Unfaithful Child/Spouse Archives 2009

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  • 3 Part Series on "SPOILED ROTTEN" by Pat Gates
  • I Saw a Child by Leo Rogol (1969)
  • A Child Is... (poem)
  • Don't's  and Do's
  • Children Learn What They Live
  • Fulfillment (a poem) by Laona Rochelle
  • Warning: nude pictures via cell phone
  • Family Feelings by Dee Bowman
  • When Your Adult Child Doesn't Call by Pat Gates
  • What the scriptures have to say about the parent/child relationship
  • Teaching Children and Grandchildren by Micky Galloway

Spoiled Rotten
by Pat Gates

Carla Wagner, 17, of Coral Gables, Fla., spent the afternoon drinking the tequila she charged on her American Express Gold Card (as well as smoking marijuana) before speeding off in her high-performance Audi A4. She was dialing her cell phone when she ran over Helen Marie Witty, a 16-year-old honor student who was out Rollerblading. Charged with drunken driving and manslaughter, Carla was given a trial date — at which point her parents asked the judge whether it would be O.K. if Carla went ahead and spent the summer in Paris, as she usually does.

This is a true story; I read the case report online. Carla was named the "poster child of spoiled kids" and rightly so. As I read more about Carla I found out that when she hit Helen she was going 60 mph in a 30 mph zone in order to get home and get cash from her parents so she could go on a trip out of town. Her friends warned her she was going to get a ticket and with some expletive language she let her friends know she could less about the police. She was sentenced to six years in prison and was released in 2006 when she was deported to Panama where her parents live as she is a citizen of Panama and not the U.S.

When Carla was a baby, I'm sure her parents planned a bright future for her. I'm confident that all the dreams they had for her did not include having an attitude of total disregard for authorities, as well as getting high on alcohol and marijuana and committing murder. While the parents may not have contemplated such a future for their daughter, they most certainly set her up for a fall. The evidence is right there in the story; not only the fact she had expensive toys but in the total disregard of the life of an innocent girl when the parents asked if Carla could spend the summer in Paris. With that question, I wonder if the judge wished he could throw the parents in prison as well for being an accessory to the crime.

How did such callousness and disregard for authority and human life develop in just 17 years? Well, in reality, it wasn't difficult to do. Spoiling comes easy, however, it comes with a price - not just in later years but in the daily wear and tear on the peace in a household by the constant demands of the child.

This month I want us to look at spoiling a younger child, what the outcome will be and how to undo the damage before it's too late. The following lists are a combination of thoughts from the internet and a few of my thoughts thrown in.

Crying in the first few months of a baby's life is his way of communicating his needs. A child's ability to cry and fuss deliberately to get his way usually begins at about 5 or 6 months of age. This doesn't mean answering their cry is spoiling them, it's just to say they become aware that crying = mom's attention. Sometimes their cry is saying they just want some love and cuddling (don't we all) and by no means is that spoiling them. However, as they grow older moms come to understand when babies can discern what "no no" means and when the baby can wait a bit for attention. This is when disciplining begins. When I speak of discipline, I mean appropriate, self-controlled, loving discipline at all ages. I also mean all forms of discipline (instruction), not just spanking. An example of a form of discipline for an older baby, at the appropriate age, may be just a matter of having him wait a bit before you pick him up (when he's OK) rather then always rushing to him and giving him everything he wants immediately. Never do I condone harsh discipline in word or action that would be categorized as abuse or neglect.

Why Some Parents Don't Discipline

• They can't bear to see their child sad.
• Can't bear to have their child mad at them.
The child is just too cute.
• The child is the youngest and is spoiled because it is the last child they will have or the parents grow more lenient over time.
• The girl gets spoiled instead of the boy because she's more "delicate" or "cuter" or whatever.
• Working parents overcompensate because of their absence or not wanting to use what little time they have with their child in a negative way, they make allowances for bad behavior.
• Divorced parents competing with spouse for child's affection or some perverted sense of vengeance on the spouse.
• The parent just doesn't want to hear crying.
• Afraid if they punish they will get so angry they will lose control.
• Believes the child will never change and punishment is useless.
• Worries what others will think of them.
• Laziness, as it takes time and energy to follow through with punishment.
• Excusing the child as innocent.
• Believes the misbehaving is their own fault so why punish the child.
• Feels sorry for the child.
• Ignorance.
• They don't want their child deprived of things they were unable to have at that age and/or the parent is living through the child by planning her/his life with what the parent wished they had owned or had done.
• Believes the child is showing his individualism and doesn't want to inhibit that.
• They read child-rearing books where it said the best thing to do in the long run is just to talk to the child and explain why it is wrong what they are doing.
• Or they read where the parent should always be positive and not talk about why it was wrong what the child did, but rather put it in a positive light as, "This is the better way of doing it..." In other words, never say "no."
• Parents want to befriend their child. They mistakenly believe that by attempting to relate to kids at a childhood level, they are better informed about the child’s activities. In giving the message that the child is somehow equal to the parent, they believe the child will trust the parent more in years to come and will always share their problems and lifestyle to them, thus preventing secrets and inappropriate activities.

Other reasons a parent may spoil their child when they confuse the extra care and need a child may have with overindulgence that is harmful:

• Child with chronic illness or disability.
• Child in grief over a lost loved one or in a divorce situation.
• Child who is bullied.
• Step-child.
• Also, the parent may be ill and the lack of energy = lack of punishment.

Description of a Spoiled Child

A spoiled child is undisciplined, manipulative, and unpleasant to be with much of the time. He behaves in many of the following ways by the time he is 2 or 3 years old:

  • Doesn't follow rules or cooperate with suggestions.
  • Doesn't respond to "no," "stop," or other commands.
  • Repeats the bad behavior after the parent tells him no.
  • Protests everything.
  • Doesn't know the difference between his needs and his wishes.
  • Insists on having his own way.
  • Makes unfair or excessive demands on others.
  • Doesn't respect other people's rights.
  • Tries to control people.
  • May hit another child.
  • May hurt animals.
  • Has a low tolerance for frustration.
  • Frequently whines or throws tantrums.
  • Constantly complains about being bored.

How to Spoil Your Child

1. Rather than telling the child he has done something wrong, always use terms like "inappropriate" or "unacceptable." Never teach the difference between right and wrong by using these more understandable words such as good, bad, yes and no.

2. Pick up after your child ---- dishes, toys, books, clothes ---- since it's easier than asking her to do it. Do you make her bed because she doesn't do a good enough job? Good, your on your way of spoiling her.

3. When your child expresses an interest in a toy or sport, quickly fulfill his desire to attain it or participate in it whether it creates a burden on you or not. Always put your child's wants and interest before your own.

4. Give your child fast foods and snacks whenever she wants them. This will quiet her and allow her to make her own choices as an adult.

5. When your son makes a crude remark, uses profanity or makes fun of others ignore them or just give them a quick "that's inappropriate."

6. Put up your breakable items so your child can't reach them and require others to do so when you visit their home; after all your child is just curious, they can't help it when they touch things.

7. Give an allowance whether or not they earned it and make it so generous that your child has no incentive to earn or save money. They are only little kids and it makes them feel big to have money to spend. 

8. Don't give your child a good understanding of ethics, morals and spirituality that will stifle her creativity and warp her spontaneity.  

9. When your son is reprimanded (by a teacher, activity leader, neighbor or law enforcement officer), immediately assume they are picking on your child. Your sweet child would never do the things they have accused him of. Always defend your child so they know they can always count on you to get them out of problems. 

10. When you and your spouse disagree with how to discipline, argue about this in front of the child and always make sure she knows you thought your spouse was too harsh.

11. Permit your son to engage in every fad so he can be "one of the crowd." Make sure you buy him what the other kids have so he won't feel different.

12. Allow your child to watch inappropriate TV shows or movies because you don't want them to look weird in front of their friends because they are allowed to watch these shows. Besides, they can learn about real life from T.V.

13. Your opinion should be "kids must be kids" and dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism, minor shoplifting and graffiti are an inevitable part of "growing up."

14. Give in to whining, crying, temper tantrums, and pouting. You never want to hear, "I hate you," because you told your child "no."

15. Allow your child to miss worship service or Bible class because of sports, a party, a weekend trip with friends, etc., after all, you don't want them to turn against God because they were deprived.

16. It doesn't matter how much you and your child yell at each other at home or in public as long as you eventually give in to his desires. Yelling is normal in families.

17. If your child purposely hurts a dog or cat and derives pleasure from it, don't be too hard on them. It's just an animal and when your child grows up he/she will get over it.

18. Allow your child to jump on other people's furniture when you are visiting, and always allow them to run throughout the person's house and touch their belongings. This way you and your host can carry on a conversation without being interrupted by your child.

19. Allow your child to make noises during worship services (talking, drawing or coloring where others can hear them, continually getting up and down on the bench, and any other distracting noise). You want them to enjoy being there and not stifled and discouraged.

20. Don't worry when your child makes fun of others and says mean and cruel things to them; they are just children and they don't really mean what they say. Besides the other kid may deserve it.

21. Allow your child to manipulate you.  Know that when he/she knows what, when, and how to get his/her way by wearing you out, embarrassing you, making you feel guilty, or by acting cute and sweet (knowing you can't resist), realize how creative they are and encourage their creativity by giving in to them.

22. If your child does not obey you and repeats what you just told him not to do, it's best to ignore it or you'll have a big fight on your hand and that takes too much time and energy to deal with. Just make sure you pretend like you don't see him doing the "no no" a second time.

24. Allow your child to answer you back or hit you, she needs to learn to express herself.

25. If your child constantly seeks your attention and demands it right away, make sure you give it to him. You don't want him to learn impatience if he has to wait on you. You need to make sure he knows he's the center of not only your world, but of the entire universe.

26. If your child doesn't want to share a toy or candy or whatever, she shouldn't have to. It should be her choice, otherwise you're just making her share and she'll never learn to do it on her own.

27. If your child is bossy with everyone and insist on having his way, congratulations, you are raising a leader.

28. If your child is impatient and often bored then you must not be doing enough for her. Spend more time and money on her as she is, evidently, very intelligent and needs material things to stimulate her.

29. Allow your child to be the one in charge of you. If you don't they'll embarrass you in front of others and may throw a tantrum.

30. Continually tell your child how smart and wonderful they are, even when they haven't done anything productive. Self-esteem is the most important characteristic you can give them in this life and they need to know no matter what they do or don't do, they are the most special person on this planet.

31. Fix all their problems for them. Don't let them worry and fret or feel bad for any wrong they've done. Be sure to straighten out their difficult situation yourself so they don't have to feel guilt, sadness, or responsibility.

32. Don't give chores as they have enough to do with school work as well as the extra curricular activities they have such as piano lessons, sports, friends etc.

33. Make your child the center of your world. Every activity, thought, and extra finances are planned around them and be sure they know they are the center of your world.

34. Always put your child before your spouse, not to mention yourself.

35. Reward negative behavior and give gifts at inappropriate times. For instance, if you are in a store and the child is misbehaving buy them something to keep them busy -- toy or candy.

36. Another way of spoiling out in pubic is to continually threaten and yell at your child when they are misbehaving but never carry out the punishment you are threatening them with.

37. Never teach your child about God and God's commandments (and His displeasure when we disobey); learning right from wrong will come later in life and we don't want our child to think God is "mean."

39. Ignore their positive behavior and never praise them for this.

40. Last, but not least, act spoiled rotten in front of them. Complain when you don't get your way, bully your spouse, do lots of shopping for yourself, and always be the example of a spoiled brat.

