Friday, December 13, 2013

A trend I am noticing: Have students today lost a healthy fear of their parents & of authority?

A trend I see among students today is that they no longer have a healthy fear of their parents but instead an unhealthy expectation for their parents to always take up for them. 

Not all, but most students today if you look at them and say, “I am going to have to call your parents.” will respond with “How about I call them for you and they will come up here and talk to you about this.” Such a different response than how I was brought up, taught to have a healthy fear and respect of adults and authority.

Teeangers know their parents will take up for them instead of hold them accountable to the situation.  

When I was a kid, if an authority figure looked at me and said “Brian, I am going to call your dad,” I would have begged them (if not paid them) not to do it!  I would have done anything to keep my dad from coming up to the school or church, simply because I had a healthy fear of my father.  You see, my father loved me enough that he did not always take up for me, but instead I always knew that he expected me to be a responsible young man & if consequences were presented because of a poor decision on my part, I had to own up to it.  

As I watch the news, read tweets and blogs and as I spend a lot of time with students and their parents, I am seeing this reality of teenagers having a huge disrespect for authority and even more, an unhealthy expectation of what they expect out of their parents. 

So what are we to do as parents?  When do we need to step in & stand up for our kids?  How do we stand up for our kid in a healthy way without just "bailing them out"?  What is a healthy expectation to have for our kids?

I definitely am not the expert, nor do I have all the answers.  I am learning so much myself in this area of parenting young kids. Author, Tim Elmore, writes of this often and I am always challenged as a parent by what he writes.  

Here are just a few thoughts that I have on this issue simply from a youth pastor perspective and from what I am learning as a parent...  

10 Thoughts from a Youth Pastor perspective:
1.     Realize your kids can do wrong.  He/She is not perfect.  
2.     It is not always another kids fault. Be willing to see fault in your own child.
3.     Realize your kid knows you, knows how they expect you to respond, and knows how to play you.  They will act different with you in the room, than they did when they knew they were busted. 
4.     The adult that calls you, don’t go in on the defense against them.  Especially, if it is a caring adult who is just trying to keep order or help all parties involved.  If your kid sees you attack another adult for getting onto your child, then you've just taught them automatically throw blame on someone else and not take responsibility for their part in the issue. 
5.     Have an understood & CLEAR list of consequences for your student.  Students need expectations of what their consequences should be before an incident arrises. Not to carry around the mentality of, “Well, I know my parents will get me out of this, they always do.” 
6.     Let them fail while they are under your roof.  Use these moments while they're in your home as teachable moments! Teaching them to fail-forward. 
7.     Don’t be a friend be a parent!
8.     Don’ t just be present at home physically, but be involved in their lives.  Most kids I see that bully others are usually ones who lack a solid home life.  Not always but most of the time. 
9.     Listen to your child but also listen to the other side.  There are two sides to every story. 
10. As always, in discipline, discipline in love & not in anger.  Students need expectation as much as we do as adults, just lead in love and not out of anger. You child needs to know you are proud of them and believe in them no matter what.  

DISCLAIMER – Although I don’t have teenagers in my home yet, I am just surrounded by thousands of teenagers and their parents every week and walk through many situations with them.  I am a learning parent and, just like all of you, I want to be all God has called me to be as a parent. 

What are your thoughts to this?  What do you see? 

Parenting Helps:
Long Hollow has many HERE

1 comment:

Jeff Flint said...

Great stuff, Brian. (As expected, you nailed it.) This is also evidenced by recent events where young adults and kids display their disrespect w/ police. Who in their right mind would stick a cell phone w/ video in a police officer's face while they are trying to settle a dispute ? In all things there is a balance, but it has surely swayed to the side of the "offender" vs. the authority over the past decade.