We have talked about a number of important parenting principles including personality types, behavior principles, values and goal setting. To some degree, all this revolves around getting our children to do what we think is going to help them be happy and successful. We want them to become the best versions of themselves.
The principles we have previously discussed all work. They can set up the guidelines for what we think is best. And we may be right. But the caveat is that it is not for us to control our children by fear, guilt or rewards. It is not a matter of us just being in control. If we set ourselves up as an external control, a conscience if you will, our children are not learning how to control and guide their own lives. And this inability to have self-control will be passed on to the next generation.
Our goal is to teach them how to have their own internal controls that lead them on the right path. This does not mean to give up our authority or to just let them loose to their own devices. It means that our task as parents is to best prepare them for the rest of their lives.
Since I worked with children and parents, I would tell the parents that no matter how much control they have inside the four walls of their house, once their child goes out the front door, there is no more external control. We have to depend on teaching them to have internal control so that they make the best decision for themselves.
To some degree, this is what I have struggled with in my relationships with my children. I worked at trying to be their external conscience when they were young. But as they got older, I tried to instill in them an internal control.
I have written a book about my children. The book was my way of resolving this issue. The bottom line is that I do not have any control over my children. I had to “let go and let God.” The point is that I have a responsibility to protect, nurture, love and teach my children. To become the best version of myself as a parent, I have a responsibility to do my best to lead my children to not only happiness and success, but to salvation. In the long run, that is the real responsibility. Not to be in control of them, not to want them to be what I want them to be, but to be a guide toward their salvation.
What are your goals as a parent? What are you trying to accomplish as a parent for your children? Are you caught up in the everyday challenges or are you looking down the road?