Relationships and the Spoiled Child

Relationships will suffer when your child is spoiled:

• Children do not want to play with a child who doesn't share, who has to have his own way, and may hurt the other child if he doesn't get his way.
• Adults don't want to be around a spoiled child, nor do they think they are cute. No woman wants a child to come into their home and help themselves to their house and use and abuse anything in the house.
• Adults may sometimes refuse to invite the parents to their home because the children are so abusive to their home, their pets, or their own children. Not only does the spoiled child miss out on social functions but so do their parents.
• Spoiled children may not get the help they need from teachers or other instructors because it's too tiring to deal with them and their demands.
• A spoiled child who is preferred over their siblings won't be able to have a close relationship with their brothers and sisters due to jealousy and anger.
• The spoiled child may even be feared by the family pet because of the abuse the child gives.

How Not to Spoil Your Child
from the Book of Proverbs

I have not included all the verses from Proverbs as I will include more of God's teachings in the next issue. We will be talking about spoiling teenagers and adult children and will add more Proverbs as well as an entire chapter in the New Testament that is a great lesson on How Not to Spoil Your Child. Can you guess which chapter?

He who spares his rod hates his son, 
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Proverbs 13:23

1. Discipline promptly.

The word "hates"  (śânê' ) means to hate personally, such as with an enemy. Isn't this too strong? After all we would never hate our child or have the feelings toward him that he is our enemy. This is when we need to think spiritually, Godlike. God wants all His creation saved. He has given us direction to "save ourselves" (Acts 2:40) in the blood of His Son and to teach our children so they may be saved. How do you think He looks at us as parents, as spiritual teachers, when we ignore His command and not discipline our (His) child? He wants that child saved and He knows discipline is what is going to help direct the child's soul to Him. We refuse. Our Lord sees this as hating our child in that we don't care for his spiritual being; we don't care if he is saved or not.

Or course we care! Do we care, really, when we allow our child to misbehave and not teach them the right way...God's way? God tells us how to care for our soul by disciplining ourselves. Do we care more for ourselves than we do our children?

We are to discipline promptly (early). Discipline when it is most effective. If not, we will forget about it or not want to deal with it later. Younger children need to connect the discipline with the misbehavior and understand they can't get away with it. Don't put off the discipline unless it is for a short time due to the situation. I remember when I acted up during worship service my mother would tell me I would get a spanking when I got home. Sure enough, she remembered as soon as we arrived home. As much as I wished she would forget, she never did. It worked. Even though there was a huge discipline problem with the teenagers in the church I grew up in, I behaved myself. My mother taught me, by discipline, God's house was a place of worship and respect.

Chasten your son while there is hope, 
And do not set your heart on his destruction.
Proverbs 19:18

2. Don't plan your child's destruction, discipline while there is still hope.

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. (KJV) While this is good advice not to allow his crying to stop you from chastening your son, the original Hebrew says: Chastise thy son, for there is hope, And to put him to death lift not up thy soul. (Young's Literal Translation) Chasten thy son, seeing there is hope; and set not thy heart on his destruction. (American Standard)

Discipline while there is still hope. Does that mean there may come a day when discipline will no longer work? Where there will be no hope for your child?

To be blunt, if you refuse to discipline, you are setting your heart on the physical and spiritual destruction of your child. No, there's no excuse. That's how it is. Think with spiritual, God-like eyes, not man's eyes, who only sees the physical that is right in front of his face.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; 
The rod of correction will drive it far from him.
Proverbs 22:15

3. Discipline replaces foolishness with wisdom.

A child left to himself will make foolish decisions. A young child will express his emotion of anger by hitting another child. If left to himself, hitting will become a normal response. However, the "rod of correction" will teach him that is not the appropriate expression of anger and, with instruction, the child will gain the wisdom of self-control and learn the correct response to the situation.  A child does not automatically know right from wrong. He needs to be taught unselfishness, kindness, obedience, and godliness. Discipline will drive foolishness far away from the child. And what will be replaced in the child's heart? Wisdom, knowledge, obedience, humbleness, truth, righteousness, all the spiritual and emotional tools to not only live a good life on earth, but through all eternity.

The rod and rebuke give wisdom, 
But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Proverbs 29:15

Correct your son, and he will give you rest; 
Yes, he will give delight to your soul.
Proverbs 29:17

4. Want to be embarrassed and ashamed of your child? Don't discipline.
    Want to have peace and take delight in your child? Discipline.

I often see frustrated parents in continual battle with their young children. Sometimes I see embarrassment, but more often I witness a worn out soul who seems to have given up and doesn't seem to care how much yelling they do or how much crying and bossing the child does. It is a pitiful site for a parent to be so bullied by a toddler that there is actual fear or to the opposite extreme, apathy in the mother's eyes. If fear or apathy is absent, then what remains is this sad, worn expression of "where did I go wrong?"

On the other hand, now and then I experience a family with young children who are a joy to be around. Sure, the little boys are running around being little boys, but they are controlled and they don't overstep the boundries they are taught. When they do, the parent is right there lovingly bringing them back in line in whatever type of discipline is required at the time. It is a beautiful environment of peace; the children bringing joy to their parents and the parents gaining the respect from their children. 


How do I prevent my child
from becoming spoiled?

(This material is from C.S. Mott's Children's hospital in
Michigan and it is excellent advice

  1. Provide age-appropriate limits and rules for your child.

    Parents have the right and the responsibility to take charge and make rules. Adults must keep their child's environment safe. Age-appropriate discipline must begin by the age of crawling. Hearing "no" occasionally is good for children. Children need external controls until they develop self-control and self-discipline. Your child will still love you if you say "no" to him. If your kids like you all the time, you're not being a good parent.

  2. Require cooperation with important rules. Your child must respond properly to your directions long before he starts school. Important rules include staying in the car seat, not hitting other children, being ready to leave on time in the morning, going to bed on time, and so forth. These adult decisions are not open to negotiation. Do not give your child a choice when there is none. Give your child a chance to decide about such things as which cereal to eat, which book to read, which toys to take into the tub, and which clothes to wear. Make sure your child understands the difference between areas in which he has choices and areas in which he does not. Try to limit your important rules to no more than 10 or 12, and be willing to take a firm stand about these rules. Also, be sure all of your child's adult caretakers enforce your rules consistently.

  3. Expect your child to cry.

    Distinguish between your child's needs and wishes. Needs include relief from pain, hunger, and fear. In these cases, respond to crying immediately. Other crying is harmless and usually relates to your child's wishes. Crying is a normal response to change or frustration. When crying is part of a tantrum, ignore it. There are times when you will have to withhold attention and comforting temporarily to help your child learn something that is important (for example, that he can't pull on your hair or earrings). Don't punish your child for crying, call him a cry-baby, or tell him he shouldn't cry. Avoid denying him his feelings, but don't be moved by his crying.

    Respond to the extra crying your child does when you are tightening up on the rules by providing extra cuddling and enjoyable activities when he is not crying or having a tantrum.

  4. Do not allow tantrums to work.

    Children throw temper tantrums to get your attention, to wear you down, to get you to change your mind, and to get their own way. Crying is used to change your "no" to a "yes." Tantrums may include whining, complaining, crying, breath-holding, pounding the floor, shouting, or slamming a door. As long as your child stays in one place and is not too disruptive or in a position to harm himself, you can safely ignore him during a tantrum. By all means, don't give in to tantrums.

  5. Don't overlook discipline during quality time.

    If you are a working parent, you will want to spend part of your free time each day with your child. This time needs to be enjoyable, but also reality-based. Don't ease up on the rules. If your child misbehaves, remind him of the limits. Even during fun activities, you need to enforce the rules.

  6. Don't try to negotiate with young children.

    Don't give away your power as a parent. When your child reaches the age of 2 or 3 years, have rules, but don't talk too much about them. Toddlers don't play by the rules. Young children mainly understand action, not words. By age 4 or 5, your child will begin to respond to reason about discipline issues, but he still lacks the judgment necessary to make the rules. During the elementary school years, show a willingness to discuss the rules. By age 14 to 16, an adolescent can be negotiated with as an adult. You can ask for his input about what limits and consequences are fair (that is, rules become joint decisions).

    The more democratic a parent is during a child's first 2 or 3 years, the more demanding the child tends to become. In general, young children don't know what to do with power. Left to their own devices, they usually spoil themselves. If they are testing everything at age 3, it is abnormal and needs help. If you have given away your power, take it back (that is, set new limits and enforce them). You don't have to give a reason for every rule. Sometimes it is just because "that's the rule."

  7. Teach your child to cope with boredom.

    Your job is to provide toys, books, and art supplies. Your child's job is to use them. Assuming you talk and play with your child several hours a day, you do not need to be his constant playmate. Nor do you need to always provide him with an outside friend.

    When you're busy, expect your child to amuse himself. Even 1-year-olds can keep themselves occupied for 15 minutes at a time. By age 3, most children can entertain themselves about half of the time. Sending your child off to "find something to do" is doing him a favor. Much good creative play, thinking, and daydreaming come from coping with boredom. If you can't seem to resign as social director, consider enrolling your child in a play group or preschool.

  8. Teach your child to wait.

    Waiting helps children learn to deal with frustration. All adult work carries some degree of frustration. Delaying immediate gratification is something your child must learn gradually, and it takes practice. Don't feel guilty if you have to make your child wait a few minutes now and then (for example, when you are talking with others in person or on the telephone). Waiting doesn't hurt a child as long as it isn't excessive. His perseverance and emotional fitness will be improved.

  9. Don't rescue your child from normal life challenges.

    Changes such as moving and starting school are normal life stressors. These are opportunities for learning and problem solving. Always be available and supportive, but don't help your child with situations he can handle by himself. Overall, make your child's life as realistic as he can tolerate for his age, rather than going out of your way to make it as pleasant as possible. His coping skills and self-confidence will benefit.

  10. Don't overpraise your child.

    Children need praise, but it can be overdone. Praise your child for good behavior and following the rules. Encourage him to try new things and work on difficult tasks, but teach him to do things for his own reasons too. Self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment come from doing and completing things that he is proud of. Praising your child while he is in the process of doing something may cause him to stop at each step, expecting more praise. Giving your child constant attention can make him praise-dependent and demanding. Avoid the tendency (especially common with the first-born) to overpraise your child's normal development.

  11. Teach your child to respect the rights of adults.

    A child's needs for love, food, clothing, safety, and security obviously come first. However, your needs are important too. Your child's wishes (for example, for play or an extra bedtime story) should come after your needs are met and as time allows. This is especially important for working parents where family time is limited.

    Both the quality and quantity of time you spend with your child are important. Quality time is time that is enjoyable, interactive, and focused on your child. Children need some quality time with their parents every day. But spending every free moment of your evenings and weekends with your child is not good for your child or for you. You need a balance to preserve your mental health. Scheduled nights out with your spouse or friends will not only nurture your adult relationships, but also help you to return to parenting with more to give. Your child needs to learn to accept separations from his parents. If he isn't taught to respect your rights, he may not learn to respect the rights of other adults.

University of Michigan Health System
C.S. Mott Children's Hospital


Spoiled Rotten - Part 2
injurious effects of
 Pat Gates

Connie Dawson, co-author of the book, "How Much is Enough?: Everything You Need to Know to Steer Clear of Overindulgence and Raise Likeable, Responsible and Respectful Children," along with her co-authors studied adults who were overindulged as children and discovered three main ways of overindulging:

Giving too much. "With a constant barrage of too many and too much, children often experience a sense of scarcity because they fail to learn the vital skill of ascertaining what is enough."

Over-nurturing. "There is no such thing as too much love. But true love does not hover or intrude or deprive a child of the opportunity to reach out, to learn new skills, to feel the thrill of achievement, or to experience consequences."

