I hear it time and time again. A child misbehaves, someone informs their parent and the parent makes excuses for the child. The parent doesn’t take the information seriously or worse yet they take offense to hearing the truth.
I’ve never liked the saying that Hillary Clinton coined some years ago, “It takes a village to raise a child,” only because of the full extent of the meaning behind it. But there is truth in the statement. Truth we understood years ago and maybe even in some small towns today. The truth that parents can be biased toward their offspring and it isn’t always what’s best for children. Sometimes it behooves us to look at our children through someone’s eyes to see if they still measure up.
Good parenting can’t be done with a biased perspective.
We must be willing to see and respond to how others view our children.
I am certainly not of the opinion that parents should always take the side of the accuser over their own child’s. Of course each situation should be handled prayerfully and individually.
What I do believe though is that we as parents are not trying to raise children but adults. And as adults these people we raise will be subject to many opinions other than the biased ones some parents display. They will need to be able to work for a boss, get along with co-workers and neighbors, and even more importantly they will most likely need to become one with a spouse.
If I am told by a teacher, another parent, or any other adult that there is a concern regarding the actions or attitude of my child, regardless of their age, I need to take it seriously. I need to consider the validity of the statement. I should not dismiss it as the adult’s problem. In fact, the way I handle this information should teach my child that they are not the center of the universe as so many seem to believe today. If my child obeys his parents yet has no respect for other adult authority, is he actually obedient?
I recently witnessed a situation where a mother of a very unruly young child took it upon herself to advise another mother of a child close to her own son’s age how to parent better. She felt that something needed to be done about the other child’s bad attitude. Her bias toward her own child blinded her to his actions and the fact that most people see her child as a problem.
I think down deep we all want to raise a better version of ourselves and the only way this will be done is through honesty and discipline. Godly discipline to be precise. If my child does something wrong it is not necessarily due to bad parenting but how I respond is everything.
How does God grow us up in Him?
Well all we need do is look in the Word to find out how God feels about favoritism or bias:
- “But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” – James 2:9
- “For God does not show favoritism.” – Romans 2:11
So God does nothing out of favoritism and we shouldn’t either. A good hint for parenting without bias might be to look at the situation with another child from the neighborhood replacing mine in the scenario. Now does the offense seem to warrant a punishment? If another child had done it how would I want their parents to respond?
Parenting is hard work. It’s strenuous and tiring, if we’re doing right. We can’t get lazy about it because our kids need us. If they could raise themselves then parents would not have been necessary. Their proper upbringing is to be our number one priority as parents. Love disciplines. We know this because God disciplines those He loves. We must put everything we have into this because we only get one chance to do it right.
That way when our job is done and they are old enough for us to hand them over to society, society won’t want to hand them right back.