Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reflections on Parenting, Part 3

“My immediate concern has to do with the fact that nearly two generations of children have been raised according to psychobabble. They call themselves things like Generation X. I call them Generation E, for entitlement. They cannot distinguish between what they want and what they truly need, so they consume indiscriminately, everything from food to entertainment. They have little tolerance for frustration or ability to delay gratification, so they lack frugality. What they want, they think they deserve to have. They believe they deserve problem-free marriages, so they will not be married long if at all, assuming the institution even survives the deconstructionist onslaught. They believe obligation is a one-way street that flows in their direction, so they will not be good neighbors, employees, or citizens. My description does not apply to every single child of the entitlement generation, but it applies to too many. More than anything I am concerned that few among today’s young people will sacrifice for any good greater than themselves, and not for long at that. I am concerned that they will grow up and look to government to provide the same entitlements their parents provided, the same free ride. But I am most concerned that few of today’s young people will be willing to take up arms to defend freedom when and wherever it is threatened.” (John Rosemond, Parenting by The Book)

The above is an excerpt of the Afterword. I find what he has said truly sums up our generation. I cannot add or take away from anything he has said. I believe the direction our country and families are headed speak for themselves in support of what Rosemond stated. I cannot tell you how many thirty somethings I know who are not only living at home but also do not have jobs. More and more adult children are depending on their parents. So, what has led to this entitlement mentality?

Does it start with the change in discipline that happened two generations ago? Does it come from the fact that our no is not no and our yes is not yes? Are parents no longer forcing their children to face the consequences of their decisions?

I believe parents have lost leadership in their homes. Rosemond focuses on the word “discipline,” or “to make a disciple of.” Going back to scripture, Christ lead His disciples, just the way we should lead our children. We lead our children with “the rod.” But, we must understand this rod is used for guidance and as a symbol of authority. As parents, we must be confident in our leadership. This is something I struggle with daily. I have been so bombarded with the wrong way to do it; it’s sometimes hard to find the right.

Since coming into adulthood, I have had time to reflect on my own childhood and the way I was disciplined. Coming from a divorced family, I had two paths to follow mostly my entire life. I had a road paved with consequences and consistency. On this road, I was taught responsibility and resourcefulness. The leaders in this home were compelling and commanded my attention. If I fell off course, the consequences were very uncomfortable and created lasting memories. “No” was “NO” and I knew it. Had it not been for this road, I may have related more to the above quote than I already do. On the other road, I lacked respect for authority. It was inconsistent and weak. The leader was not confident in her role. The leader on this road used threats and bribes; rarely obtaining the results she desired. “No” was always “maybe” and I could always push it to a “yes.” This is the road where I learned about my sense of entitlement. The most interesting thing, the strong leadership road NEVER used corporal punishment. The other road always resulted in corporal punishment, even into my teens. The corporal punishment always happened in a rage and always ended in guilt for the leader. Lacking on both roads was God. Due to the most important Being that should have been in my life lacking, it took several years to find a balance in the person I would become as part of Generation E X.

I pray that God changes the hearts of the many parents who do not see the need for proper discipline or see the need but cannot find it. The majority of children I see are on the same road. A road with a parent that is not confident or consistent. The child leads the parent by manipulative and deceitful behavior. I cannot pray enough that God gives us the confidence we need to raise our children in His way.

The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. Proverbs 29:15


Naomi de la Torre said...

Hi! Thanks for your comments on my blog about overparenting. I've been reading all three parts of your parenting posts. I think that parenting is such a difficult topic. It is so easy to say that a certain method or way of parenting is correct because children are so incredibly different from each other. What works for one may not work for another. But I do agree that we need to turn to God and humble ourselves first, before we make any parenting decisions. God is the ultimate Parent. And we need to look to Him when we are trying to make difficult decisions about how to raise these wonderful soul we have been given to nurture in this world.

Angela said...

Well said. I hear it so often that our generation is the generation of entitlement. It's sad. And it's scary to think of how their (our)children will turn out. Ultra entitled wasters? I wonder how things will change since our economy has changed, there's a large focus to "go green" in our schools, and the web has given this new generation so much access to info. Maybe they'll be generation G, for grateful. :) Here's hoping.

Raising Arrows said...

Hello and thanks for stopping by the blog today!

I have a friend who explained what you are talking about here in this way...

Our grandparent's generation was all about the law of the Bible (encouraging "proper" outward behavior/appearance but no inward change). Our parent's generation was all about the love of the Bible (ignoring our sinful natures entirely). It is up to us to balance the two.