Too little structure. "Soft structure is giving children too much freedom and license. Firm structure includes establishing and enforcing rules, creating firm boundaries, monitoring children's safety, teaching children skills for living and insisting they do chores."

Too Much Stuff!

How is a child going to learn what is enough when they already have so much and want more? How can they ever be content? How can they ever learn the difference between needs and wants if their wants are treated like needs? How can they learn to feel another's sorrow or see other's needs when they have no concept of doing without? 

The problem of too much stuff has escalated in recent decades, especially during the 1990s. In recent years, children have accounted directly for an estimated $36 billion in sales annually. These spending patterns are increasing 20 percent annually. "Kids get more and expect more because of the lingering guilt on the part of the parents about not spending enough time with their children," said Carlton Kendrick, psychotherapist and family therapy expert with Learning Network. "Parents try to assuage the guilt by purchasing the child's affection and to a certain extent, silence." (from PTA.org)

Stuff = love.  Mothers often make the mistaken equation that buying for their children = love, especially mothers who didn't have much when they were young so they want to make sure their child doesn't have to go without. This is fine when we are talking about needs and a few unnecessary "stuff," but the problem comes when it is overindulgence to the point of feeling like you are depriving your child of all his desires and you believe you are being a bad mother if your child has to experience the disappointment of doing without. Mothers sometimes try to compensate with material goods for what they feel are their own inadequacies

Some parents buy their children stuff to build a friendship with them, believing they will be more liked causing a closer bond and this will produce well-behaved, mature children. In actuality, too much "stuff" actually produces the opposite effect as respect will be lacking and will be replaced with demands and temper tantrums if they don't get what they want. This idea of love is a total perversion of true love which gives the child what he needs (and doesn't need)  to persevere in this life as a child of God.

Stuff = Happiness. There exists a feeling of satisfaction and joy when we purchase something for our child that we know she really wants and see the excitement on her face when she first receives it. There is a high that is experienced by both mother and child. What we must remember is this high is temporary; that toy or outfit soon becomes old and boring and the child is ready for another "fix." Overindulgence soon teaches the child that more and more stuff is needed to receive the high that she craves. Her lesson becomes stuff = happiness.

Sometimes mothers try to compensate for their child's unhappiness by buying them toys, clothes etc. and this is especially true if the child is living with divorced parents or working mothers who feel guilty for the lack of time spent with their child. Instead of giving them the added attention they need, mothers will buy the child what he wants and then makes the mistaken equation that they have fulfilled their responsibility to their child. This doesn't work; no matter how happy the child may look upon receiving the gift, there isn't a child alive who would choose material things over attention from their parents.

Stuff = Success. When I was young I always thought the children who had the "stuff" had parents who were rich and successful (later I found out many were not rich but rather in debt). Our children learn, at an early age, to compare their lack of stuff with other kids who have the desired toys or clothes. This is why it is important to teach our children that true success is to try their best, take pride in accomplishment and to live a godly life.

If a child has been overindulged and taught material goods = success, and then lacks something another child has, he will feel deprived and will feel worse about himself and possibly about his parents until he receives the "thing" and his ego returns. It is then that all is right with the world...until a friend gets something he doesn't have. Too much stuff encourages the child to measure his worth by his possessions, thus producing the mindset Stuff = Success.

Danger Signs of Overindulgence in Your Child

♦ If you can identify with the parents in the picture of the "princess" sitting in her chair (top of the page) you are smack dab in the middle of raising a materialistic child.

♦ If your child demands anything from you because he/she knows you'll follow through you are in danger.

♦ If your child tries to make you feel guilty on an ongoing basis if they don't get what they want, you are in the danger zone.

♦ If your child stays unhappy and pouts daily until she gets what she wants, watch out, it's danger.

♦ If the child doesn't care if you work two jobs to get his way, his desires, danger!

♦ If you worry your child truly won't love you if you say "no," watch out!

♦ If your child can't handle "no," look out. If whining, crying, or temper trantrams occur it's time to change your ways.

♦ If your child has the mindset "life is all about pleasure" uh oh, there's trouble ahead.

♦ If your child expects mounds of presents at Xmas and birthdays and tears through them without so much of a "thank you" to you or others, your child is overindulged.

What is the answer to the problem
 of overindulging our children?

So what is the answer for our children who are living in a very materialistic world? How can we combat the onslaught of advertisers selling their goods to our children?

Is self-expression the answer? Timothy Kasser, Ph.D., author of the book, The False Promise of Materialism, states: "Stressing personal growth and self expression will help a child focus more on inward experiences and less on trying to find satisfaction in external objects. If a child is taught to value self expression, Kasser said, he or she will quickly become bored with shopping for most consumer items. You can't express yourself through a Nintendo game."

Is Dr. Kasser right? Is self-expression the key? Is it true kids who learn to express themselves have no interest in external objects? Ha! This would be laughable except I can't get the nauseous image out of my head of very materialistic children my sons went to school with in Miami who had absolutely no problem expressing themselves! In fact, they needed lessons on refraining from self expression. And I'm almost positive they all went home to their Atari games (this is mid-80's) and transformers and whatever else their parents bought for the purpose of quieting down their self expressions. Sorry Dr. Kasser, but you way off base on this one. While it is good to teach our children how to express their thoughts and feelings in a proper, polite manner, it is not the answer we are seeking.

Is paying for chores the answer? I read that one way to combat materialism in our children is to pay them for the chores they do around the house, beginning at 5 years old, and they use their own money to buy toys etc. While there is merit in a child learning to work for what he wants, paying for household chores at such a young age only teaches them to expect pay for everything they do around the house, rather than teaching them responsibility and the healthy contributing to the needs of the household. (More about this next month.)

Now, when they are older and according to the circumstance, paying the child for special chores or a regular allowance because of added responsibilities and allowing them to make decisions of how they will spend their money, may be just the thing to help teach responsibility. Recently, I spoke with a 16 year old girl, the oldest of 6 children, who receives an allowance and this is a good example of when it is proper because the girl helps with the children and the household needs.

Is having a good self-worth the answer? Self-worth in a healthy sense is a great tool to combat materialism because the child learns that he/she doesn't need stuff to prove they are worth anything. However, there are many children out there who may have self-worth and are still very materialistic because they have so much stuff and they have never learned to appreciate what they have, but rather expect it.

Is complete deprivation the answer; no gifts, except on birthdays, no allowance...ever, no giving in to the child's wishes? No stylish or designer clothes at all? No, this isn't the answer, after-all we don't want to go to the opposite extreme to where it brings absolute frustration. We are not trying to make our child different, we are trying to instill the right values in him. There are many discount stores where you may find a designer label on a item of clothing that has the right price tag on it. When my boys were young I would hit the sales rack in a nice department store and find items that matched, or beat, Walmart prices. The clothes were better made and would last longer, thus saving money. Of course you could overspend to where your child has an abundance of clothes because you kept finding "deals." Materialism can also come in an overabundance of cheaper clothing and the key word here is "overabundance."

There are some religious groups that believe modesty (lack of materialistic mindset as well as covering the body) amounts to their women wearing no makeup, no styling of their hair, and very plain clothing. While I do respect the fact these women are not wearing immodest apparel (in the sense of showing too much skin), there is no clothing requirement for a Christian women except to dress modestly and discreetly: Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness, 1 Tim. 2:9-10. The emphasis is not on purposely dressing differently but it is dressing with the attitude of modesty, godliness, and a lack of a materialistic mindset.

How to Raise Responsible,
Non-Materialistic Children

»»» (If you having older children and have already over-indulged them, have a family meeting, admit your mistake, explain the new rules and new way of thinking, be consistent with follow-through no matter how much whining occurs; the whining, pouting, and tantrums will eventually stop with consistency. Pray with your children about this matter, asking forgiveness for past materialistic thinking as well as strength to persevere in spiritual thinking. Read the Bible together, and, with your child, do unselfish deeds for others.)

Be spiritual-minded. Think godly and teach your children to do so. "Godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Tim. 6:6). "For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit," (Rom. 8:5). If you, as a parent, are not spiritual-minded, you won't see clearly to teach your children to set their minds on things of the spirit instead of things of the flesh (in this case material goods). See the section at the bottom of this page.

Just say no. It's that easy. The hard part is sticking to it and remaining consistent. There is pleasure in buying gifts for our children and saying "no" means saying no to our own desires, as much as our child's. When the child is very young you may not think anything about buying a little trinket, and there really is no harm in it, the problem comes when the child begins to expect it and the mom hates to say no, therefore giving in to the child's desires.

You might try making a “no-asking-for-treats-when-we’re-on-errands” rule. “Such a rule will give you nag-free outings,” says Cynthia Whitham, a clinical social worker at the UCLA Parent Training Program and author of “The Answer is No” – Saying It and Sticking to It. Whitham also suggests a “small toy per month” policy. Then, when your child asks for a trinket, you can simply say, “Is this your toy for the month?”

Encourage savings. If the child wants a special toy or an item of clothing you wouldn't normally buy, encourage the child to save until he/she has enough to buy it. Perhaps when the day comes you do give an allowance, it would be good to encourage the child to save a percentage of it.

Teach your child creativity in gift giving. Encourage your child to use his money for others, at times, but also show him that home-made gifts are special and gifts don't have to be expensive to be appreciated. One more thing about gift-giving - if your child wants to spend his money on you such as take you out to dinner or buy you a gift, please accept it. Don't tell your child, "No, that's sweet, but you don't have much so keep it yourself." Of course you wouldn't want this to happen too often, but now and then it is good to accept your child's gifts as this teaches him to share and that there is pleasure in giving.

Stop giving material awards for every little thing. Awarding good behavior or a job well done begins with stickers or pieces of candy when the child is young and as they grow older we dish out monetary rewards. A reward now and then, according to the accomplishment, may be all right but it is to the point that children expect a gift for the least little thing they do. The mindset of encouraging children with material awards began in the 80's and schools added to this problem by equalizing good and bad behavior to where students who didn't try received equal reward, so as not to discourage them. It has now come to the point in 2008 where some schools are paying children for good grades.

In a USA Today article it says in at least a dozen states students who bring home top marks can expect more than just gratitude. At Northeast Health Science Magnet High School in Macon, Ga., if students attend Saturday study sessions, they qualify for an iPod, movie tickets or a dinner for two, among other prizes.

Jessie Humphrey, a sophomore at Northeast, walked away with a 26-inch, flat-screen television set, which now sits in her room.

• Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso last week promised to spend more than $935,000 to give high school students as much as $110 each to improve their scores on state graduation exams.

• In New York City, about 9,000 fourth- and seventh-graders in 60 schools are eligible to win as much as $500 for improving their scores on the city's English and math tests, given throughout the school year.

• In suburban Atlanta, a pair of schools last week kicked off a program that will pay 8th- and 11th-grade students $8 an hour for a 15-week "Learn & Earn" after-school study program (the federal minimum wage is currently $5.85).

We've come a long way from the gold star - are kindergartners going to expect money or a DVD instead?

Don't always make the mall as your family outing. Be creative and spend your time outdoors and doing something that doesn't cost money. Teach your child there is joy in a world without stuff!

Teach your child common sense. Teach him about TV advertisers and how they make something sound better than it actually may be so they can make money. Teach them that an abundance of "stuff" doesn't bring happiness, it just makes you want more and not appreciate what you have.

Help your child to understand and combat peer pressure. They need to learn that you won't give in to, "My friend's mom buys it for her!" Kids learn at an early age to try and create guilt in their mothers and they often succeed. They may say their friend's mom is nicer because their friend wears stylish clothes and gets whatever she wants. Tell them they can save their money and buy it themselves so they can appreciate the high costs of some items. Most of all, quit feeling guilty. No matter what your child says, if you are consistent, your child will grow to respect you and the whining will stop, and not to worry, they will still love you.

