Parental Rectitude & Children’s Attitude – By Yvonne Sam

Parental Rectitude & Children’s Attitude – By Yvonne Sam

It is not what you leave to your children, but what you leave in them.

The immediate question that I am throwing out to parents is “What is your child’s attitude really like?  Is he/ she generally a happy child?  Does he/ she honor Mom and Dad? Who do you think is responsible for developing his / her attitude?  The attitude that parents develop in their children

whether good or bad will come back in the future. So let us look at ways to properly develop your child’s attitude to impact not only its return but also the accompanying manifestations and repercussions.              

As parents we must first love our children, and not force them to love us, for in order to have a successful family relationship there has to be a loving bond between the child and his parents. This does not mean being permissive. Are fathers and mothers leading the family by developing a strong bond with their children? If all you do as a parent is discipline the child in the absence of love, then you will raise a hostile child who, when grown, will not be turned or tuned to Dad and Mom.

Another way in which to properly develop a child’s attitude is by teaching through example and instruction.  For example, from a religious stance when we as adults have a problem, we usually go to God and ask for help, seek the answer, and then take action, sincerely putting the answer into practice. Children receive an excellent example when they see parents take a problem directly to God and request his intervention. The biggest problem occurs when parents fail to seek God’s guidance. How can parents expect their children to do this if they fail to see them doing it?  Do children see the father as the head of the family with the mother fully supporting her husband?  Do not be deceived; children are excellent detectors of hypocrisy. If parents set the proper example early, the children will, in most cases, follow in their footsteps. Tragically, civilization is falling apart because families are falling apart. Many children speak evil of their own parents and think nothing of it. When they have problems, they inevitably want to blame their parents. But if we do our part, our children should want to please us out of deep love and respect.

Are our children being taught to respect the elderly? Currently our Western society has retrogressed to such a pitiful state that our elderly are being pushed aside, shamefully treated and ignored by young people. This should not be so. This world idolizes youth when it should be greatly esteeming the elderly! If our children are taught to respect the elderly, then the elderly can share much wisdom and advice with them. What about other guests, relatives and friends with whom we come into contact? Plainly put and factually stated, our children should respect all adults.

We must teach them to respect authority whether it be a teacher, a policeman or a neighbor. However, sad to report in our present immoral and permissive society, parents intervene when they should not. They “stick up” for their children even when they have done something abhorrent.  In days gone by, it used to be that if a child got in trouble at school, he/she was also in trouble when they returned home.

Today, teachers and other school officials are afraid to properly discipline children for fear of how the parents will react. Parents should stand behind and support other authority figures in their children’s lives. Our children are besieged with multitudinous negative influences from our society much worse than when we were growing up. When we teach our children, we should teach the how and why of our instruction so they will thoroughly understand it.

Placing children in certain school activities, music or dance lessons will also assist in making them well-rounded individuals.  Find out what are your children’s talents and abilities and then guide them in that direction. When your child is involved in games or sports activities, what is his/ her attitude like when they lose? Character means being a good sport. Certainly we should teach our children to strive to win and do the very best they can. Nonetheless, win or lose, they should have a good attitude about it. Then, as our children begin to succeed, they will become motivated children who desire to succeed later in life.

Discipline is of vital importance in developing a child’s attitude. When children are young, they should be taught the meaning of the word “no.” This simple two-letter word, in too many cases, is not properly adhered to.  As a parent you should only have to say no once; if the child does not obey, then that serves as your cue/invitation to properly train and correct the child. If we fail to react, the child thinks no is not a word to fear. This could result in much more serious consequences than if we had punished the child for disobeying. If the child knows that from the get go, “NO,” means NO you may even save him/her from a life-threatening situation.  For example, should the child wander away and begins running toward a busy intersection, “NO!” may be the only thing that can save him/ her. In such a situation, how thankful a parent would be that the child had been raised to fully understand what no meant.

Consistency is the key. If parents display inconsistency as regards following through on the no command, it only confuses the child and gives him the opportunity to disobey because he/she knows Dad or Mom probably would not follow through.  Additionally, this will also develop an attitude of resentment and rebellion because the child does not have definite guidelines to follow. Children, like adults, respond better to definite limits, or boundaries.

Rebellion in children requires parents to bring them under the law. Failing this, the child rather than the parent rules the household— a situation so common in many homes today, and one which parents fail to both recognize and accept. When a child breaks a rule because he resents authority, it is a serious problem which must be dealt with. We live in an age where we see many helpless parents openly challenged by their children. Young people need parents who care enough to challenge them when their behavior might lead to tragic consequences. On the other hand, parents have a God-given duty to provide their children the security of clearly established limits in behavior. Every child will challenge his parent at some point- a quasi-inescapable part of child rearing. When he/she does, as a parent you must rise to meet the challenge. Otherwise, the child knows he has won, and from henceforth the problems will be continuous and ongoing.

On a cautionary note, parents should not make the mistake of disciplining for every infraction.  We must always make sure that the punishment fits the crime. If a child’s attitude is one of anger, pouting, moodiness, disrespect—then it should be dealt with immediately.

After a child is punished for breaking a rule or disobeying a parent, he/she should be very repentant for what they did! If they are truly sorry, then you will soon see a happy child. If the child is not repentant after punishment occurs, we must stay with the correction until he/she does become repentant, no matter how long it takes. When a child’s attitude is still wrong after correction, that child’s attitude of rebellion has not been broken. There is resentment toward authority, either open or succinct, and it must be rooted out. If parents are unable to get their child/ children to properly fear them quickly, then they are in for a long lifetime of needless pain and suffering for all involved, especially the child. Too many parents, with their hectic lifestyles, are unwilling to take the time to first train their children in the proper behavior they desire.

Is your child under control? How does he behave at the dinner table? How does he act when in other people’s homes? You would not be invited out very often if your child is unruly, and you would be given every other reason except the truth for the non-invitation. Does your child wear you out, let alone others?

We all have our strengths and weaknesses in child rearing. In addition, there may be other contributors to children misbehaving, like allergies or poor health. But other factors and personal weaknesses should not become excuses for our failures in properly rearing our children. There is a cause and effect, and as such there is a reason why children become rebellious. What about silliness in our children? Obviously, we want our children to laugh and have a good time, but it should not get out of hand. When this begins to happen, the parent who is in tune with his child will say, “I want you to settle down.” The child should immediately respond.

It is clearly stated in the Bible that a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15). Although the Scripture only mentions the mother, the child’s behavior equally brings shame on the family name, which is the father’s heritage.

Rearing children is a difficult, lifelong process that demands diligent effort on the part of both parents whether absent or present in the home. It also takes time. None of us will ever do it perfectly 100 percent, for we will make mistakes from time to time, but it certainly is a goal that we should strive to attain.  In order to have happy well-adjusted children with a right attitude, remember to love them, teach by example, and to discipline in love.

It is not what parents leave to their children that matters but what they leave in them.

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