I hear it all the time (and usually, either used as an excuse or in a negative context), "Things are just so different today than when we were kids." OR "Kids are just so different these days." Heck, I've even made similar statements myself.
Yes, things are definitely different today. But WHY are they so different?
I think we can all agree the advancement of technology has played a huge part in changing not only the lives of our children, but almost every aspect of the world we live in. And obviously, there are different trends that come and go with each generation.
One of the biggest reasons for the difference in the kids doesn't seem to get discussed very often: the parenting.
Or lack-of, I should say.
Sometimes, I'm completely blown away at what I see today in kids of all ages: disrespect, laziness, attitudes of entitlement, selfishness and disregard for authority and family. I'm even more blown away by the fact that we, as parents, are allowing this type of behavior.
Whatever happened to good old fashioned discipline and child-rearing? Are our kids too good, or too smart, or too attractive to be held to the same standard that we were?
I'm going to insert a big ole double negative here and say, ummm, NOT HARDLY!
As parents, if we don't step up to the plate now and teach our children the importance of true integrity, it's going to be detrimental; not only to them, but to us. When they become adults they're not going to just magically grow wings of responsibility and good character. And do we really want to spend our golden years still supporting and cleaning up after our kids?
Not I, said the..........me.
Seriously. When I'm old I expect my young'ens to clean up MY messes!
>insert wicked laughter<
Just kidding, but not really.
I'm doing them a terrible injustice....
- If I don't teach them to take responsibility for themselves.
- If I don't teach them to respect me, to respect others and to respect themselves.
- If I don't teach them the importance of hard work.
- If I don't let them experience the appreciation that comes from earning the things you want.
- If I don't teach them to be responsible and to contribute not only to our family, but to society as a whole.
- If I don't teach them that there are consequences for breaking laws.
- If I don't teach them compassion for humanity.
- If I don't teach them to stand strong, but remain humble...
Yes, if I don't teach my children these things I'm doing them a terrible injustice.
I'm turning them into a liability instead of an asset. I'm throwing them to the wind, to the wolves, under the bus -- no, that one doesn't fit...
Anyway, you get my point.
They must understand and accept the fact that even if I can I'm not always going to "fix" everything for them.
I want them to be strong, capable and resilient. I want them to be able to stand in the face of adversity and yell, "Bring it on, sucker!" All the while laughing and knowing the adversity they're facing is only going to sharpen their skills and bring out their brilliance.
What am I saying here?
I'm saying that we, as parents, need to stop letting our kids run the show, rule the roost and call the shots. We need to bring back some good old-fashioned, retro-style parenting!
- Our kids need to do chores. Regular chores. Not as a punishment or just to receive an allowance, but because it teaches them responsibility and to contribute to their family. If they can send a text message, they can load a dishwasher.
- Our kids need to play outside. They need to get dirty, they need to explore, they need to use their imaginations. If they can watch Youtube and figure out how to build a robot, they can make mud pies, and chase fireflies. (Or Lightning Bugs, if you're from Georgia.)
- Our kids need to respect adults. This one....oh this one....goes really deep with me... There's nothing that gets under my skin faster than a disrespectful, back-talking kid. I agree that kids should be able to voice their opinions and ideas, and express their grievances, but they should never feel like they have the right to speak down to, or disrespectfully to an adult. That's right!
- Our kids need to have rules and curfews. We need to bring back the phrases, "I don't care if all your friends are doing it!" and "If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?" The way I see it is this: as parents, we set the standard in our own homes. Billy, Bobby, or Brenda's parents, set the standard in their homes. We're responsible for the children that God so graciously put in our care, so they need to follow the rules and have their rear-ends home when we tell them to.
- Our kids need to be grounded. Yep! Grounded. That means they need to stay home. When they disobey or break the rules we need to take away their phones, iPads, video games, or whatever gets to them, and let them get reacquainted with the interior walls of our homes.
- Our kids need to learn what the word EARN means. Not "give me, I need, I want," but earn. If you don't believe me, watch how careful they are with the money they earn versus the money you give them. When they have to work for it, it suddenly becomes a lot more valuable.
...and I'm still smiling!
I only want the best for our children, but in order for them to achieve greatness, they must first have a strong foundation built on the basics of good character: respect, honor, obedience, discipline, hard work, and gratitude. If we don't teach them where to build, we're doing our children a terrible injustice.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!