Be a good example and look to yourself. Is it a "necessity" to you to wear name brand expensive clothes?  Do you place a lot of emphasis on material things and over shop for yourself or your home? Do you make negative remarks in your child’s presence about how people dress or how their homes or cars look? Do you ever buy goods for your child because you are bored or you are embarrassed if she doesn't have as good clothes or toys as her friends? Your child will learn from you.

David Walsh in Selling Out America's Children: How America Puts Profits Before Values—and What Parents Can Do says, "If we buy on impulse, overextend our credit, shop for recreation, or are always pursuing the latest model car or gadget, it will be very hard to talk credibly to our children about wanting too much."

Don't use buying new stuff as comfort for your child. If your child is discouraged, sad, angry, or bored don't go shopping and give your child a new toy or piece of clothing to try and "make up" for the troubles life has thrown at him. This will teach him to seek comfort in physical things when life doesn't go his way. What he needs is understanding, reassurance, and a mother's support and encouragement to try and work out his problem. 

Don't buy everything on your child's wish list. At Xmas or birthdays have them list their priorities and don't be tempted with surprising them and buying them everything on their list (unless their list consist of 2 or 3 inexpensive items...use your judgment). Again, they don't need to expect to receive everything they wish for.

Don't go into debt buying stuff! Some parents spend money they do not have because they believe their children's happiness is the single most important thing they can do with their money, even if they don't have money at the time. When spending habits get this out of control it means trouble not only for the child but for the whole family.

Encourage your child's imagination. Parents are so afraid of boredom in their child that they feel the need to get them involved in several activities outside the home, as well as buying them tons of stuff to prevent boredom. In their mind, boredom equals unhappiness and just points the way to a future of drug abuse. In actuality more stuff equals more boredom; more stuff takes away imagination and imagination should be the natual outcome of boredom. When we were kids we improvised: The world became anything we wanted it to be. Sticks were swords, sand became mud pies, bark off a tree was "meat" and leaves were "vegetables" when we girls "cooked." A piece of paper would become an airplane, a large mound of dirt our ship as the rain would leave large puddles of "ocean" around the dirt pile. My Barbie doll had furniture made out of small boxes and scarfs.

Kids need to learn to play on their own. They need to read and to hear stories and create their own stories. Give them art supplies, books, an oatmeal box, paste, construction paper and markers and see what they come up with. Give them basic sports equipment (balls, jump rope) to play outside. Show them God's creation and teach them to learn to love and respect this world God made for us to enjoy.

Play with your kids. This one may sound obvious, but today it's so easy for kids to spend hours on their computer and parents may not want the peace and quiet to be interrupted. Kids need their parents. They not only need a parent's direction, but they need to see that their parents enjoy them and that they are important. "Stuff" is a poor substitute for a parent's attention.

Visit other who are needy. Take your child with you when you visit widows or the sick and needy. Encourage your child to make something for them or to draw and color them a picture. Get their mind on the needs of others.

I copied the following and forgot who the source was. Sorry. -Pat

There are four words that typically describe spoiled children. How is your child doing?

NO. She can't handle the word. He expects to get what he wants and usually does. Take my Toy store test: Your child is walking down the toy aisle and wants a toy he doesn't need. You say "no". Can your kid handle "no" -- or does he beg, nag or have a tantrum to get his way?

ME. She is self-centered and thinks the world revolves around her. She thinks more of herself than about others. She feels entitled and expects special favors and generally succeeds in getting them. He watches TV. You do the housework. She doesn't like the dinner. You cook another meal just for her. He wants an extension on his homework assignment that he never got around to doing and expects the teacher to give it to him.

GIMME. He is more into getting than receiving, because he has so much and he just wants more. She's generally unappreciative and a bit greedy. You can't think of what to give her for the holidays because she already has everything. He requests things only by brand name. She bases her character on what she owns and wears instead of who she is. Do you feel more like an ATM machine than a parent?

NOW. He just can't wait and wants things ASAP. It's just plain easier to give in to this child than to postpone his request. She interrupts when you're on the phone and expects you to stop. And you do. She whines to get the cookie "now" -- and can't wait until after dinner.

Any of those words fit your child's typical behavior?
Do you think an outsider would consider your child spoiled?

If so, it's time for a serious makeover.


What are some things a 14 year old should have without being spoiled?

I can't list what a teenager should have, that goes beyond the basic needs of life, but rather the attitude of what they shouldn't have, as mentioned above. It's OK for a teenager to have some things that she wants that are not a necessity of life, and it's OK for a teenager to fit in with the latest style, as long as it's modest, is priced right and affordable by the parents...however, remember even with cheaper items we can overindulged. The problem is when the child is overindulged and expects to be.

I suppose the only answer I can give is to make sure in giving material things to your child you don't fall into the mistakes above. Be sensible. Is the unreasonable or overpriced item your child is wanting, wanting it just because other kids have it? Then it's a good lesson of life for her to learn she will not have what the "Joneses" have when she is grown, nor does she need to feel like she has to.

Do you have to go in continual debt to get what your child wants? Don't do it. Even if you can afford whatever your child wants, don't give it all to her. She needs to learn to appreciate what she has and that life doesn't always supply her every wish. It's good to wait and work towards something she wants.

If the child has plenty of stuff (and clothes) just sitting around not being used, but she still wants more than she probably has too much.

Thanks for writing in. I know this isn't a complete answer. What do you think? How much do you think a 14 year old should have?

"I was a different spoiled rotten child - only child and only grandchild of my mother's family also named for that grandfather.  My father was a law officer for the State of Texas, I was not above the law in anyway - I had to toe the mark, walk a chalk line so to speak.  Was told by the small town police force where we lived that if I was seen doing something wrong they would just tell my father - did very little wrong - nothing that was breaking the law.  There are different spoiled rotten children and today's kids are spoiled terrible and parents take the kids side against the police, teachers and all in authority.  Which is wrong - should check to see if the child was wrong before siding with the child. Parents should not think their precious child could do no wrong cause they can and do, must let the child face the consequences of their wrong doing.  Hard lesson but best for the child.  Teaches them respect for the law and others in authority over them."  -anonymous


Thank you for writing. You made a very important point-- don't automatically side with your child. It's better to investigate and find out that your child is indeed innocent than to dismiss accusations concerning your child and later find out they were true. If your child accuses you of not trusting him/her, don't allow them to make you feel guilty, this accusation is a tool the guilty kids will use. If your child is innocent then explain why the need to investigate. Let them know they are a good kid but everyone, including yourself are prone to mistakes and temptations. Not only is it our responsibility as a mother to keep ourselves in check but to make sure our children are not taking the wrong path. When my boys would tell me with that shocked tone to their voice, "You don't trust me?!", I say, "No, I don't trust you 100%, nor do I trust me or anyone else 100%...that's life, and we all have to be careful not to fall into temptations, and we all make mistakes."

Romans 12 is a great tool for parents 
to help raise unspoiled children.

 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Teach them to be confident to be different than world - not in the sense of a pompous attitude of self-righteousness or in the sense of overprotection where they can't converse with others or feel affection for people in the world - but in daily renewing their mind by teaching them God's word, loving all people, and doing good for them and to them.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Don't teach in such a way that they think they are better than everyone else and look down on people, but to understand Jesus loves everyone and because of God's mercy we are blessed to know His will. Teach them to think for themselves, listen to their thoughts and reinforce the good thoughts they have. Give them encouragement to build their own faith.

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Encourage the gifts your child has...every individual has gifts (talents). Teach them a gift is an ability to help others, in whatever way they can. But don't stop there, help them to understand they can work on gaining new talents and the more they use themselves to help others, the more opportunity they will have. Teach them sharing is fun. Help them to be happy and cheerful in doing kind deeds for others. Show them they have worth in their service to Jesus.

Let love be without dissimulation. (hypocrisy) Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Read and teach 1 Cor. 13

Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

"Instead of placing disciplinary band-aids on society’s gaping wounds, America should pay closer attention to the kinds of citizens they are releasing into the world."


Spoiled Rotten - Part 3

Pat Gates 

Immature, fully dependent adult children have come from fearful, needy parents who overprotect their child with too many fences that stunt their emotional and social growth. At the same time, they have been deprived of healthy boundaries that teach them discretion, self-respect, parental respect, respect for authority and for people in general, perseverance, accomplishment, hard work, and godliness with contentment. 


Peter Pan Syndrome
by Pat Gates

Psychologist Dan Kiley, who defined ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ in 1983, also used the term ‘Wendy Syndrome’ to describe women who act like mothers with their husbands or people close to them and it applies to overprotective mothers. In order for Peter Pan to exist, Wendy exists as one who deals with the problems and issues Peter Pan doesn't want to deal with. Wendy makes all decisions, takes on Peter Pan's responsibility, thus justifying his unreliability and laziness.

I believe in the existence of "Peter Pan" and "Wendy" as I have seen them with my own eyes, however, I do not accept it is a "disease" as I have read from "experts." I will accept the term "disorder" but only in the sense of a long-standing habits that can and must be changed by both "Peter Pan" and "Wendy." Both of them need to learn to fend for themselves as the overprotective mother is just as dependent on her child as the child is to the mother.

The ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ affects people who do not want to grow up or feels unable to do so; people with the body of an adult but, emotionally, are still a child. They have no plan to grow up and take on adult responsibilities and seem to be stuck in their teenage years. They are dependent people who have been overprotected by their families and haven’t developed the necessary skills to confront life. Some may be too fearful to try as they see the world too tough to handle on their own and others enjoy the pampering that has developed into irresponsible, lazy individuals. They have an inability and lack of desire to take on responsibilities and to commit themselves or to keep promises. They may be disheveled and not care about their looks or they may be the opposite extreme to where they put great emphasis on their looks. 

With some, laying on the couch with snacks and TV is all they need to be happy; others worry a great deal about loneliness and feel the need to be around people where they can be the center of attention. This group lacks self-confidence, even though they don't show it and often they put on an appearance exactly the opposite. They have problems with personal relationships (work and friends) as they are intolerant towards criticism and become very anxious if presented with negative critique.  They are unthoughtful and will leave a relationship that requires a high level of commitment and responsibility.

Here are some ways to encourage our children to be mature and independent. When I mention discipline I mean whatever form is appropriate for their age and circumstance whether it be talking to them, removing something pleasureable, confinement to room, or sensible spanking without anger or abuse. Always be sensitive to common sense and, of course, God's will.

