Yesterday I spent most of the day counseling with family and friends. Don’t worry – no major problems – just what I call “life” problems. I hung up the phone with one family member and took a moment to pray and reflect. The caller said I helped and that he/she was feeling better. I was glad for that, but I thought of other parents who rarely enjoy a conversation with their children.
Conversation is one of the major components of a happy family. Without communication you can’t possibly know the other family member. And without communication or knowing them, it’s difficult to want their advice or even their involvement in your life or vice versa.
It would be easy to point fingers at spoiled brats or selfish people and put all the blame on the fact that they have simply been given too much. Maybe instead of having too much, a spoiled or selfish child is actually deprived.
What? Let me explain. I’ve watched spoiled children pitch temper tantrums. Most of the time there is a point where they look to see if the parent is watching. Most psychologist take this to mean that it is better for the parent to ignore the child so they will stop.
I disagree. I think many times the child is in an uncomfortable situation. They want to obey the parent but their emotions are running amuck and they don’t know how to bring it all in check so they can obey. They don’t need to be ignored, they need to be taught. They need someone to grab them by the arms and look them dead in the face and with authority say,
“YOU CAN DO THIS – TRUST ME. I BELIEVE IN YOU. I KNOW YOU. IT IS POSSIBLE. TRUST ME.”
When they are ignored, the next time the situation arises they will handle it the same way or eventually will simply transfer bad behavior into another outlet. By ignoring the child the parent is also setting up a situation that screams to the child “I’m ignoring you. You do not have my full attention. I don’t want to be involved in your problems.” No wonder when the child is 15 many times there will be a complete communication breakdown.
In order for families to be really happy there has to be one nucleus or core person that everyone looks to for reassurance, love, problems solving and just plain venting. You can’t just assume that role – it must be earned. Earned through hours of listening when you are too tired, being involved in their lives when you really need to finish some work, setting aside time everyday to hold, hug or compliment that child and realizing that quantity sometimes is more important than quality. It also must be earned by complete trust. Your child must be able to trust the fact that no matter what the problem or how huge or insignificant it is – you will be there for him/her. Your child must be convinced completely that you want only good for his/her life. They must never see you have an “ulterior” selfish motive for anything you ask them to do. They will only trust you if they know that the outcome will “Always” be good for their lives.
Yes, both parents need to be involved and there for their children. But it helps if there is one person that plays the role of the sounding board, the logical problem solver, the loving counselor. And to be honest – Don’t we all need that and long for that from time to time? Wouldn’t you love to sit down with someone like that today and tell them your problems? Isn’t that really the main focus of most of the professional counseling that is done?
The question is, Can it be accomplished if both parents work? I don’t know. I’ve wrestled with that question for years.
I am glad that when it comes to our faith that God has never turned his back and ignored us. He has always been there for me and that’s why I run to him whenever I’m confused or hurt.
What do you think?