when they do something wrong. And even more praise than usual when they do something right.

In reality I wonder if all of us make bad choices because of immaturity. It's so easy to see it in children, who don't have the experience or wisdom to make the choice that will bring the most happiness. I'm sure God feels the same way about us. It is my belief that if you want to follow God, he will help you overcome those weaknesses and someday those immature bad choices will be a thing of the past. So if you have hope in God, it's best to treat your kids as they will be, and not as they are.

I hope you won't read this and think I'm some kind of perfect parent who always responds with love and understanding. I write here to remind myself of what I should do, how I should act, and what I would someday like to be.

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