Give them jobs around the house and be consistent with discipline if they refuse to accomplish these tasks.
Whenever possible and when it doesn't conflict with God's will or physical safety, allow them to make decisions and choices about their life.
Watch out for your own desires to have your child dependent on you. Get interested in other things that can fill your time, especially your relationship with your husband and the needs of others. Help yourself to be well-rounded so you won't feel as if your life will be useless and empty when your child leaves home.
Don't allow your fears to emotionally and socially handicap your child. As a mother bird pushes her chick out of the nest, so mothers must allow their child to "fly" in order to soar later in life.
Set boundaries that are appropriate. Children must have boundaries in order to cope with the reality of life as they mature. They must learn to respect authority and obey laws. They must learn the word "no" with the understanding that whining and manipulation will not change the "no" to a "yes." However, made sure you don't make unnecessary boundaries where it squeezes out independence and maturity.
Never allow your child to talk or act disrespectfully towards you. If you allow that with your younger child, expect it when they are adults. It may be frustrating to experience it when they are young, but it is extremely painful to have an adult child to do so.
Allow your child to pay for his/her mistakes and wrong-doing. They must learn there are painful consequences that go with bad behavior. If the consequence is continually removed from them their mistakes and bad behavior will only increase and become more serious the older they become.
Teach your child to be thoughtful of other's feelings, needs, and desires. Make sure they learn the joy of giving even if you have to force it from them at the beginning.
Never allow your child to mistreat anyone. They need discipline when they do.
See your child clearly. Understand there isn't a person on this earth that does not make a mistake or do wrong. Your child is capable of both.
Don't re-do the work your child has done if they have tried their best and if it isn't important to do so. If their bed making isn't up to par but it's the best they can do at their age, so be it.
Encourage your child to try new things that are appropriate.
Teach your children to cook, clean, yard work, mechanical work, etc. Anything they will need to know as an adult. If they start to make mistakes, don't take over for them - patiently show them how to do it correctly. If you always take over for them, they will learn to manipulate you to get out of doing the work themselves.
Teach them to save money and spend it wisely.
Your school-age child's job is not just schoolwork. They need to help with the household chores as well. If you excuse them from these things throughout kindergarten to college, they will never learn to be responsible in their own household when they are an adult.

Remember, we are not meant to be our child's slave, punching bag, whipping boy, or just a buddy. We must never use our child as a security blanket and excuse for not growing and maturing as godly women in our marriage relationship and in our relationship with others.  We are the catalyst by which we motivate our child to be a responsible, godly, dependable, mature adult. Give children the boundaries to learn to be responsible and tear down the fences that may block maturity.  


At which stage do you want your child to stop maturing?

Dangers of Having an Over-Protective Mother
  • A child with an overprotective mother is never ever able to become fully mature. He ends up remaining a baby, who can never ever think for himself and is always on the look out for someone to depend on.
  • A person with an overprotective mother will never be willing or able to shoulder responsibility. This is because since he was a child, he was neither given any responsibility, nor held accountable for anything.
  • Individuals with over protective mothers cannot face any criticism, be it negative or positive. The reason is that they are used to being protected and pampered all through childhood.
  • A child with an over protective mother gets used to too much pampering, care and concern. The result is that they are not able to have successful relationships otherwise, since they are not used to adjustments.
  • Over protected kids grow up to be insensitive individuals, who can care only about themselves. The reason being that they have never ever been taught to care for others in return.
  • An overprotective mother cannot digest the fact that her child can do mistakes also. For her, he/she is always right. Thus, she fails to see and rectify the faults of her children.


How can you tell when you've gone too far, or haven't gone far enough, in attempting to help your child? I would draw a distinction between the "over-protective mother" and the parent who is rightfully advocating for a child in need.

  1. An over-protective mother shields her child from the consequences of his own actions, never allowing him to fail, even when it might be healthy for his own personal growth. An advocate, on the other hand, identifies broad areas in which the child is "stuck" in a failure cycle (emotionally, socially, academically, etc.) and connects him to sources of help.
  2. An overprotective parent removes all choices from a child, selecting friends, curtailing activities that involve risk, fighting his battles. An advocate teaches a child to make his own informed choices, stepping in only when a difference of opinion may lead to disastrous consequences.
  3. An overprotective parent weakens her child's belief in his ability to solve his own problems. An advocate empowers a child to conquer the world.

                                                                              Sandra Doran/selected


Free Range Children
By David Diestelkamp

Free range isn't such a bad idea when it comes to raising barnyard animals. There's less maintenance as they roam around, eat an occasional bug or two, and weather some survival of the fittest consequences of being part of the food chain. They are animals and are fairly well suited for raising themselves. The consequence of poor survival skills means that breakfast will be short some bacon and eggs and milk to wash them down, but little more.

Free range is a terrible idea when it comes to raising children. They roam around without parental oversight and wisdom, and they aren't brought up in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4).

They swallow humanism and materialism, thinking that the only way to survive or succeed in this life is to be worldly. In spite of what they and the rest of the world may say, they are children and are not suited for raising themselves. The consequence of poor survival skills means a physical life that will not be "well" (Eph. 6:3) and a ravaged spiritual life that is ended by sin and death (Rom. 6:23).

We're talking temporal and eternal disaster if we fail to do our God-given job as parents.

Think Magazine Online/Apr/May/June 2007


When adults hijack childhood, children miss out on the things that give texture and meaning to a human life – the small adventures, the secret journeys, the setbacks and mishaps, the glorious anarchy, the moments of solitude and even of boredom. The message sinks in very young that what matters most is not finding your own way but putting the right trophy on the mantelpiece, ticking the box instead of thinking outside it. As a result, modern childhood seems strangely bland, packed with action achievement and consumption, yet somehow empty and artificial.  -selected

Moms, you have the power to beat the tug of war with your child. Don't budge when you know your rules are good for the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of your child. Keep your own weaknesses in check.
Stand firm!

    Last, but not least, do make sure to hug and praise all three of your children.  Try to keep a balance of your affection and the way you treat all of them.  But make opportunities to encourage your oldest child and to build his self image.  Show him you are proud of him and the good things he accomplishes.  The way your husband treats your son will likely have lasting effects throughout his life, but the encouragement and love you give him will also have lasting effects.  I hope your husband will see that the boy needs him to be a daddy and needs his approval.

    Let us think of our children as the prized flowers in our family garden.  Their beauty and purity are blessings to be loved and protected from weeds that find their way into the garden and seek to destroy or smother their character and growth.  

    My personal thanks to the Our Hope Online reader who created the opportunity for this article by sharing her problem, and I lovingly encourage her to seek counsel from Christians who can help, or can recommend someone who can help her husband and her to work through these problems before it is too late for their marriage and for their son.



I Saw a Child

by Leo Rogol (1969)

What I saw was not what one reads about children in story books and poems:  It was not the beauty of childish innocence; the simple trusting faith in something big, wide and wonderful; a child roaming the fields with his beloved dog, searching out the marvelous mysteries and wonders of nature. Though I thank my Lord that I can still see these, I am saddened by what I see more and more each day.  But these children I am telling about, I actually saw myself.

I saw a girl, about the age of eleven, leaving home dressed as if she were training in the art of prostitution.  Cheap, vulgar and sexy standards were permitted by her mother and father.  Her clothing was a shame to the very name of "Modesty." Yes, I see hundreds of such going to school, to parties and elsewhere, destroying the God-given beauty of childhood by the cheap and vulgar attire and make-up.  I saw an older girl who was the victim of her parents' permissive up-bringing, who was forever ruined by the vicious act of rape, a shattered mind and body through drug addiction, and many other abuses.

I saw a boy, about fourteen, chased by the police because he stole several cartons of cigarettes from a neighborhood grocery.  I saw him after he was caught and checked over -- defiant, foul-mouthed, with only ugly contempt for the law officers who apprehended him.  I also saw a boy, about nine, with a switch-blade knife and boasting of his skill in its use.

I saw so many young boys and girls living in a lewd manner in a "hippie colony" like a pack of wild animals, stripped of pride and decency, honor and integrity.

I saw a child, of those professing to be Christians roaming the streets while their parents were on the way to
services of the church.  If these children are not taught to obey God and parental authority which demands they should be brought up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4), then there is not much authority for which they are taught to show respect.  If these children are not taught to show respect for God's authority, which is the highest of all, how can they be expected to respect civil authority (Romans 13:1), or even parental authority (Ephesians 6:1)?

This is not the end of all the tragedy that I saw among these children.  This but the beginning.  The suffering and remorse -- the lives ruined cannot all be told on this page.

But then I saw a mother, who feared for the lack of respect for law and order in our society.  I saw a father, who complained that our government failed to take corrective measure to curb violence, rioting, looting, bloodshed that has swept as a devouring fire across the nation.  Yes, I saw parents who were responsible for allowing their children to develop into law-breakers, allowing them to show disrespect for law and order, allowing their children (even encouraging them) to engage in sinful, immoral acts, then blaming our government for their own failures at home!  I see and hear church members complaining about church problems, yet allowing their children to develop into undesirable church members.  What better kind of church do we expect than that made up of people corrupted by the pollutions of the world?

What I saw can be multiplied by the thousands: What I saw has been seen by thousands of others.  When these sad cases are multiplied by so many thousands, is it any wonder that the whole nation become influenced?  the basic unit of our society is the home.  Destroy moral and spiritual standards in the home and this evil reflects in the whole society. Multiply this type of home environment by the thousands and you have the answer to all the lawlessness and unrest in our nation.  No government OF THE PEOPLE can accomplish any more FOR THE PEOPLE than the basic units of its society, the homes, are willing to accomplish.  There is always room for improvements in our government, as there is in any area of our lives, but the government cannot substitute for the home.  No matter how good a government we have, it can never amend the breakdown of the moral and spiritual standards of the home.

And this same principle is true in the church.  How weak or strong is the church depends on the weakness or strengths of the individual members who make up the church.  If we complain about the ills of the church, it is, in reality, the cry of a guilty conscience of those who fail to live up to the demands of the gospel, by which and upon which each Christian stands, and by which and upon which the church stands.

Yes, we want to see a healthy society and a strong church.  But this will be only when the little girl is taught by her parents to behave as a little girl should; when that boy who was caught stealing is taught, at home, true principles of honesty and virtue; when boys and girls all over the land will have the security of good, sound and proper parental discipline at home. The home, then, is the first place to look for the problems which cause the effects of lawlessness.  This is not a political issue to be tossed about by candidates.  It is an issue that must be faced at home.  The problems of the nation are the problems of the home.  What kind of children are seen in your home?



A child is........

A butterfly in the wind,
Some can fly higher than others;
but each one flies the best it can.
Why compare one against the other?

Each one is different!
Each one is special!
Each one is beautiful!

Author unknown


the "don'ts" are selected off the internet/the "do's" are mine (Pat Gates)

Don'ts and Do's: 


Don't spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all I ask for; I'm only testing you.
Do tell me "no" at times for I need to learn to be content.

Don't be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it... it makes me feel more secure.

Do give me the security of being able to lean on your wisdom.


Don't correct me in front of people if you can help it. I'll take much more notice if you talk to me in private.

Do remember to correct me if you have to wait to do so in privacy. I won’t learn to behave if you forget or don’t want to bother with it later.

Don't make me feel that my mistakes are sins.

Do teach me the correct way in patience and love.

Don't be too upset if I say "I hate you." It isn't that I hate you, but only that I need your attention.

Do understand sometimes I say, “I hate you,” because I’m trying to make you feel bad so that you will break down and give me what I want.

Don't protect me from consequence. I need to learn the hard way.

Do be there to support me emotionally.

Don't take too much notice of my small ailment. Sometimes they get me the attention I want.

Do give me the pat, kiss, or hug I may need, but try not to over baby me. This will help me get over much bigger problems I will have to face in the future.
Don't make rash promises. Remember that I feel badly let down when promises are broken.

Do keep your promises so I can learn to trust you. If you forget to keep a promise, apologize to me.

Don't forget that I cannot explain myself as well as I should like. This is why I'm not always accurate.

Do understand sometimes I don’t understand what you are telling me. When I’m young I take your words literally and sometimes I will misinterpret you.

Don't be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose my faith in you.

Do understand it’s very important to me as I grow up to always know you will follow through with what you say.

Don't put me off when I ask you questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere.

Do answer my questions as best you can and it’s OK to say, “I don’t know.” Perhaps we can find out the answer together.

Don't tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real and you can do much to try to understand.

Do help me to find helpful ways to get over my fears and be patient with me.

Don't ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I discover that you are neither.

