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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Have we become “tenative” parents?

How has the environment in which we raise our children, changed in relation to the environment in which our parents and their parents raised children?  Teenage rebellion, sex, alcohol, drugs, haven’t these temptations been around for ages.

One of my first jobs was selling IBM typewriters. Who would have thought typewriters would become obsolete. I’m sure there are still a few out there. But I remember being carted off to Detroit for IBM sales training school. I believe it lasted three days. They brought in their top sales people and trainers to instruct us on how to prospect, how to handle an objection from a prospect and how to close a sale. Lots of time and money directed into selling their product and motivating their sales force. Every day was intense education about how to sell and understand the benefits of the product. One simple concept which stuck out for me, is the “sales funnel”. Its quite straightforward, the more possibilities you have in your funnel, the more sales you will realize. If your funnel is overflowing with prospects, your chances of making a sale increases. I remember they used a projection screen to put this huge graphic on the wall, of a stick looking man with a large funnel mounted on top of his head. If you operate for 30 days with an almost empty funnel, guess what? You will not have many sales based on the percentages. The concept is true. 

Ask a typical Grand Parent, whether or not they believe our children’s funnel is full and overflowing with temptations such as teenage rebellion, sex, alchohol, drugs, etc. as compared to what they had to contend with while growing up.  Dr. Dobson asked his father how he dealt with the pressures associated with being a parent, listen to his answer (Pg. 13), “I never really gave that a thought.” Then Dr. Dobson goes onto explain that it wasn’t that his father was short on caring about his children, but the enormous amount of pressure our children experience today was not at hand back then. They did not walk around with their funnel full of peccadillo’s most of the time.

Sure, kids and adults made mistakes back then too. But in general the quantity and quality of available enticements was quite different. Here is a recent headline made in reaction to a so-called comedian’s bit:

Women's shelter cuts Sandra Bernhard after Palin gang-rape line...

So its no wonder we have so many “tentative” parents walking around.

I know it is politically incorrect to suggest that values have changed over a course of time, but they have. As parents, we can recognize this reality.

Heb. 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!

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The Challenge that children can bring

This should be a nice change of pace, switching from marriage over to raising children. We will be referring to the book by Dr. James C. Dobson – Parenting isn’t for Cowards.

He gives a great example in the first chapter, Pg. 9, about a family that had three perfect children. Its what he referred to as “easy” children. They never complained, always kept their room clean, “spoke politely”, “musically talented”, “and even had teeth that did not need straightening”. Of course, this is the kind of parents that would freely give out advice to other parents, until, they had their fourth child while still in their forty’s. Suddenly, they discontinued their counseling services. Because according to Dr Dobson the new little one, “He loves to fight with his parents and already knows considerably more than they. Just ask him. He will tell you.” Pg. 10

My children are 15, 14, and 8 years of age. Its amazing to observe their similarities and distinctions. I’m guessing as parents we all have one thing in common, we want the very best for our children.

Is. 54:13
All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the prosperity of your children.

Online book study – Parenting Isn’t For Cowards – Dr. James C. Dobson

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Brief Book Review on “Making Love Last Forever”

Gary Smalley’s book, Making Love Last Forever

When you consider the divorce rate for first time marriages to be anywhere from 40 – 50 %, you can begin to see the need for some type of answer or way out of this dilemma.

If you are looking for an operational, first-hand method of how to avoid divorce, then you will want to study this book. In our online study we barely scratched the surface regarding what the author provides as practical, proven methods on how to have a successful marriage.

He never tells you anything other than marriage is work, just like anything else considered worthwhile. The author’s transparency is one of the biggest advantages of this book. At times, he takes you into his personal marriage and reveals his humanness. Then demonstrates how he and his wife changed and what it took to bring about that change.

One of the most organized authors I have ever read. His style of methodically explaining marriage concepts and how-to’s makes it simple for almost anyone to easily understand what he is teaching.

Utilizing this book would improve almost anyone’s marriage, because it is filled with practical techniques that anyone could employ. I highly recommend this book, it should be required reading for anyone who plans to get married.

Proverbs 24:3
By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;

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Good times and bad

“Every marriage will have its better and worse times, springs and summers and falls and winters. Forever love-love allows that full range of seasons.” Pg. 267

The seasons represent the ups and downs of your feelings.

“Unfortunately, many couples don’t wait for that exciting season that wipes out the memory of the difficult times.” Pg. 267

In other words, with God and time, painful history can lose its sting. Of course, there are both devastating situations and there are what may be considered minor transgressions. But some folks have made it through some incredibly difficult circumstances.

“Its perfectly normal for a marriage to go through different seasons — of drought, worry, sadness, anger and also times of plenty, happiness, and overwhelming joy and laughter.” Pg. 267

So we know ahead of time, we will experience each of these emotions and more. A marriage cannot be based on how you feel at any given time. I think its important to have a short memory for the negative things in a marriage and a deep memory for the positive things.

Lamentations 3:20
I continually think about this, and I am depressed.

Continue to hope, ask God for help, He cares for us.

Job 14:7
“For there is hope for a tree, When it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And its shoots will not fail.

This is the final post (except for the book review) from our Online book study — Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley.

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A Love That Lasts Forever part 2

Pg. 266 (Gary) The author tells a heart-wrenching story about a couple named Charlie and Lucy Wedemeyet. Charlie was a California high school football coach who was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrigs disease. A simple explanation of the disease is that your muscles stop getting the necessary messages to function. He was given 7 years to live, but he continued to coach.

“When Charlie could no longer walk, Lucy drove him up and down the sidelines in a golf cart. When he could no longer talk, she read his lips and relayed his instructions to the players. And in his dramatic last season as a coach, after he had gone on twenty-four-hour-a-day life support, his team won a state championship!”. Pg. 266 (Gary)

What goes through a spouses mind watching their partner go through such turmoil. How difficult must it be realizing the overwhelming physical weakness of your marriage partner.

1 Cor. 2:3
And I was with you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling.

(more to come later)

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A Love That Lasts Forever

Pg. 265 (Gary) “But don’t get the impression that heroic love is all self-sacrifice.  From looking at my own marriage and hundreds of others, I’ve come to understand that enriching the life of another is often more satisfying than doing something for ourselves. As we reach out to another, our own needs for fulfullment and love are met”.

This is one of the most incredible stories of self-sacrifice. Words can hardly describe the commitment of this father. If you have already seen it, then it may be worth seeing again. None of this would be possible without this father’s love and commitment.

How much is enough? Sorry to point out the blatantly obvious but can you imagine the time this father has invested into his child’s life beyond sports.
I’m just sitting here mulling over what he must have sacrificed, things he gave up, appointments he missed, and sleepless nights he must have experienced.I suppose there have been heaps of opportunites for him to be resentful. But his actions demonstrate his heart.

John 15:9
Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; remain in my love.

Its like we discussed in earlier posts, sometimes it would be better for our spouse, if we treat them the way we treat a neighbor.

Romans 13:10
Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Online book study — Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley.

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