We shared an article last week; it started out with a sad story:
“I was talking with a woman a few months ago who was sharing with me her plans for their summer break. She told me of all the activities she was going to put her girls into. From camps, to classes, to lessons, to sports, to VBS…overnight play dates, a trip to Grandmas and babysitters lined up for the rest.
I must have had a shocked expression on my face because she stopped and then said with a little laugh and an obvious edge of contempt, “I think I’m a 50% kind of mom. I honestly don’t like my kids. I try to sign them up for as much as I can because I just don’t want to be around them.”
Is that not just the saddest thing you’ve ever heard? Or, maybe you can relate and that’s your story too.
The author believed the problem to be “hardness of heart”. She went on to lay out such a long list of do’s and don’ts for parents that at the end of it I was glad I was done raising kids or I would have been tempted to throw in the towel!
To me, it’s not that complicated. It all comes down to failing to “lay down the foundation”.
I’ve seen my husband build everything from garages and shops to an entire house from the ground up. And, I’ve learned that foundations must be laid very carefully or the rest of the building will be worthless. Putting in the foundations always seemed boring and felt like it took forever. I wanted to jump ahead to the fun parts. But, I understood that without a firm foundation, there would be nothing to build upon.
It’s the same with raising kids.
If you don’t lay the foundation (set rules and boundaries in place and strictly enforce them) you have nothing to build upon. Yes, it’s hard work. It’s frustrating and it feels like it will never end. But, if done correctly, you will have a firm base to build a relationship upon.
The mom quoted at the beginning of this blog failed to build a foundation for her kids. She was madly hammering sticks together in the hopes they’d stay together. But, without a sturdy base, everything kept falling apart. She didn’t like her kids because they weren’t likable. And, the reason they weren’t likable was because she had failed to first build that sturdy foundation that her kids could stand and grow on.
Kids know when they’re out of control and they don’t like it. I can’t begin to count the times a young person has told me they wished they had been held accountable for their actions when they were children. Whether they admit it or not, kids equate rules with love and security. When their parents let them get by with anything and everything, instead of feeling loved, they take it to mean that their folks just don’t care.
Recently, we did a series on spanking; do we or don’t we? Both sides made compelling arguments. But, one thing we all agreed on is that whatever method you use, kids must be disciplined and held accountable for their actions. Without that, chaos reigns and the frustration will lead to neither child nor parent being very likable.
It is hard work putting in a foundation, but you will reap the benefits for the rest of your life and the life of your child if you take the time to do it.
Next Week: “Now that the foundation has been built, the fun can begin!”