With the uprise of teen violence, childhood obesity, and juvenile bullying, I am never more convinced that we, as a society have miss diagnosed our children. after the Sandyhook tragedy, the President made a reference as to why this increase in teen violence is occurring. It was then that I began to conclude that our children are raised in families that have a major impact on how the attitude of our youth has changed.
Though I do not have children of my own, I have had over thirty years experience working with children both in the church and in the public educational system. I have observed children in all venues of life and have found that many children in our American society are frustrated and angry.
We have created this mindset in children because we have overlooked simple principles found in the Word of God on how to raise our children. We overlook important scriptures about child rearing and rely on too familiar scriptures we find in the book of Proverbs. Unfortunately, we must embrace all the teachings of the scriptures in order to create a happy, God-fearing, child of honor, that will bless our families, communities and our society.
There is a conflict within children that has grown since the nineteen-sixties. Since prayer was removed from public schools the entire fundamental structure has fallen out of the bottom of the family. One could debate that even before the sixties there has been a sect of society that has not held as strong of moral convictions as most. Yet, not until the sixties did we see the onslaught of Secular Humanism invade our thinking in America, which lead to a more "free thinking" culture.
There are many elements that have made our children have the attitude and mindset they now hold. To say that just one of these elements is the main cause would be wrong. However, combined it is a volital concoction that is prescribed straight from the pit of Hell to destroy the the fundamental structure of a healthy childhood; the family.
Single Parent Living
It is estimated that one-forth of all children in America live in a single parent home. The increase of divorce has risen drastically and has been on the increase since 1965. However, this not the only reason for single parent homes. Historically,one forth of children born at the beginning of the nineteenth century were victims of a parental death by the time they reached age fifteen. Of course, tendencies of single-parent homes rose during wartimes as well.
The main reason for children being raised in a single parent home is divorce.
The rate of divorce has basically stayed the same for the last ten years. Most children in a family of divorce are raised by their mothers. 84% of single parent homes are headed up by women. this not just to blame on divorce. Men, abandoning their families dates back to the Civil War era when black slaves desperately felt the need to leave their homes in search for freedom in the north. In modern times men of every race choose not to wed the mother of their children to avoid a level of commitment that would force them into a lifestyle they fear. a majority of homeless men, in modern times abandon their families to free themselves from the responsibilities of being a head of a household.
Another reason for single-parent homes in modern times, is the increase in unmarried women choosing to raise children without the aid of a partner. With the adoption laws changing for the lack of married couples wanting to adopt, single woman have chosen to adopt orphans and bring foster children into a more sound environment than that of an abused and over populated system. In addition to single women choosing to raise children independently, the United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the world. Out of every one-thousand teen girls, fifty-three gave birth between the ages nineteen and younger.
As a result we live in a society of children who lack confidence in their family structure. Children are faced with the fear of abandonment if the family structure is not intact. In a single-parent home, children need strong reinforcement of the family structure. If the rules of the household are not held up it will only enable the child to behave in inappropriate ways.
The feeling of Abandonment is not exclusive to single-parent homes. Naturally, it would be reasonable for a child to feel abandoned in a single-parent home. Though children may not exhibit signs of Abandoned Child Syndrome, all children feel a form of abandonment. In divorce situations this shows up in many cases in the persons late teens and early twenties. However, children raised in a two-parent home suffer from abandonment as well.
Abandonment also violates children emotionally. A young teen who finds herself pregnant and desires to live out her youth without the burden of child rearing, may not emotionally connect with the baby she has given birth to, a victim of rape also may feel resentment to a child as a result of her attack, or the ever-increasing drug addict who is detached from any emotional connection will never give her child the emotional security he needs.
As a child of the Baby-Boomer Generation, I was raised in a single-parent home. My mother raised my sister and myself with no male counter-part. I was surrounded by loving grandparents and aunt who was very instrumental in my upbringing. It was not until my teen years that I realized that I lacked the presence of a father. In spite of this, my mother placed values in me that are not seen in most of our children today.
I am reminded of Dr. Ben Carson. Dr. Carson was raised in the slums of Detroit by an uneducated single mother. She brought him up in that environment and Dr. Carson was still able to overcome the hardships of poverty, violence and racism to become one of the most renowned physicians in his field.
