Choices young adults make

In the book he discusses how some good parents blame themselves and are held responsible by others for choices their children make.

“If you’ve launched only high flying sons and daughters, then you won’t comprehend the sentiment of these words”. he says the following, “Why? Because of the crazy notion that parents are responsible for everything their child becomes”.  (Dr. Dobson pg. 63)

Scripture to illustrate how God views this subject:

The word of the Lord came to me; “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”?

As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die (Ezekiel 18:-1)

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Strong-willed children can be a great source of frustration

I have been traveling this week and wouldn’t you know, the internet connection in my hotel room is terrible. That is unusual because most decent hotels have stepped up and realize the importance of the internet connection to a business or even casual traveler. Here’s to making the best of  it.

Following are some interesting quotes from Dr. Dobson’s book.

“Even a cursory examination of these responses makes it clear that strong-willed children are a source of great frustration not only to their mothers, but also to their fathers” Pg. 53

Our children are the most important blessing and responsibility a husband and wife can have.

“From this analysis and several dozen others, it was apparent that mothers of strong-willed children are especially vulnerable to their rebellious kids”. Pg. 55

They usually spend the most time with the child. In many cases the mother is the “go to” person while the father is away at work or working on other things regarding the home. But maybe there is another reason related to the giftings of a mother.

“One-fourth of all tough-minded youngsters do not get along well with either mother or father, and 14 percent are still charting their course in your adulthood. Like their parents, these are the teens who desperately need outside influence of the right type”. Pg 57

This has helped some families with their strong-willed child. Someone who could be a good example for this child, a family member, a friend of the family someone you trust that could speak to the teen from a neutral position.

“This is what we found: for the children with many problems, their parents tended to be either permissive with them or they were rigid/severe”.  and, “The conclusion is that when children are beset by major social problems, their parents react in extreme ways either by throwing up their hands and refusing to discipline them at all, or by becoming so rigid and severe as to oppress them. Pg 59

I know that I tended to react in an extreme manner when first learning to raise children. Why? I guess because I learned it somewhere and never recognized it as being wrong until I had my own children. When you realize this is the real deal and you can have an effect on your childrens future, it makes you pause. I sincerely re-evaluated how I responded to my children and made a change. Its not easy to break a habit but anyone can do it. I’m not suggesting there is always only one perfect way to respond to a situation, but every conflict requires a balanced response, a measured response. In other words thinking hard about the message you are sending to your kids.

James 1:2
My brothers and sisters, 1 consider it nothing but joy 2 when you fall into all sorts of trials,

because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

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Parents who hurt

Dr. Dobson shares a story about a mother who had 3 daughters and did her best to love them and set a Christian example in their life. She invested hours in each one of them hoping to show them how much value they had. She wisely gave them space when they needed it to grow as young ladies. The result, two daughters that could not have turned out better and one that caused astonishing grief and pain. At 18 she ran off with a 28 year old ex convict who had been married 3 times before.

She describes the pain and heartache she felt during this time as almost unbearable. “I didn’t know that anyone could endure that much pain and still live”. (Pg. 72) She describes the sting she felt when innocent folks would ask how the girls are doing.

Ps. 39:7
“And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.

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More than 30% said I’m a failure as a parent

This is what Dr. Dobson found in his study based on responses from fathers and mothers, 30% said, “I am a failure as parent!” and “I simply can’t cope with my kids.” (Pg. 52)

So you are not alone out there. Its not just your family that feels like they are being put through the fire. And recognizing the child’s bent towards strong-willed vs compliant traits helps you to see how it contributes greatly to the issues you are having.

Take a look at his data, “…we find that 95 percent of parents raising very compliant children felt good about the job they were doing, compared with 11 percent of the parents of strong-willed children”. (Pg. 52)

Recognize the seasons you are in with your child. Identify their strengths and weaknesses. Consider the influence of hormones if they are of age and female. Teach them right from wrong.  Pray that God will help you through the season. Pray a blessing on your children. Forgive them and start over again.
1 Kings 8:

14 The king (Solomon) then turned to face the congregation and blessed them:

35-36 When the skies shrivel up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, but then they pray at this place, acknowledging your rule and quitting their sins because you have scourged them,
Listen from your home in heaven, forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel.

