By Tommi Vincent
Raising children is an honor and privilege that must not be taken lightly. Our parenting style is largely shaped by how we were raised. As a child I can vividly recall moments when I swore, I would not be like my mom or dad. Of course, this was in the moments when I was disciplined or being told no. They were ruining my life! (lol) Not because they did something wrong, to the contrary I was misbehaving. Discipline feels very personal and never feels good at the time. Often you do not realize the value in it until you become an adult. It is in that pivotal moment you realize that discipline in love is a safeguard for healthy development.
Looking back, I am grateful for the boundaries that were set. The boundaries established became points of reference. There are parenting skills from my parents I maintained, and having my own children, I have a better understanding as to the why. That is a little kid’s favorite question, “But why?” The response usually goes something like, “Because I said so!” Should we give our children understanding? Will it matter? The bible reads in Proverbs 4:7-Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. It is important to create safe spaces for children, absent of fear. The response “because I said so” is generally a reaction of parents feeling their authority is being challenged. In some situations that may be the case. You can usually detect the tone by the turn up of base in the child’s voice! Unacceptable. In the case where the child is genuinely trying to understand “why”, I believe it is a teachable moment. The objective is to get the child(ren) to make a correction of behavior. If you give them understanding you increase the probability of discontinuing what can become a lifelong pattern. If we shut them down, it may make them afraid to ask questions and not only in moments of discipline.
I have been guilty of shutting the questions down. With my children having their own children my parenting lens has widened. That is probably why grandparents approach is different with their grandbabies. Our kids think we went soft! One, they are so freaking cute. Two, we are wiser and understand a different approach may be more effective.