So the question remains; why are children different today than they have been in the past. as friends and I were discussing our childhood we realized that much of the things children are into today, are the same things we were into. Admittedly, things are were not as open and blatantly explicit as they are now. However, the rating system for movie and television had not yet been invented.
We watched cartoons that committed violent acts against their foes, We watched gunfights and murders every night on local programs. Saturday nights were monster flicks on TV. And we even chased each other around the yard with sticks acting out that which we saw on the television screens the night before.
Play guns and knives were part of every boys' toy collection that actually shot bee bees. We threw plastic lawn darts with metal tips at targets in the yard, and though it may have happened somewhere in this world, no one ever put an eye out or broke their necks. today children have little concept on reality and pretend.
But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant though he is lord of all; (Galatians 4:1)
In the early nineties, a young man was being interviewed for a job in radio sales in Chicago. As the interview went on, the interviewer began to discuss wages with the young man. The interviewer implied that being an "Entitlement Generation" child he would expect to make as much salary and all the perks as seasoned veteran in their fields.
Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon defines "Entitlement Generation" as the age group born between 1979 and 1994 who believe they are owed certain rights and benefits without further justification. They expect higher salaries, flexible work hours, and ample time off.
In the late seventies it was thought that children were suffering from low self-esteem. So to counteract this self esteem problem parents began to take a more positive approach to speaking to their children. They were very careful to change their vocabulary to reflect positive directions rather than a negative alternative. Parents also felt the need to loosen their authority over their children and allow them to make choices that were the responsibility of the parent to make.
In addition, they also started telling their children that they were as good as others and eliminated any form of competition that might reflect a negative impact on there skills or talents. The message was sent that children deserved everything they wanted without learning the principles of discipline, hard work, respect to others, and the consequences of wrong choices. This concept contradicts the above scripture overwhelmingly. We are raising our children to believe that they are heirs to the throne without lifting a finger.
The majority of children today are being raised by the first entitlement generation children. These children are raised with the same mindset as their parents. However, parents with this mindset fail to give their children the proper discipline they need in order to give them the proper skills needed to succeed in the real world. Of course, I speak in general terms. Their are those parents who truly understand the principles of strong discipline and setting firm structure in their children's lives. Yet, it seems as though the majority of parents feel as though children should be able to be raised without rules, manners, and consequences.
Many parents will defend their child if they are accused of making bad choices. I have seen parents actually accuse educators of being unfair toward their children when the child blatantly was caught doing something wrong. The entitlement generation may very well the blame for childhood obesity, road rage, and the recent shooting sprees that have plagued our country.
Parents from the the Entitlement Generation raise their children is differently than generations before. As they are given the ideas that everything is about them, they raise their children with the same mind-set. However, parents are now split between what is best for the child and what is best for them.
It is my belief that children were not suffering from self-esteem issues as much as they were suffering from frustration and confusion. Looking back at the stats. Other family environmental issues came into play at the end of the seventies that left children emotionally unstable. Mainly, the breakdown of the family structure overall made children, frustrated, unsafe, and angry. This opens up a new can of worms when we talk about the emotional aspects of the children we raise. The basic, most fundamental need of a child is the need for love and acceptance, second only to the need for food and shelter.
We show this love and acceptance to our children through proper discipline, a life grounded in faith and being a strong role model. Children develop self esteem and confidence through structure that's is given to them by parents who will set limitations, establish rules and impose consequences. Even when parents are not able to provide the basic biological needs to their kids like food, clothing, and shelter, the child can still develop a good image of who they are as long as this structure is put in place.
A child raised in today's home environment are in need of stronger, stricter parenting than generations before. They are subjected to more outside influences. Living in the communication age, as we are, children are able to experience things from Internet, and social media that children from other generations would have never come into contact with. Children are also exposed to more graphic images from television and movies. Television cable networks provide such a wide variety of viewing genre' that unsupervised youths can watch adult- content programming that is not appropriate for their age group.
One of a parents main responsibility is to provide protection of their child from these influences.
