We’ve all heard the phrase, “that’s part of growing up”. It takes a lot of learning and experience to grow up, but sometimes, “that’s just part of growing up” - is used as an excuse.
For instance, I don’t think experimenting with alcohol or drugs is part of growing up, nor is shoplifting or truancy. Obviously it happens all too often, but it is not a necessary part of growing up. If fact, it’s detrimental. There are, however, many basic issues a child must overcome to be a successful adult. All kids need help with these basic life lessons.
Naturally, parents should be the teachers, mentors, cheerleaders, and disciplinarians of their children.
Most parents have at least a passing grade in their ability to guide them to become responsible citizens. Many parents, however, fail their children in this respect. When the parents fail their children, it’s likely their children will also fail. Would it not be beneficial to train parents in parenting instead of dealing with the results of poorly raised children?
Following are two lists of challenges kids have to deal with growing up. The first list states common challenges when good parents are available to teach and guide them. The second list are those challenges kids must face when good parents are not there to mentor them. I use ‘father’ in the example because it really takes a team to raise kids, and when one parent is missing, most often it’s the father. Of course these apply to the mother as well.
With a good father in the home:
- Dealing with peer pressure is part of growing up. - A good father is respected and advises how to deal with peer pressure, both good and bad.
- Overcoming fear is part of growing up. - A good father will teach his child which fears are helpful and which are irrational.
- Learning confidence is part of growing up. - A good father will teach confidence to his child with challenges that will tax him, but won’t exceed his ability.
- Understanding how your attitude affects your life is part of growing up. - A good father teaches how to not be a victim and supports good attitudes.
- Knowing and learning the value of manners is part of growing up. - A good father teaches manners and how good manners will beget acceptance, allowances, and success.
- Learning from consequences is part of growing up. - A good father teaches through consequences. Used properly, consequences are nothing more than lessons to correct behavior, leading to achievement and respect.
- Knowing when to take the path of least resistance is part of growing up. - A good father will teach his child that there are efforts to minimize or avoid, while other efforts should never be cut short.
Without a good father in the home:
- Fitting in with whomever or however you can, or never fitting in at all is not part of growing up. - Looking for acceptance can become more important than having values. Not finding acceptance can lead to psychological issues.
- Being afraid of the wrong things while being brave for the wrong reasons is not part of growing up. - Being afraid to ask for help will result in false bravado. Chest pounding does not signify bravery.
- Never knowing real confidence is not part of growing up. - How can you be confident in the right areas when you don’t have feedback from the right kind of people?
- Having “the world is against me” attitude is not part of growing up. - Being a victim places a young person in a position of weakness, laziness, and/or revolt.
- Getting your way by force instead of persuasion is not part of growing up. - If a child doesn’t know how to deal with people and has a bad attitude, they often resort to bullying, crime, or simple disrespect to steal or scare their way to what they want.
- Not understanding that consequences are for teaching is not part of growing up. - If young people don’t learn this from the right people, consequences become punishment, not learning.
- Almost always taking the path of least resistance to get by is not part of growing up. - Without mentoring, many children will take to the easy way out to avoid work, embarrassment, and fear, or to rebel.
A good father, and a good mother, will guide their child as he grows up. The problem is that many parents had poor parenting role models themselves. You raise your children the way you were raised unless you make a conscious effort of doing things differently. You are not likely to do this without training or mentoring.
If you need guidance in parenting you first must acknowledge it. Churches and non-profit organizations will help. There are also, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, brothers and sisters who will help you. You already know those who are most successful as parents. It’s much better to mold young people with love and proper attention than to try and fix them later.