August 12, 2019 - The Perfect Storm – Parenting in this Generation
We are running into a crisis today as parents. Like the movie, “The Perfect Storm” the 1991 account of the fishing trawler “Andrea Gail” consisted of a crew of hard-working dedicated fisherman going out to find a big catch and got caught in an overwhelming storm. Weather reports revealed a tropical hurricane that came up from Bermuda which collided with a cold front from the Great Lakes, creating 100-foot waves and sinking the fishing boat resulting in a "perfect storm".
Parents today have been caught off guard with a perfect storm. In this series of articles, we will look at the crisis today in the American family and look at what needs to happen to rescue the family from the destructive patterns that we face.
What does the Perfect Storm look like today in our families? There are five storms that are assailing families today. They are not listed in a specific order of priorities, but they are all storms that we need to be aware of.
Storm # 1 - Cultural Changes. We are in a culture where the very foundation of faith and family is being challenged. Children are becoming less resilient and extremely dependent on “being taken care of”. In an article for Psychology Today, Nov 17, 2010, by Jim Taylor, Ph.D., entitled “Parenting: Raise Independent Children” – Dr Taylor raises the question: Are you raising responsible or contingent children? “Contingent children are dependent on others for how they feel about themselves.” A culture where every child has to be a winner all the time. Contingent children are the result of my generation, the “do what makes you feel good” generation of the 60’s and 70’s. A culture where children whose parent have trouble telling the children the word no in fear of the backlash of children having to do things that “don’t make them feel good”. A culture where children have not developed the ability to learn from mistakes. A generation and culture that can’t handle the stress of today. Growth in the lives of children is achieved by striking the right balance between support and challenge. Dr Taylor believes We need to reset the balance point. Matthew 6:32 tells us, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Children need to be prepared for losses that take place throughout the growing up years. Without the ability to know how to handle losses as a child that child becomes an adult that must have his way all the time and gets overwhelmed and angry not being able to handle losses.
A term you will hear often from me is “you can’t take parenting personally”. I teach parenting workshops that does not teach 10 ways to make your kids behave but teaches parent things parents have to do to be healthy mothers and fathers. My model of counseling states:
- In order to have healthy children, you must have healthy parents.
- In order to have healthy parents you must have healthy adult.
- In order to have healthy adults they must have a healthy relationship with God.
If I can get healthy adults that love and trust God, they make great parents. If a child has healthy parents, they learn how to grow up healthy and become healthy adults.
Many times, our worth as parents is determined by our children’s successes not by what God says about us. If we have a child that makes mistakes then we can be embarrassed and humiliated. As a healthy parent our worth and value cannot be determined in our children’s successes or failures. Whether a child succeeds or fails does not determine our worth and value. Parenting is not about you its about what you need to do to raise healthy kids. Although you may not hear it often from your children, children want you to be healthy and strong so they can grow up healthy and strong. Deep in the heart of children they are rooting for you to tell them no and to help them learn from mistake and failures.
I use Proverbs 22:6 to help define our role as parents. Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Train up a child in the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it. We will talk about being personal trainer later on. But we are personal trainers for our children. How many of you would want a personal trainer who does not challenge you? Even when you say I can’t do it a great personal trainer will encourage you to keep moving forward. A great personal trainer will train you over and over again and never give up on you. A great personal trainer takes the time necessary to make you a success. Congratulation’s you are a personal trainer!