Then start over with them: Train them to live right and well; send rain on the land you gave your people as an inheritance.

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Compliant vs. Strong-willed child

Would you think there are more or less strong-willed children. In Dr. Dobson’s book they tested many groups using 35,000 families for their resource (Pg. 29). The data was then analyzed by University of Southern California Computer Center. One of the things they found, there are “twice as many” (Pg. 36) very strong-willed children according to the test studies. Dr Dobson goes on to say, he believes the ratio to be higher because some of the infants within the families had not yet been recognized as strong-willed.

Other findings: (Pg 43-46)

  • “There is no strong tendency for temperament to be related to birth order”.
  • “There is a slight trend toward compliance for first-born children and strong-willed for secondborn.”
  • “Strong-willed males outnumbered females by about 5 percentage points”.
  • “About a third (36 percent) of very strong-willed children are recognized at birth”.
  • “The data suggests temperament of the child is inherited from the parents”.
  • “Only 3 percent of very compliant children go into severe rebellion”.
  • “Only 14 percent of very compliant children go into mild rebellion”.
  • The very compliant child makes the best social adjustment in adolescence
  • The very compliant child has the edge in academic achievement
  • The strong-willed child is more easily influenced by group opinion and peer pressure
  • The very compliant child has higher self-esteem

The study goes on to explain that 53 percent of the most rebellious children will return to what their parents taught them at home. And 85% of hard-headed, independent children, will eventually lean toward the values taught in their home. 15% reject everything their family stood for. (Pg. 49)

This section of the book goes into much detail about strong-willed children and to sum it up, a strong-willed child can be a good thing if they learn to honor and respect the creator of the universe.

Ps. 34:11
Come children! Listen to me! I will teach you what it means to fear the Lord.

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The Tough and the Gentle

This chapter discusses some basic difference between the compliant and strong-willed child.

“…this kind of compliant child and his strong-willed sibling are so distinct that they could almost be from different planets.” Pg. 24

Dr. Dobson tells a story about a young mother in the neighborhood whose young child had already established a reputation of defiance. I guess this could would not only talk back to his parents but a neighbor passing by had better be careful what they said to him. One day the kid was on his tricycle riding down the driveway but continued on into the street. The street happened to be a very busy one with fast moving automobiles. The mother ran down the street and grabbed the childs tricylce to redirect it towards the driveway. The child screamed, “Get your dirty hands off my tricycle”. He was furious and throwing a fit in the middle of the road. Amazingly, the mother took her hands off the tricycle and obeyed the child. Even with the consequence of danger at hand, she did not have the courage to defy him.

This begs the question, was the strong-willed child a terrible child or was the parent a dreadful parent?

To simplify it, one child wants to please, the other believes there way is right and even if for some remote instance they come to the understanding their idea may not be correct, they are still willing to wrestle with you so they can at least have the last word.

Dr Dobson also states, “It is my supposition that these temperaments are pre-packaged before birth and do not have to be cultivated or encouraged.”

Proverbs 13:24
A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them.

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Crisis of confidence in raising children

Dr. Dobson explains on Pg. 15 how mothers are blamed for everything that goes wrong with their children, from toilet training to education. He reminds us that books have been on written telling us how we are not doing it the right way.  Its no wonder so many parents feel guilty no matter how much love and commitment they put into it.

I think he is pointing out the concept, that its not healthy to be parenting from a standpoint of guilt or self-doubt. And he goes on to say something I consider a very important reminder, “Throughout the scriptures, it is quite clear that the raising of children was viewed as a wonderful blessing from God a welcome, joyful experience.” Dr. Dobson (Pg. 16). And I believe in general this is the case. But lets not forget there are folks who are dealing with grueling circumstances beyond what it considered the norm. But If the scriptures tell us that children are a “blessing” there must be a specific way to raise those children.

So if you are struggling with a child, remember, it happens, I guess you already knew that. Sometimes we may be approaching it from a standpoint of guilt or fear. So…….its time to renew your thinking in regard to your children.

First start with compassion

Psalms 103:13
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on his faithful followers.

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