Do apologize when I see you do wrong. It teaches me humbleness and helps me learn to apologize.

Don't forget that I can't thrive without lots of love.

Do love me in word and action. I like lots of hugs, teaching, listening, and discipline when I need it.


Children Learn What They Live

  • Do you love the Bible?
  • Do you love God's people?
  • Do you pray?
  • Do you meet with the saints on Sunday and during the week?
  • Are you patient?
  • Do you help others?
  • Are you friendly?
  • Are you unselfish?
  • Do you say no to sin?
  • Are you thankful?
  • Do you find joy in the good in this life?
  • Do you say the words, "I love you?"
  • Do you love?
  • Do you apologize for wrong doing?
  • Do you hate sin?
  • Do you cleave to good?
  • Do you love wisdom and pray for it?

If you responded with a "no" to any of these questions, will your child learn what he lives?



I longed to write a poem of the rail fence heaped with snow;
Instead, I baked a cherry pie, because David liked them so.

I longed to paint a picture of the pear tree, white with bloom;
Instead, I made a braided rug to brighten Martha's room.

I longed to sing a lilting song before youth and dreams had flown,
Instead, I bathed Joan's bleeding knee and smoothed a bandage on.

I'll never do those dream doll things, I've waited far too long,
Now David writes, Martha paints, and Joan sings a happy song.

Laona Rochelle


1. Reinforce your love -- say the words I love you
2. Be careful not to criticize; describe a better way.
3. Remember that children often relfect what they have or have not been taught.
4. Teach the principles of "why," not just "what" to do or not to do.
5. Listen to them, a lot. Avoid interrupting. Give them your undivided attention.



Parents, be aware that many teenagers are now taking nude photos of themselves or others, sending them on their cell phones or posting them online. A high school resource officer estimated two thirds of the students in his school probably have an indecent picture of themselves or someone else on their phone. This is called sexting. While your child may never do such a thing, they may be exposed to it as friends may be sharing pictures. This is yet one more evil our children are being tempted with, today.
Talk to your children about this. Let them know you are aware this is happening in the schools and if your child is living in your house, it is your right to check out their phone. You may want to let them know you will have periodic phone checks and tell them in a loving way this is to protect them as all of us, including parents, are tempted and stumble. If they want to play the "You don't trust me" card or the "It's my life and you're invading my privacy" card, don't back down; the simple fact is none of us can be trusted 100% and while you can allow them their privacy when you are able to do so, you are also responsible before God to make sure sin is not in your house. Read the story of Eli to your child and let them know God holds you responsible to make sure you are doing all you can as a loving mother who cares about their child's soul. Sure, they may get angry, but it will pass. True godly love always conquers, remember that.  -Pat



Family Feelings

Dee Bowman

I grew up in a loving family. My dad was quiet, but strong of character. My mom was more gregarious, but also of strong character. I don’t remember when we didn’t attend the worship services with those who shared our commonality in Christ. I remember when my little brother laid on a pallet between the benches (they weren’t near good enough to be called “pews”) and how we later went to classes on the Lord’s Day with the others our age. We had Sunday dinner for almost everyone—sometimes twenty or thirty—because we felt close to all of them. I never doubted, even for a minute, my parents’ love for me—even when I was being disciplined (and there was a considerable amount of that!).

I enjoyed my growing up years with my brothers, singing, playing baseball on vacant lots, watching Hopalong Cassidy or Roy Rogers or Lash LaRue or The Three Mesquiteers at the old Rose Theatre on Saturday afternoons, playing “kick back” with a football in the unpaved street in front of our house and running after one another in a “replay” of the Saturday matinee just as the sun began to hide behind the horizon in the evening.

My mom and dad were very supportive of our school activities and left no doubt that we were to do the best we could, no matter the subject (even in math!). We worked at it, even if just because we loved them and didn’t want to disappoint them.

It was hard to see them leave this life; but I never had any doubt about their destination. My dad just dropped dead in the hall (I know now it was a blessing how he went); and my mom just went to sleep one night and died (she still lived alone at 89 years old). I still miss them. Sometimes when I pass the mirror I see them in my own visage. I’m kind of glad. It reminds me that something of them still lives in me. I sure hope to see them again one day when we’ll all be better and can love even more. And for as long as we want.

I love my own family. I’m not sure that I’ve given them all the memories I had, but then maybe their memories are sweet like mine and refreshing to contemplate once in a while. I’ve loved them all the way. I remember when Russ was born and how proud I was. He was sort of pudgy and didn’t look much like me, but I could tell he was mine the first time he cried (he nearly took the roof off the hospital). I turned around about three times and it was Little League, about three more times and it was college, about three more times and I was hearing him preach the gospel, about three more times and there was Tracy, then Haley, then Tori, and now—who knows? He sure has made me proud.

I remember looking through a two-paned window at the hospital’s birthing unit seeing a red, wiggling little thing as the nurse pointed to her and mouthed the words, “It’s yours!” I was shocked at her being a girl; there weren’t any girls in my family. Then one day she rode off on a pink bicycle, one with little plastic strings hanging from the handle bars and a purple basket on front, her pony tail flittering behind. Then one day she rode away to school, then to the university. Now she’s a teacher, somewhat like her daddy, but probably better. And she writes little children’s stories. And she’s always been a joy to Norma and me.

We are family at Southside. I have lots of memories of our family here, some good, some not. I remember when Jared was born, and when Matt and Rene got married. I remember when Chuck Durham can to learn with us, and Lawrence Kelly, and how Jason stuttered so when he first came. I remember godly men—men of influence in our family—men like Brother Summers and Rex Cottle, and Jim I’Anson and G.W. O’Neal (he once referred to someone’s automobile during his announcements as a “Pyotie”). I remember when I first loaned Bro. Usrey the $5 he still owes me. I remember lots of happy times, lots of sad times, lots of time of anxiety and pain, lots of times of consternation and regret because some beloved brother or sister left the family for the world. It still hurts to think about it sometimes.

We are family. I’m glad. The concept of family is one of the richest biblical descriptions of the Lord’s church. We’re together in this most important enterprise of all, God’s family.

It is a joy to be with the family in reunions such as we are having today. A joy to commune with the saints. All of it, mind you, is done together for we are family, the family of God, one in Christ Jesus. Enjoy.





A mother speaks of her grown son marrying a good, loving woman but disappointed in the lack of close relationship with daughter in law: "We are going to overlook the things that cause pain when we don't get the time with our son that what we want. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 4:8 that love covers over a multitude of sins. I imagine it also covers over a multitude of expectations. We'll pray for them to grow as a couple, and we'll delight in God's miracle that two perfectly matched people have chosen to serve God together." by Carolyn Klepfer, Coffee Can Wait  www.troubledwith.com


"Love both gives and receives and in giving it receives."
"The older I get the more I realize I have little control over life's circumstances -- and other people. But I do have control over what I choose to focus on, and that greatly affects my attitude and my ability to solve the problem. - 64 year old mother
"It doesn't hurt to be optimistic. You can always cry later."
"Things that matter most, must never be at the mercy of things that matter the least."
"We move through life in such a distracted way that we do not even take the time and rest to wonder if any of the things we think, say, and do are worth thinking, saying, and doing."
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Phil. 4:8-9



"I would like to see the subject addressed about adult children refusing to contact or have anything to do with their parents or any family members.  All involved are attending church services faithfully and very involved in the work of the Lord.  Every attempt on the parents have been made to contact this son/daughter and to seek the help from elders/preachers/faithful members and still nothing.  
Won't this son/daughter's soul be lost?  I have even heard an Elder state that this son/daughter does not have to contact you at all if he doesn't want to.  I don't believe the bible teaches that it is okay to treat your brother/sister in Christ in this manner.  I would appreciate hearing what the bible has to say on this subject.  This is also a prevalent problem out in the world, as well."

When Your Adult Child Doesn't Call

Pat Gates

Thank you for writing in. This is an important question and before I begin to address this problem I need to state what I won't do: I'm not going to speak about this specific incidence, except for one *suggestion. I don't believe it wouldn't be wise to do so, seeing I don't know the entire story, as well as the fact it isn't my place to address the elder's thoughts. What I will discuss is:

  • Adult children's responsibility to parents.
  • Parent's responsibility to their adult children.
  • What should a mother do when her children don't call.

In regards to the adult child's soul being in danger, every situation is different as there are so many scenarios to consider. I will discuss this more in the followup article next month.

Because there are a variety of mothers and daughters who read Our Hope, I'm going to try and address an assortment of personalities. It's up to us to examine ourselves and see if there is anything we need to change in order to gain a better relationship with our children/parents at the present time as well as in the future.

*I, myself, would not go to the elders about my child not calling. I believe it would be counterproductive as it could bring about embarrassment and anger to the adult child and may cause even more separation.

Possible Reasons Why A Child Doesn't Call

(With solutions directed at mother and daughter. I realize sons are involved as well, but this site is directed to women.)

Children are too busy and self-focused. This can happen to the faithful if we aren't careful. Young adults are busy building their lives and taking care of the needs of their family and they allow time to go by without thinking of the needs and desires of their parents.

♦ Daughter: It's great if you have learned to be independent and responsible. Your parents are proud of this. However, your parents are also a responsibility given to you by God. "Honor your father and mother." It's so easy to forget the unselfish years of love and service your parents gave to you. I don't believe you should now give them attention out of obligation, but rather out of love with the idea of honoring who they are and their devotion to you, especially if they are Christians and taught you the will of God. "Even parents who seem to be completely independent would like to be remembered and included in small but meaningful ways. You may not realize it, but the 'ball' or momentum of the relationship is almost always in your court as an adult child, especially if you lead a busy life."  Susan Newman, Ph.D

♦ To the mother: When you were young were you guilty of being too self-focused? It is a temptation of youth, so try and be patient, and while it's easy to feel hurt, most young people are not trying to purposely hurt their parents. Don't withdraw your affection or communication with them, even though it may be tempting to think, "If they don't contact me, why should I contact them." I don't believe you should over-contact them, nor should you constantly remind them they don't call as this will only create bad feelings and a greater lack of contact, but stay in contact with them now and then by phone calls, letters, emails and such. Hopefully maturity will take place eventually and they'll learn priorities. If this doesn't happen, you can't force them to give you time so you need to find other things to fill your thoughts and time. Dwelling on the lack of communication will only make it worse for you.

Self-focused Mothers:  (1) There are mothers who have lived their life for their children and once they "leave the nest," these mothers feel lost as they have not been developing a relationship with their husband and with other Christians, nor have they been involved with any personal activities that didn't involve their children. Because of this, they feel hurt when their child doesn't pay them back for all they've done and they expect their child to feel the same loneliness they are feeling.

(2) Some mothers may have a histrionic or narcississtic personality. While they hadn't fulfilled their child's needs because they were so self-focused, they feel angry and hurt if their children don't fulfill their desires. They live for attention and compliments, even though they themselves don't give their children this because they are in competition with everyone, even their children.

Ignorance. Children are ignorant of how their parents feel; they don't know the empty feeling a lack of contact can bring.

Daughters: Try to put yourself in your parent's shoes and imagine yourself one day with grown children. Try to feel the emotion of your children not contacting you.

Mothers: While your child's ignorance of your feelings is not a good excuse, you can at least chalk it up to the immaturity of the child and try not to take it personal. Instead of giving them hints about not hearing from them or suffering in silence tell them, in a kind manner, that you love them and miss them and would like to have a nice talk now and then. If they still ignore you, you can't force the issue; don't nag them because it will only make the situation worse. Also, try not to get overly emotional when they finally call. What you see as hurt feelings, they may see as you trying to put guilt on them. Frankly, after we do what we can, we just have to learn to live with the situation in the best way we can. We pray about it, stay in contact any way we can, and always have our heart open for our children. No, it's not fair, but unfortunately, this is how it is in many adult/child relationships.

