You may have heard about the lack of receiving a parenting manual when your baby arrived. This is a common complaint because of what’s at stake. Parenting, when done on purpose has the power to impact multiple generations. However, parenting not done on purpose has the same impact, yet with negative results.
When my daughter doesn’t want to interact with our family and would rather bury her head in her iPad, I am faced with a challenge. I can let her win or I can fight for future generations. You may think that sounds silly, but it is so true. With every choice that arises you are either reinforcing the positive or the negative. Eighteen years of reinforced behavior is almost impossible to change. Don’t believe me? Just ask someone who has been married for over fifty years.
When my daughter is doing something that is contrary to what my wife and I want in regard to behavior, I am at a crossroads. I can either let her win and continue in her actions or I can step in with the alternative.
Parenting is certainly not about the child. This is a concept that is often misunderstood. Parenting is about parents making the right sacrifices so our children will grow into well adjusted, well rounded adults. We are the ones who are being tested. We are the ones who are being asked to sacrifice. We are the ones who have to make the tough decisions.
Parenting isn’t for wimps because it requires us to be constantly on. Parenting is hard because it requires us to do the most unnatural thing we know. It requires us to do the complete opposite of what we often want.
The next time you want to settle for the iPad, think of your child’s grandchildren. I’m certainly not denying the awesomeness of what an iPad can provide, especially when you simply need a break, but let it be the exception rather than the rule. Don’t take the easy road when you posses the power to do what’s best.
Think of the long term reward of denying yourself and putting your great-grandchildren first.
We as parents have the greatest job on earth. We have the ability to influence another human being who can in turn influence the world. Choices that are made when they are young will develop deep patterns that eventually turn into habits that are almost impossible to change.
My prayer is that I would be the kind of parent who does what’s right. I want to be the kind of parent who thinks more of my grandchildren than I do myself.