**Originally this was one blog...but when I finished it, I realized it was way too long. I have a tendency to write long blogs. So, I am breaking it into three. Marc and I are far from perfect parents, but we do try our best to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The following are things we have seen and learned in dealing with our own children, and in watching and learning from other parents trying to raise godly kids as well. So, with that said, here are nine steps to raising a societal menace, and of course, a few tips on how not to :-). Done in a tongue in cheek manner, because of course, none of us WANT to actually raise a child that is a menace to society.
1. Cater to their every whim...after all, they exist, therefore they deserve! By giving them everything they ever want, you teach them that there is no such thing as denial. They will come to expect the same treatment from other family members, friends, teachers, waiters, waitresses, sales clerks, future bosses, and anyone else providing them with any kind of service.
*Of course, you could choose to teach them that there are times when they can't, or for their own good shouldn't get their own way. Because after all, you are the parent that sees the broader picture. You as the parent might realize that after they have eaten so many sweets, another helping would not be good for them. So you teach them by telling them no. Or maybe it is something that they want to watch on television, that would be damaging to their spiritual life. So you as the parent, who has a more mature spiritual discernment, tell them that they can't watch it. They may not understand, but they don't have to. You have a God given authority to protect them.
2. Allow them to manipulate you, even when they are very young. This manipulation can come in various shapes and forms...like throwing tantrums until you give in, sulking or pouting, begging, sighing, crossing arms, rolling eyes, yelling, slamming doors, and in extreme cases even physical assault. Yes, allow them to manipulate you, and they quickly realize they are in control, and will use these forms of manipulation any time you dare to try to tell them, "No." They will also go on to try to manipulate all other authority figures in their lives.
*Or, you could make it extremely clear to the child that their manipulation techniques will not work, and will have the opposite effect. For example, the child wants a toy in the store. You tell the child no, for whatever reason. The child begins to try to manipulate you. You tell the child quietly and calmly, that you have already said no, and if they continue to (fill in with child's actions) then they will not only not get anything this trip to the store, but they won't get anything for the next two trips to the store either. Then put your money where your mouth is. It will only take a couple of times, for your child to know that you mean business. They will learn that you don't make deals. So the manipulation will end. At least for a while. They will lapse and try you from time to time. But each time, stick to your answer, and they will realize it's not worth it to try to manipulate you.
3. Be a buffer between them and anything that might make them uncomfortable. They must not feel pain emotional, or physical, but if they do, be sure to let them know just how unfair the source of their pain is, and how they have been wronged.
*Or, you could teach them that life is not always fair, but God is always good. And that the trial they may be facing, is God working in their life to make them a stronger, better person. They might not make the best grades, so they become a little more responsible, and study a little (or a lot) harder. They may not be the most athletic, so they work hard after hours to hone their skills, and during the game they learn to contribute in other ways, like being a good sport, or encouraging their teammates. Maybe they can't be the star of the show, but they can learn to do the behind the scenes things that make the show possible.
So...there's the first three...Three more to come soon...