Selfishness. Some people are just selfish and that's all there is to it. They think of their desires and are so self-focused, the feelings of others don't matter.

Mother and Child: We need to examine ourselves honestly and see if we fall into this category; if so, we need to begin looking outside ourselves. If the parent or child doesn't change, there's no way we can force them to; the best plan is to be unselfish ourselves and be a good example. Again, don't nag.

Son-in-law or daughter-in-law: In some cases the problem in a lack of contact may be the child's spouse. Often a child will give in to his spouse's wish and if their spouse doesn't want to spend time with his/her in-laws, then the child will go along, rather then get into an argument with his/her spouse

Daughters: Women, you are to be in subjection to your husbands, however, you are to honor your parents. If your husband refuses to visit your parents, if you are able to, then please visit. If not, call, write, or email and remind them of your love and care. Don't nag your husbands and continually argue with him about his decision to stay away, nor should you side with your parents against your husband. Keep being a good example of a meek and quiet spirit for this will help heal wounds and provide more hope for a reconciliation in the future.

Daughter-in-laws: Your husband is to honor his parents just as you are to honor your's and, in reality, both sets of parents should be honored by the husband and the wife.

Mothers: Keep in contact with your child, if possible. Be kind to your son-in-law/daughter-in-law. "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger," Proverbs 15:1. Don't try to get your child to side with you by cutting down his/her spouse; not only will this backfire on you, but you don't want to ever encourage marital problems.

History of Verbal Conflicts: Stay off topics that will initiated arguments. It doesn't take much to spark the fire of past heated discussions. I realize there are serious topics a parent or child must talk about, but do so with wisdom and love. Unfortunately, there are also many topics that are brought up again and again that have nothing to do with any physical or spiritual harm; if these topics cause distress, why bring them up? The mother/daughter relationship is much more important than making your point over and over again.  

Daughters: Parents often mellow with age. They have learned through experience and, hopefully, spiritual maturity that so much of what they use to get upset about just doesn't matter anymore. Often they become less judgmental and patient with the mistakes of others. Also, you are growing in experience and spiritual maturity and practicing more patience with your parents' quirks or mistakes should be part of your work in gaining a better relationship with your parents. Time to put away childish things.

Mothers: You are the mature one; remember that. You are the one God has commanded to teach your children what is right.

Mother being controlling, over-bearing and too opinionated: Perhaps the young couple does want a good relationship with the parents but whenever they get together, to be blunt, the mothers can't keep their mouth shut. They may criticize the way the couple is handling their money or how they're raising their children. The mother may correct how her daughter or daughter in law cooks and cleans house. Fathers may also constantly correct their sons and show their disappointment in them.

"Parental intimacy, encouragement, nurturing and support--crucial while you were growing up--can be beneficial in adulthood as well, but they can also feel “smothering” when parents don’t respect your separateness." Susan Newman, Ph.D

Daughters: Try to keep your cool and talk calmly to your mother about allowing you to grow up and take care of your household. Tell her she was a good teacher but you may do things a little different or you want to try it your way and if it doesn't work out, then you've gained wisdom. Keep listening to wise counsel. and try not to interpret it as criticizing. Often mothers remember their mistakes when they were young women and they are trying to prevent you from making the same mistakes. However, sometimes they forget you are a woman and may talk to you like you are still a child; if this happens, thank them for their counsel but remind them you are also a woman now in charge of taking care of your household.

Mothers: Timing is everything; wait until your child initiates the conversation about a topic you have been wanting to discuss with her and offer your opinion, but do so in a humble way as you would do to any other adult woman. You raised her to be a good "keeper of the home," so allow her to be so. It is good for our children to be capable, on their own, to take care of their own household. If you keep your thoughts to yourself then your child will be more willing to go to you for help when she needs you. I realize there are times you may have to speak up, but only do so if you see physical or spiritual danger and speak with kindness and humbleness, as you would do with any adult woman.

In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. Prov. 10:19

Lack of sensitivity to each other:  "Be thoughtful and inclusive. It’s not only what you and your parents do together that makes a difference. It’s also the way you think about and respect each other. In your adult child-parent friendship with so many elements and so much history working together, the intangibles are the true binding factor: how sensitive you are to each other, your capacity to listen and your ability to suspend judgment--the very same traits so treasured in a peer who is your friend." Susan Newman Ph.D

Daughters: Mothers are only human. They feel pain, just like you do. Hurtful words and lack of communication are upsetting, just as they would upset you. There are some mothers who never complain and they choose not to display their inner pain; they are trying not to cause any more tension in the relationship. These mothers, however, are not immune from feeling sad and disappointed when their child is not sensitive to their needs and desires.

Mothers: "Tensions may be more upsetting to parents than to children because parents have more invested in the relationship. Parents are also concerned with launching their children into successful adulthood," - Diane Swanbrow." Mothers, your children are not there to fulfill all your desires and to live your dreams. Be sensitive to their emotions and dreams. Listen, learn, and encourage.

Physical/Mental Illness of Parent: (This article is not dealing with the physical care of parents; we are assuming the parent has the physical help they need.) If a child grew up with an ill parent it may be an emotional and confusing time when she becomes an adult and has her own family. There may be a sense of relief and freedom that is different than other adult children and, at the same time, guilt and sadness she is not there to help her parent. There are conflicting emotions she may need to work out. There may also be ignorance of her parent's condition even though she lived with it for years. Children don't tend to research what is actually going on with the disease process and they may make judgments about their parent from what they observe, which sometimes gives an inaccurate accounting of what is actually going on.

To the daughter: Educate yourself about your parent's illness. Don't just go on what you have observed, if you don't know the actual disease process and symptoms. This will help in understanding why your parent acts in the way she does and will help you with patience as well as knowing not only the physical needs of your parent, but the emotional. You may also want to join a support group of persons who have the same condition and hear what they have to say. If your parent has mental illness, you can learn ways to better communicate and if there has been relationship problems, educating yourself by reading and attending support groups will give you tools to help in communication and your own emotions, past and present.

Having an ill parent does not excuse you from communicating. If your parent is homebound, she especially needs and wants to know her children love her, care for her and understand her. She lives with guilt and sadness that she is not able to give her children and grandchildren what she would like to.

If your parent has mental illness the same holds true. However, there may be cases where wisdom must be used; if your parent has brain damage due to injury or disease and burst of anger and violence ensue, then you may have to limit your children's visits and don't leave them alone with the parent. But be sure to explain to your child that their grandparent can't help their actions. Even in this scenario or in cases of Alzheimers when the parent doesn't recognize her own family, communication of the child and grandchild would be good.

Now, with all this said, there are still cases that may not fit into what I just said. There may be cases when communication may be dangerous for your family or for whatever reason may cause harm. Every situation is different. You must examine if this is truly the case and not just an excuse, but if it is a real situation, try not to feel guilty, but do what you can to protect your family. You and your children can keep your parent in your prayers (this will help your child to understand your love for your parent) and ask God if there is a way to have communication to help you understand this as you want to honor your parent. God will provide opportunity if this is the case.

The important thing is to keep your heart right, even if you were neglected as a child. Remember, your parent could not help her condition; she may not tell you her sadness in her inability to spend more time and energy on you, so please be patient and understanding. Don't feel unnecessary guilt if you are doing all you can. There are mothers out there who may feel so sorry for themselves they become too demanding on their children and try and create guilt in them. Just do the best you can and recognize your parent's illness is not your fault, nor should it overwhelm your thoughts and time (again, we are assuming the parent's physical needs are taken care of). At the same time, illness is not an excuse to ignore your parents and misjudge them, but rather recognize their needs and desire to be in contact, even if it is difficult for them to do so. And for those of you who may be in a dangerous situation with communicating with your parent, use wisdom and continually pray for your parent and be ready to help when you can.

I need to add one more thing. A parent who is ill has more needs and while her physical needs may be taken care of, she has emotional needs that she may or may not make known. She is lonely and often may only have her family for comfort. This is not said to make you feel overburdened or guilty, just keep this in mind in loving thoughts. Unless the mother is physically or mentally incapable of doing so, your mom would be there in person or on the phone, as soon as she could, if you became ill. A mother's needs are the same. The least little attention and kind words from her child mean so much.

To the mother: I would say the same things that were mentioned in last month's suggestions, according to the personalities involved. A couple of things to add is (1) You are not alone, if your children don't understand you. Unfortunately, this is normal. Just learn to live with it and if you find an opportunity to help education without being pushy, take advantage of it. (2) Don't constantly talk about your illness. Try not to be negative or whiney even if you feel bad everytime you talk with your child. There may be times when you are so ill you need to talk about your condition, but if that isn't the case, try and be upbeat. Dealing with children and living with illness creates unfair scenarios sometimes, but the unfairness of the situation needs to be put aside if you want to continue to have a good relationship and communication.

Abusive parents: I am not speaking of parents with mental illness due to brain injury or disease. This section will deal with parents who are free of disease, are capable of making choices and have the capacity of practicing self-control. These are parents who have either verbally, emotionally, physically, or sexually abused their child on a regular basis when the child was growing up. I am not including parents who have made mistakes in ignorance and perhaps have deprived their child of some helpful emotional tools to build character, I'm speaking of ABUSE. This includes overt neglect, verbally tearing down the child, beatings (not self-controlled reasonable spankings), and sexual perversions. What obligations does the adult child have if she grew up in abuse?

Should an adult child who was abused contact her abusive parent? First of all, every case is different. I don't believe there is a right answer of "yes" or "no" as to whether an abused child should keep communication open with her parent. Abuse, especially physical and sexual, always creates emotional difficulties for the rest of the child's life. Even for those adult children who have grown into faithful, strong individuals and have learned to live with their past in the best way possible, the past is always there.

Daughters: I'm not going to give an answer to this question because I don't know your situation. Several things need to be considered: Is there still danger? Would there be danger to you or your children? How is your emotioanl stability at this point? Is your parent truly sorry and are you forgiving? If it is "just" verbal or emotional abuse and no physical danger involved, can you open communication and practice love with self-control and wisdom, not allowing verbal attacks to weaken you spiritually?

This is a very difficult queston to answer concerning communication and abuse. I've know children who had a parent who gave them nothing but grief but still gave their mother the physical and emotioanl needs she needed. I believe this is a beautiful, loving, godly attitude, well acceptable before God. And yet there may be some cases, where "yes, keep communication open" may not be the right choice. I have learned, even in Christian families, there are extreme, almost unbelievable situations out there and that makes answering "yes" to all situations difficult to answer.

If there was physical or sexual abuse involved, first of all do not ever allow your child to be alone around your parent. Even if they have apologized, if you were physically and/or sexually abused as a child, you know how vulnerable children can be so why take a chance on your child. There may be some cases where it is safe for you and your child to be around your parent and still other cases where it may not be safe for either one of you and communication may need to take place on the phone or by email. Still, in other cases, cutting off communication may have to take place. Sexual abuse is a great evil and one in which wisdom needs to be used.

Don't feel guilty for your parent's evil and sin against you and God. Their sin is not your's. Grow in the strength, love and comfort of your Lord, knowing the beauty of righeousness. If your parent asks forgiveness, forgive, but at the same time, use wisdom with your communication and your children's. Forgiveness doesn't mean to open yourself or your child up to an abusive situation.