When a child is confident in himself he is able to succeed in any environment and overcome any hardship that is presented to him. As in Dr. Ben Carson's case, as well as my own, many children are raised in a single parent home. In the United States, about 13.1 million single parents raise their children alone. This calculates to 26 million children under 21 are being raised in a single parent home. Globally,one-forth to one-third of the families in the world are headed by a single parent. The US has the highest percentage of single-parent
Effects of children raised with a Entitlement Generation mentality
I honor any parent that takes on the responsibility of raising children. It is a very hard, time consuming, sacrifice of self, job with very little short-term reward. However, if done properly, parenting is probably the most rewarding accomplishment anyone can achieve in their lifetime. However, many parents fail to see all that is involved in raising a child. A child, for some, are the side affect of enjoying the pleasures of a active sexual lifestyle. Some parents harbor bitterness toward their child because of an accidental pregnancy or failed relationship. They fail to deal with their anger and vent it through their child.
After all, these parents, as children, were taught that they could do whatever they wanted without being taught the consequences. Now, they are faced with a child that they do not want to raise because it impedes what they want to do now.
As a children's pastor, I saw evidence of this on a regular basis. Parents forced their children to go to children's church. The child that did not want to go to church would act out forcing the teacher to remove them. This caused a negative reaction from the parent for being interrupted during church. As an employee of a public school system. I saw many cases of parents fighting the district for giving an unruly child detention because it would conflict with the parents schedule. I speculate that little to no discipline was given in both of these cases. If discipline was given it was probably brought forth due to the imposition to the parent, and not because of behavior. If the child is harshly disciplined it was out of anger and taught the child nothing except don't make Momma mad.
So after we have looked at the cause of children of this generation becoming what they are, we find a generation of Angry Little Emperors. Children who have been physically and emotionally abandoned. Children who have no trust or respect for adults. Who behave in knowingly inappropriate manners and blame everyone else for their actions. We have children who are raised to lookout for themselves and get what you can get without working for it. We have children who, in my mother's words are "too big for their britches." Who do not enjoy the simple things of life and want to be grown up long before they can handle being an adult. We have children forced into adulthood and have never really given the chance to be a child.
Children, in my opinion have no concept of what true fun is. Their fun relies solely on the enjoyment of watching pain inflicted to others. Very few children enjoy, simple games, toys and activities. Even when boys role-play games like cops and robbers, or super heroes, it becomes a acting out of physical warfare. Children around the globe sit in their rooms and play video games that shoot up enemy forces or a zombie invasion. They are conditioned through this manner of entertainment to be aggressive, violent, thrill seekers that have no concept of reality. The humor that they prefer on television is one of physical aggression toward someone else.
I may be speaking of the boys of this generation. However, girls also find humor at the expense of others. Many think that bullying is a male-dominated event. Girls, are prone be more mean toward their peers than boys. As I dialog with friends concerning this topic, it was concluded that, generally, when boys argue, it is a simple confrontation. Once it's over, it's over. Girls, on the other hand, tend to drag arguments out for a long time. If you are not liked, one becomes the object of attack, via the telephone, e-mail, twitter, Face-book and in the local girl hangouts. Believe it or not this is what our children find to be fun.
Where do children get this type of idea for fun? It is in the environment which they are raised. I have always said that children are a product of their environment.
Children are tattletales to what their home lives are like. It is obvious to me the children who are raised in wholesome, happy environments, and those who aren't. Children from good homes are kind considerate and respectful. Children raised in a home of discourse are anxious, mean, and rude. The end result it is true that children are a product of their environment. If one is prejudice against another, the child will develop those same opinions. The woman who is very vocal about a mistreating male counterpart will train their child to hate men. The man who thinks all woman are subservient to men will grow to treat women in the same manner. If we speak positive about people and show kindness, we can expect our children to do the same.
A close friend shared an experience with me about her childhood. As a child, her mother and her would visit her aunt after church on Sundays. Her Aunt lived on a farm with animals. Carol loved to go out and see the horses. one Sunday she asked her mother if she could outside to play. Her mother allowed her to go outside but she was to stay away from the horses because she was all dressed up.
