Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy kids?

I have fallen in love with podcasts! It's like having experts, authors and speakers on a variety of topics come right to my kitchen to chat with me while I'm cooking, doing dishes and other household chores. I downloaded a bunch of parenting podcasts awhile back and this week I've been listening to some of them.

One of them is a Focus on the Family series featuring Kevin Leman and his book Have a New Kid by Friday. This podcast series includes great tips on parenting, talking with your kids and overall lots of thought-provoking statements about the child/parent relationship.

Kevin Leman says our culture has become consumed with having "happy" kids. Parents today are doing every thing they can to make their kids happy. The thing is....when parents give their kids everything they want and do everything for them, they are actually not all that happy in the end.

It was so encouraging for me to hear this. These days I have to tell Samuel 'no' frequently. I have to redirect. I have to distract. And Samuel is definitely not always happy when he doesn't get what he wants.

But here's the thing I'm learning: kids need boundaries. They need to be told no. They need to know that someone is there who cares enough to guide them and teach them and sometimes to tell them 'no.' My goal as a parent is NOT to make my child happy.

In thinking about this, I realized that God tells me no. And I'm HIS child.

God told me no when I lost my babies. When I waited for two years in-between my pregnancies He told me no.

And ultimately it was for my benefit. God knew what was best. Was I happy when He told me no? Certainly not.

As a mom, I will strive to remember this. Samuel needs a parent who cares enough to tell him 'no.' While I love to see my son happy, his happiness is not my ultimate goal.

And there's a lot of freedom in that!


Flakymn said...

Stacy, how do you listen to these? Can you give us directions? This sounds GREAT to me!

Little Things said...

This is a great post! Thank you for sharing...I actually really needed to hear that today. :)

Tamara said...

Good advice Stacy! Whenever I go to a baby shower where we write down a piece of advice for the new mom, I always tell them not to be afraid to say no and that kids need boundaries. I also recommend the book "No, why kids need to hear it and how parents can say it." by Dr. David Walsh. I gave it to my brother when my niece was born and as soon as she could crawl, she went over to the bookshelf and tore it up. I think she knew what was inside! ;)

Leila said...

Yes, this is exactly right!

We owe our children food, shelter, clothing, education, and unconditional love. And a knowledge of and love for our Almighty God. We do NOT owe them "happiness" (i.e., keep 'em feeling good!) and constant entertainment. Parents these days want to shield their children from every negative emotion, but that is not our job nor is it good for them. In the end, that attitude will cripple our children emotionally and they will not be self-reliant, truly joyful people.