Mothers: If you or your husband abused your child, you MUST be patient with your child's fears, anger, and possible rejection of you. After-all, what do you expect?! The damage has been great. If you desire communication, you must be truly sorry of your sin. You must recognize your sin, admit it, see the ugliness and horror it presented, no matter how painful it is for you to see it, asked God's forgiveness and strength, and finally ask forgiveness of your child. If your child will not forgive, give her time, live righteously, be a good example, keep your door open to communication, understand the emotions of your child and the fears they may have for their child. If you have admitted your wrong and ask forgiveness from your child, don't push for a relationship. Send birthday cards etc. but don't press forgiveness and communication.

If you were a mother who did not abuse your child but enabled it, expect anger. If you are sorry, ask for forgiveness from God and from your child. Understand the deep emotional impact the abuse made on your child and be patient. Pray for your child, communicate however you can, without being pushy. If your child is afraid to bring their children to see you because you are living with your abusive husband, understand this would be perfectly normal and probably wise of your child not to bring their children. See if they'll agree to a visit at their house or a restaurant etc.

If you are a mother who tried to stop the abuse and did stop it, try and understand the terrible emotional impact the abuse made on your child. Try not to take their emotional problems to heart in the sense of being overwhelmed with guilt. If you did not allow the abuse or enable it, you are not to be blamed. Be patient. Communicate however you can. Pray. Time may heal the wounds to were your child can separate you from the abuse, not in the sense they may blame you, but in the feelings that may be aroused within them.

Christians/Non-Chrisitans: There may be spiritual concerns that interfere with an adult child contacting her parents. If her parents are not Christians and their language, or alcohol intake, or lifestyle may be harmful to the grandchildren, this may cause a separation. If the parents are religious and involved in false doctrine and try to impress that on the grandchildren, this may be a cause of a lack of communication. If the parents are unfaithful Christians, perhaps they need to be (scripturally) disciplined, but loving encouragement is always a good thing.

If you are the parent, examine yourself in these things, knowing the harm you may be causing in your relationship with your child and grandchildren. If you are the daughter, you may indeed need to protect your children from any spiritual or physical harm, but if you can keep communication open by phone that could make a positive impact on not only your relationship, but your parent's souls. 

Now there are situations when the parents may not be Christians but they keep their beliefs to themselves and not try to impact the grandchildren. They may leave off drinking and foul language, knowing you don't approve, and in these cases communications need to stay open. The parents are trying and in the long run, open communication and the child's good example may lead the parents to the truth. It's been done many times. 


REMEMBER: you cannot force a relationship with estranged children, but you can leave the door of communication open.
  • Nag and continually place guilt on them. 
  • Make your child choose between his/her spouse and you.
  • Dwell on the problem and allow it to overwhelm your thoughts and emotions.
  • Criticize their spending, child raising, housework, career etc. If there is something very serious you must address, do so patiently and in love and don't nag.
  • Get your feelings hurt so easily. I know this may be tough sometimes, but you've got to build a thick, yet pliable, skin.
  • Have the idea your children owe you. Yes, we have done much for our children, but it was our love and our responsibility to do so. Hopefully our children will respect us and love us in return, but if we have the idea our children owe us, we'll continually be disappointed in the returns of our investment. Our love to our children should be unconditional and if they cut off communication, they need to know that our God-given love will never be cut off from them.
  • Expect your adult child to fill the void in your life.
  • Allow anger and resentment to destroy your relationship.
  • Give unsolicited advice.
  • Hold on to past mistakes and arguments.
  • Agree with any sinful practice your child may be involved in just to keep communication open. You are to continually bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
  • Continue to communicate in love and kindness.
  • Pray to God about your pain and ask for help for yourself and for your child.
  • Keep the door of communication open, even if you never hear from your children. They need to know you are not the one who shut down communication.
  • Be patient and understand that, hopefully, maturity will take place and your children will be more thoughtful.
  • Often communication grows when your children have children.
  • Examine yourself honestly and see if you may be the cause of the lack of communication.
  • Be willing to apologize for past mistakes or sin against your child and be willing to change.
  • Apologize if you catch yourself doing too much mothering and say it is hard to break the habit, but you'll keep trying.
  • Find your own life, if you haven't already done so. Your children are a part of your life but they should not be your entire life.
  • Build your relationship with your husband, church family, and friends.
  • Fill your time with thoughts on others.
  • Treat your adult children with the respect you give other adults.
  • Remember you are the mature one. Continue to bring your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
  • Tell your children you would like more communication because you love and miss them, but do so kindly and don't nag.
  • Decide your relationship with your child is more important than most disagreements.



What the Scriptures Have to Say About the Parent/Child Relationship

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deu. 6:4-6

Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD’s people transgress. If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?” Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the LORD desired to kill them. (1 Sam. 2:22-25) In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. 1 Sam. 3:10

Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king”; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. (And his father [king David pg] had not rebuked him at any time by saying, “Why have you done so?” He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after Absalom.) 1 Kings 1:5-6

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; And the law of kindness is on her tongue. She looketh well to the ways of her household, And eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children rise up, and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praiseth her, saying: Many daughters have done worthily, But thou excellest them all. Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; But a woman that feareth Jehovah, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; And let her works praise her in the gates. (Pro 31:26-31)

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord. Eph. 6:4

Fathers, provoke not your children, that they be not discouraged. Col. 3:21

 “ My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
   Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
   For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
   And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? Heb. 12:5-7

That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Titus 2:4-5

Greater joy have I none than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4 (Whether it be physical or spiritual children. pg)

Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved. 2 Cor. 12:14-15

 Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek, Acts 16:1. When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 2 Tim. 1:5

You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 1 Thess. 2:10-12

He said to them, All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me isCorban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, Mark 7:9-12

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,”which is the first commandment with promise: Eph. 6:1-2

Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Col. 3:20

But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. And these things command, that they may be blameless. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Tim. 5:4-8

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; Rom. 1:28-31

There is a generation that curses its father, And does not bless its mother. There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. There is a generation—oh, how lofty are their eyes! Prov. 30:11-13

‘Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ Deut. 27:16

Other Scriptures to Consider

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:31-32

Walk in love. Eph. 5:2

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor. 13:4-7

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Rom. 12:9-11

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Rom. 12:17-19

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Pet. 3:8-9

But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” Matt. 12:48-50


Teaching Children and Grandchildren
  By Micky Galloway

Proverbs 17:6 says, "Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers." Indeed, but with this crown comes responsibility. God commanded Israel to teach their children and their children's children. "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes saw, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life; but make them known unto thy children and thy children's children; the day that thou stoodest before Jehovah thy God in Horeb, when Jehovah said unto me, Assemble me the people, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children." (Deuteronomy 4:9-10)

Over and over again, the law emphasized this responsibility (Deuteronomy 6:6ff; 20ff; Deuteronomy 31:9-13, etc.). The Passover observance was to be a means of reminding their children of God’s great works (Exodus 12:24ff). The twelve stones that Joshua set up in Gilgal as a memorial of God’s parting the Jordan River, thus enabling the people to enter the promised land, (Joshua 4:20ff) were to remind them of the great things God had done for Israel. To teach these great lessons they must talk with their children, as well as teach them by example. Yet, we read in Judges 2:10, "And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, that knew not Jehovah, nor yet the work which He had wrought for Israel."

It is disturbing when children and grandchildren of faithful brethren never obey the gospel or, as soon as they are away from their parents’ rule, forsake the Lord and His church. This weighs heavy on my mind, especially because I am a parent, and now a grandparent, who above everything else I want for my family, wants them to love and serve God all their lives. I want to be able to provide for them the physical necessities of life, but if they forsake the Lord, surely I must examine myself to see if I did everything I should to provide for them spiritually (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4; Matthew 16:26). During a recent conversation with my son-in-law, as I looked into the precious face of Kaitlyn (our granddaughter), I asked, "Doesn't it become easy now to answer the question, 'What would you give to protect and provide for one so innocent and precious?''' He quickly and correctly responded, "Whatever it takes!" Indeed, most would be willing to sacrifice their lives in a moment for their children, but are we willing to sacrifice the time necessary to teach them and set before them a lifetime of consistent examples?

Paul described Timothy as one of "unfeigned faith..., which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice..." (2 Timothy 1:5). It was because of the faithfulness of his mother and grandmother, who taught him the Scriptures from the time that he was a "babe," that he became "wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:15) This is not to suggest that one who was not reared by a godly family cannot become a Christian, but it certainly would be more difficult. Nor does it diminish from the fact that salvation is an individual choice. However, I am persuaded that one reason why we may be losing our young people to the world is that parents (and grandparents) are failing in their responsibility to consistently train unto godliness "FROM A BABE."

The apostle Paul, who considered himself Timothy's spiritual father, gave him specific instructions and warnings to prevent him from casting aside his faith:

  1. Be godly (1 Timothy 4:7-8), devout, and sincere, rather than just going through the motions;
  2. Trust in God (1 Timothy 4:10);
  3. Be a faithful example to others in all areas of life (1 Timothy 4:12);
  4. Be completely dedicated in faith, as opposed to serving half-heartedly (1 Timothy 4:13-15);
  5. Take heed to thyself and the doctrine; that is, practice what you believe and preach (1 Timothy 4:16);
  6. Flee sin and follow after righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11);
  7. Keep the commandments until the day of the Lord (1 Timothy 6:14);
  8. Do not be ashamed of your faith, nor the gospel; be bold (2 Timothy 1:8,11-14);
  9. Be diligent (2 Timothy 2:15).

Today’s children (and grandchildren) need to hear and give heed to these things. Dangers are ever present.

  • It is possible for our children to believe certain things, just because Mom and Dad believe them, instead of having individual conviction that must be "learned" of God (John 6:44-45) through knowledge of the Scriptures. True faith comes when an individual hears and believes (Romans 10:17). Too many are not converted to Christ, or else are in error, simply because they choose to carry on the "family religion."

  • It's easy to take faithfulness for granted if we assume that just because our grandparents and parents were faithful, we are too. Please note the individuality of faithfulness. "... the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." (Ezekiel 18:20) The Bible clearly teaches that we can fall from grace, no matter how good the environment in which we were reared (Galatians 5:4; 1 Corinthians 10:12).

  • Some never learn true commitment to Christ. They view being a Christian as having been baptized and attending worship services, but Scripture speaks of the church as "subject to Christ." (Ephesians 5:24) "Subject" is a military term meaning "to line up under," and denotes complete submission and obedience to authority.

  • Some fail to personally study God's Word. Christians, from the beginning, must "long for the spiritual milk..." (1 Peter 2:2), so they may grow in faith. We may admit our lack of Bible knowledge and hunger and thirst to obtain it; but some who are "raised in the church" may think they already "know" all they need to know without personal study.

  • Parents can become lax and not diligent in providing proper spiritual training (Cf. Ephesians 6:1-4). Taking our children to worship, as important as it is, is not a substitute for providing a godly atmosphere at home, with regular Bible study coupled with a good example. The "do as I say, not as I do" approach does not influence our children to serve God.

Israel failed to properly teach its children, and the next generation did not "know Jehovah, nor yet the work which he had wrought for Israel." Therefore, they did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah. We ARE teaching our children, both verbally and by example, but WHAT are we teaching them? Certainly, the next generation will tell.

It takes time to do the job well. Read the words of Helen M. Young, from the poem "Children Won't Wait."

I will not exchange this birthright for a mess of pottage called social position, or business or professional reputation, or a paycheck. An hour of concern today may save years of heartache tomorrow. The house will wait, the dishes will wait, the new room can wait, but children won't wait... May I know that no other career is so precious, no other work so rewarding, no other task too urgent. May I not defer it nor neglect it, but by thy Spirit accept it gladly, joyously, and by Thy grace realize that the time is short and my time is now. For children WON'T wait."


November 2017