Carol proceeded to go outside, but the desire to look at the horses overwhelmed her. She decided that as long as she did not touch the horses, her mother would never know she had been near the horses. When Carol returned from outside, her mother took one look at her and proceed to spank her. When Carol asked her mother how she knew she had gone near the horses, her mother told her that the smell of the horses was all over her.We play a major role in the way children behave. Parents spend a lot of time talking about matters that are not appropriate for children to hear. Children's entire view of the world are seen through our eyes.
1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Though this passage implies that one should give up childish things when we become an adult, one must ask, at what age do we consider to be mature enough to take on adult responsibility. Though the Jewish faith believes that manhood begins at age twelve, the maturity level of an average twelve year old in our society is not possible to handle adult responsibility.
As I see it, children have three responsibilities in life; obey your parents, obey God, and have fun. They will grow into responsible individuals as we allow them the freedom to be children. Researchers have found that children will learn by playing. Playing is a way that children model the things they are taught.
As a young man I had the privilege of spending a significant amount of time with my pastor and his family. I was always amazed to see how his three young children played together. Their main form of play was based on what they experienced in church. One would pretend to be the preacher, another would be the worship leader while the other was always pretending to go to the alter for prayer. Now, thirty years later, one of his children is a worship leader, another is a preacher, and the other is active member in the church.
Children will play based on what is around them or what they are exposed to. This can lead them to their life destiny with the proper direction. It requires the parents to first, know God's purpose for the child's life. Second, expose the child to the right elements, and three protect the child from any distractions and could easily thwart the purpose of God for their lives.
There can be a natural flow from childhood to adulthood if the child is not forced to take on responsibilities before their time. It is the sensitivity of the parent to the child that will know when to prompt the child to greatness.
The solution is simple but difficult to implement. It took several decades to develop a mindset of entitlement. It will take the same amount of time to correct if not longer. One must start from somewhere.
It has been my pleasure to serve children for nearly half of my life. I would love to see children have the same amount of fun as I had when I was growing up. Our children deserve to have a happy childhood as we all have. So many new and wonderful things are available to the children of this generation. However, in order to make children appreciate what is available to them, we as a society must begin to view how we raise children. Fundamentally, we must return to the teachings in scripture to give us the guidelines that we have so easily lost sight of.
Familiar scriptures give us the outline for the way to raise children. If we can look at them in a different light, we see that these scriptures are more profound in direction than we tend to hearken to. As we look at these scriptures let us see beyond what our traditions have allowed us to see and make the verses more personal.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Though this verse is used for disciplining children and giving them the word of God unto salvation, one should look at it with their specific child in mind. In the ancient times of Israel, people waited 8 days to give the child the name that he will Cary with him throughout his life. It was by prayer and fasting that God spoke to them about their child. God not only revealed their name but also the child's destiny.
As parents we should be prayerful as to what their future destiny should be. Upon that revelation is where we begin to train the child. Andre' Agassi was given a tennis racquet as a toddler by his immigrant Olympic champion father. Is has been said that eve earlier his father placed a tennis ball mobile over his crib and gave baby Andre' a mini tennis racquet to swat at the balls. Beyond giving children proper training in the teachings of the Bible and proper manners, we must be mindful of their destiny as God has revealed. Young children begin training at early ages to become renowned gymnasts. In the country of Japan toddlers start school and work from sun up to sun down getting educated.
As a young boy, my mother could see talents in me that was not apparent yet. So,she would give me craft and art kits to encourage my creative abilities. She enrolled me art classes at the YMCA and other art venues to enhance my abilities. She had to have known Gods plan for my life early in my life to allow me the exposure to different medias of art.
As parents we must direct our children as God speaks to us concerning them. Anything that is a hindrance to His plan for our child's life, we must steer our children away from until they are capable of making their own choices.
Spiritually, we must do the same. If we expect our children to grow up as strong believers we must walk the walk daily. Children are well aware of ones genuineness toward the Gospel. If we act one way at church, then another way at home, or even behind their backs, the children will take notice and follow Christ accordingly.
Our children are a huge target for the enemy. If the enemy can snatch the hearts of the children out of the Fathers hands, he will cut off a generation of souls for His kingdom. Based on a study by the Barna Research Group, the majority of people who will receive Christ as Savior will do it within the ages of 5 and 13. As parents, the spiritual overseers of our children, one must keep the child engaged in spiritual things and protect them from spiritually threatening downfalls that will keep them away from making that all important commitment to Christ.
