Mama Miller Parenting

Passionate parenting and homemaking.

Parenting Tools

on August 13, 2012

I’ve seen a lot in the media lately about the Millinial Generation and how badly we were/are being raised. It is being speculated now that this idea of making everything fair and PC is ruining kids. I have seen so many people (many of whom aren’t parents) claiming that this generation of bratty kids just needs a “good spanking”. They see a child screaming in a restaurant or store and then rant about the “problem with kids today”.

This makes me see red.

First of all, it is unfair to judge a parent’s ability based on one encounter with their family. It is also unfair to assume that child is bratty all the time. All children (and adults) have good days and bad days. Most people wouldn’t want to be judged on their appearance based on a snap shot of them looking their worst. You absolutely cannot make assumptions about others and their families. Unless you witness truly abusive or hurtful behavior, try to look at every parent and child with grace.

Secondly, non-parents tend to make an exhaustive list of things they will and won’t do as a parent. They say, “My child won’t ever do THAT.” Guess what friends, you may not do all (or even most) of the things you say you won’t do, but you will do some. You will give in to things you swore you wouldn’t. You will be embarrassed by your child in public at least once. Kids are messy. They are hard and challenging and beautiful. It is admirable to think about a parenting plan before having kids but realize that it will change. You have to know what works for your children.

You cannot fix every problem in a house with a hammer. You need a whole toolbox to keep a house running smoothly.

Parenting is the same way. You need different tools for different kids and different situations. Spanking is not the be-all end-all of parenting. You cannot approach every situation with idea of beating the bad out of a child.

Before anyone leaves a nasty comment, I am not totally anti-spanking. I have seen parents use it as a small part of their parenting with success but, as a social worker, I have also seen it lead to abuse.

Spanking by itself is not what enrages me, it is the idea that the “cure” for a bratty generation is to spank them. Yes, there are a lot of children with no respect for their parents or authority but spanking is not the answer. The goal of parenting is to raise competent adults with a sense of right and wrong. Children who are only spanked learn to do what they are told to avoid punishment instead of being taught to do what is right.

Parents who are present, engaged, prayerful, respectful, and a good example are what the next (and every) generation needs. Parents who are willing to step up to the challenges of raising children in this fallen world. Parents willing to ask for God’s guidance on their journey. Parents who can think creatively and find discipline methods that work for their family.

A few effective tools:

  • Choices- Giving choices empowers children. It can take the fight out of everyday problems.
  • Time-outs- This should not be the only tool used! Time-outs give parents and children a chance to calm down. Teaching must occur after the time-out for it to be effective.
  • Creative Consequences- Coming up with consequences that are creative but relevant to the situation.
  • Natural Consequences- Things that are a natural follow-up to certain behaviors. (Going without lunch one day if a teen forgets their lunch money. Being chilly if they refuse to bring their coat.)
  • Teaching before new situations- Talking through what will happen or what is expected in a new situation.

There are so many more. I encourage all parents to find what works best for their children. I encourage Christian parents to be in prayer over how to discipline your children in way that brings glory to God. I cannot fathom parenting without His guidance.

The goal is not to just “make it” but to produce an adult that can make good, healthy choices when they leave your care. You have to have fun with your kids and let them be kids while teaching them values and life skills they will need as adults. It is not easy. I am so grateful to have the support system of a loving family, friends, and church family. I love seeing what works for each family.

What are your favorite tools?

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