Questions from the audience… on Parenting.
First in a four part series.
We had a wonderful time a few weeks ago as we conducted our How We Love as Parents seminar in Laguna Hills, California. The material that Kay and I presented is the subject of the book we are currently writing by the same title.
While our material is about how to parent, its unique emphasis is about how our love styles positively and negatively affect our parenting.
With too little time and too many unanswered questions, we made a commitment to the audience that our December newsletter would be devoted to answering as many unanswered questions as we could. So here goes!
How do I help my kids dream and develop their skills and talents when I as a parent didn’t learn how to do that?
And another related question:
“For the free spirited child, how do you help them find their gift when they don’t want to explore it themselves?”
All you have to do is watch American Idol tryouts to see how many people have no clue about their strengths and weaknesses. One of the main reasons why some of these pathetic contestants are so poor in their self reflective and personal assessment skills is that no one taught them. One of the primary purposes of parenting is to help our children learn who they are and what they are not and to help the child strengthen weaknesses and cultivate talents and desires. For most of them, their parents got an “F” in parenting.
God tells us
…we have gifts, talents and abilities that are unique to each of us (I Cor. 14:12)
…we are responsible to use them wisely (Matt. 25:14-30).
…and to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).
Understanding the tendencies of the human spirit toward pride, haughtiness and grandiosity, Romans 12:3 says, “ For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith..”
So here are three key things to keep in mind as a parent.
1. Be a reflector: See each child as unique and different. Reflect back to them what you see, the good and the bad, the strong and the weak, the things apparent and buried talents that sometimes peek through. Raise questions, celebrate exploration, and yet acknowledge the realities without imposing shame. Here is what we said one day to our youngest son. “You know John, you are a good athlete, yet I notice that you are not that competitive by nature. Your brother is inspired by a screaming coach and you hate it. Maybe you would be great in individual sports like surfing or skateboarding? You don’t have to follow in your brother’s footsteps and play team sports you know.”
2. Be aware when your own baggage is getting in the way. As parents we need to be aware of when our desires override our children’s hopes and dreams. A mom came into my office that was having conflict with her teenage daughter. She was angry at her for not working harder and being more devoted to cheerleading after pouring thousands of dollars into her training and development. The daughter didn’t want to go to extra classes to learn tumbling and gymnastics. She was too busy being social, texting friends and listening to music. As a junior, she was loosing interest in the highly competitive world of cheer.
What to do? Floggings? Shaming? Yelling? Pouting? Grounding for life? After some probing, I discovered that the mom failed to make cheer squad when she was in high school. She was totally unaware that this was the underlying propellant that was causing the pushing of her daughter to excel and not quit. This was not about good biblical stewardship or highly responsible parenting, but it was rather about an unhealthy vicarious experience for the parent. It was in fact the death of a dream… her own.
3. Be aware that each child has a different time table for development. Some kids are late bloomers and figure out what they are happiest doing when they are thirty years old. Others have known since they were very young that they wanted to be a doctor, teacher or nurse. No two children develop alike. Allow for differences, and give them time. Don’t panic. Each will eventually find their way if they feel loved and supported.
If you were unable to attend our parenting workshop, look for an announcement in your e-mail inbox in a week or two. There, you can read all about it, hear testimonies and purchase the seminar.
Check out our newly designed new web site at www.howwelove.com.
See you next week.
Milan & Kay
Next weeks Parenting Questions Will Be:
- “How do you get an avoidant teenage girl to acknowledge painful feelings?”
- “For the teenage girl with the avoider dad… will it be uncomfortable for her dad to begin physical touch with her now that she is a sexual being?”
- “My daughter is a highly sensitive child and has a lot of hurts and wounds associated with her disappointment in her relationship with her dad. Her dad is trying to respond to this now and to take her out on dates etc. however, he has trouble getting in touch with his (or anyone else’s) emotions. My daughter’s comfort needs are still not being met, but my husband has no idea how to love her in this way even though he is trying. What can he do to connect with her?