Protect the eyes
One thing that the enemy uses to get to our youth is what they see. The eye is the gateway to the soul. If it becomes clouded with disturbing imagines, it will affect the way they think. As they think on negative thoughts by the images they viewed, their image of God will become distorted.
It is my opinion, that the rating system of film and television is good indicator of what a child should be able to watch. A rating of G ( the rating for general audiences) is probably the safest viewing a child could watch. Discretion of anything a child watches should be used. Just because a film or show is rated "G" does not mean it is right for a specific child. this rating simply shows that the film is safe to be shown publicly.
What is the message that is being shown and how is that message going to affect the ultimate purpose of the child. With the underlying messages that are being suggested through film, television and Internet, parents should make themselves aware of not just the films content but also who is creating the media that their child is watching.
This is true for any media a child is in contact with. It is only natural that the child who is exposed to violence, will become violent. A child will develop a good sense of humor based on the type of humor they are exposed to. In some cases images are shown that are not appropriate for children. When this occurs, the parent should be mindful of these images and have a "teaching moment" with their child.
Protect the hearing
The child that is destined for greatness will learn to from what they hear. Though this observation may have reflected negativity toward parents reflecting a positive image toward their child, speaking positively toward a child, about others, and concerning conflicting issues, teaches the child to view things with a positive outlook rather than a negative one.
If a parent is one who is pessimistic in their view of life, the child will take on the same outlook. One must be careful not to reflect a less positive tone even when correcting a child's behavior.
This does not negate the bad choice a child would make. A parent cannot overlook bad behavior. A child must learn to take responsibility of his actions. It is imperative that the parent implement some form of consequence on the child to enforce this responsibility. If this does not happen, as the child gets older he will think it is okay to execute negative behaviors. The child then will not understand it when consequences handed down by other authorities are imposed. I will discuss the implementation of consequences later in this paper.
It is also imperative that children avoid all conversations about other adults, peers, and direct authorities. As conversations go on among adults, there may be a tendency to bring up negative comments about others. Regardless of the depth of the conversation, children are anxious to eves drop in the exchanges of adults. If a child hears only a portion of the conversation, their imaginations could flare to the point to scandals that would threaten the nations security.
Private telephone calls should remain private. Many would think that children are too naive to understand what is being said. But many private phone calls have been revealed to all because the call was spoken in the presence of a child. If you want people to know your business, tell your child. They love to tell others what they know.
Unfortunately, children are often used as sounding boards. Especially in a single-parent home. Children are placed in position where they never should be placed. A single mom who has been abused, hurt, or abandoned by a past relationship tends to reflect their negative feelings to a child. If this is done on a regular basis, the child will develop a disdain for that person or even a disdain for people in the same category.
A woman who was attempting to balance her check book in the presence of her 4 year old son. His energy was at it's peek and as he was bouncing around the room she became more and more distracted. The mother said to her son, " Johnny, will you settle down and be good?" "I'll be good for a quarter." Her son replied. The mother responded, " why can't you be good for nothing like your father?"
As humorous as this is, this an example of what may be said that would reflect negativity to a child. Parents who do not have good relationships with their companions on a regular basis may be reflecting negative thoughts toward. If the child is of the same sex as the parents past relationship could easily be the target by which parents use to vent. This is especially true if the child was never wanted or expected.
I have seen many parents react to children negatively simply because the child was there. The child has been talked about, verbally abused, and sometimes physically and emotionally abused because they were not desired. This leads a child to become withdrawn and angry. The child will have no aspirations to achieve in life and may become depressed or act out in inappropriate ways to get attention. On many cases this child could easily consider suicide. He may turn to alcohol or drugs or look for another form of acceptance by joining a gang.
They way we speak to a child will make the difference of success or failure. As parents, terms like, You're no good", or, "You will never amount to anything", should never be in our vocabulary. Children were not asked to come into the world. Yet God gives them the highest honor by calling them His heritage.
Discipline of a child should be a very systematic, cut and dry process that does not require emotional outbursts.
