The other day I passed a billboard that read:
Go ask your mother.
Because I said so.
We’ll talk about it later.
Underneath those three statements was this aphorism:
There are no perfect answers in parenting.
No wonder parents increasingly have no idea how to handle their children. From extensive reading in history, I’m aware that every generation of parents believes that the upcoming generation is strange—“Oh, those kids”—but what’s happening now is different. This generation of parents is becoming increasingly lost and confused themselves. They have no idea what to do with their kids, and as a result, children are raising themselves.
In their defense, parents now have to deal with children who are bombarded every waking moment on their phones—even during sleep, when they wear ear buds—with music, television programming, uncounted texts per day, apps that inform them with words and pictures of every event in the lives of every person they’ve ever met, and the simply endless, screaming messages from social media.
Most of us are neglecting to realize that children are being taught something every second their brains are functioning. Electronically, they’re being taught one or more of the following, to name just a few messages:
- The world is chaotic and unreliable.
- The world is frightening.
- The world is supposed to be endlessly and increasingly loud and entertaining.
- Approval and worth must be earned, and approval can be measured by social media.
- They must compare themselves to everyone they know in every area of life.
I have yet to see a child or adult who is happy as a result of learning those messages. A few very fortunate children have parents, teachers, and others who teach them:
- How to be responsible
- The rewards and freedoms that naturally flow from being responsible
- How to feel loved
- How to be loving
- How to be genuinely happy
When children and adults are taught these principles and conditions early enough, with astonishing uniformity they become loving, responsible, and happy. With very rare exceptions, the electronic voices around children—just a few of which were named earlier—do not teach these life giving principles.
Contrary to the wisdom offered on the billboard I read, there are a great many perfect answers in having great parenting advice. We really can learn to love and teach our children in ways that are, at times, perfect. Sometimes the overall process can be bumpy, but perfect answers are there to be found. Shrugging our shoulders and giving up on our responsibilities as parents are not the answers that will yield the results we want.
Want to learn more?
Eliminate confusion and conflict with your children.