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
This probably the most common passage used about disciplining a child. The Bible does condone spanking of a child for correction purposes. I am concerned that many are misconstrued about the purpose of spanking as a form of punishment. This is a topic I will not venture into, however, I am concerned that unless understood properly some may think that this license to beat a child for any other reason than to correct. It is not. some parents wait until they can no longer tolerate their child's behavior before they spank their children. children learn violence rather than discipline if one spanks their child because they are angry. if self control is an issue, one should first get their emotions in check before proceeding to discipline their children.
A well known speaker spoke of his childhood at a conference I attended several years ago. he had a sister and a brother. His family lived within walking distance from where his father worked. Every day his father walked to work while his mother stayed at home and cared for the family. He said his father was the disciplinarian in the family. If the children misbehaved while their father was at work, the parents derived a system by which they disciplined the children.
mother would take a switch from a tree and place it on the mantle. nothing was ever said to the children. when father came home, the first thing he did was to look on the mantle. if there was a switch pn the mantle, he would proceed to the kitchen where mother was preparing the evening meal.
Dinner came and went. father went to his easy chair and read the newspaper. then, once done with the paper, father would stand up, take the switch off the mantle and call the accused. The child and the father proceeded to the woodshed and the father discussed the bad behavior and the discipline was carried out.
after the speaker became an adult, he asked his father why he waited so long to discipline him after he had misbehaved. His father told him that he never wanted to discipline his children while he was angry. so instead of "flying off the handle", he would wait until he was more level headed.
every evening his father walked in the door at the same time to the minute. the speaker said if he came in later or earlier than his regular time, you should fix your clock. at the same time his mother never disciplined the children.
The main issue here is, as I stated before, correction is imperative for the proper raising of children. All through scripture we find the rod stated. Not just in the passages for correction but in other passages as well. Anytime a rod is mentioned, it refers to authority.
A child must have, understand, and adhere to authority. The parent is first level of authority a child will have. It is the parent that executes the first demonstration of authority in a child's life. If one does not comfortable to spank their child, a consequence for violating authority must be imposed.
Every child requires structure. I learned the importance of this as I was visiting with a friend and her family at her father's house. Her three children had been fed and dressed for church while Lois and I were enjoying a cup of coffee. Suddenly, from the den where the child were waiting. A loud noise and a scream came from the den. Lois excused herself and went to the den. The screaming instantly turned to crying as Lois proceeded to spank her children. when she rejoined me she made me aware that children, no matter how well behaved they can be will occasionally "cut up" just to feel the assurance that they are still part of the family.
Once the structure is in place, it is the authority of the parent to ensure that structure is not violated. Children will constantly try to test the fortitude of the structure. When the attempt is made, this is where the authority steps in to correct.
In the book, "1-2-3-Magic", Dr. Thom Falin gives a very good plan to execute discipline in the home. His system is effortless in that it reduces the screaming and arguing that he found to be consistent is practice dealing with unruly children. Once the structure is set it is imperative that the parent become consistent to enforce the rules of the house hold.
If a child is suddenly forced into a single-parent environment, the structure of the household must be intensified and not compromised. Parents tend to be overly sympathetic toward their child at the loss of a parent. Whether through divorce or because of a death, a huge adjustment will be made in the heart and mind of a child. They will face uncertainties and confusion during this time. The last thing a child needs now is to lose the structure that they are accustom to. As in all losses, a child will go through a grieving process. It would be a good idea to seek professional family counseling during this crucial time.
For whatever reason, parents tend to fear their children. Fear them in the sense that they are afraid to be their parents. They try desperately to find a mediocre place where they can befriend their child at the same time direct them. I have found that it is possible to have a great relationship with a child, as long as the structure is set up first. The level of authority should never be questioned.
Parents must have the guts to lay the law down and enforce that which was given. Once that authority has been established, then the parent can enjoy their child on a more casual basis. Parents should never be considered a friend to a child. Parents do not suggest or recommend to follow the rules. They direct, lead and enforce the rules. When a child feels confident that they are parented they feel safe. Which in turn makes a child happy.
If we can return to a very biblical, fundamental plan to give children what they need before we give them what they want we can enjoy our children more and be proud of who they become. though the solution is simple it will take another generation to realize this concept and bring back our children from a life being angry little emperors to becoming Joyful, God fearing, citizens. if you give a child structure, you will get a happy child.