Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Breaking A Stronghold in Children

Almost all parents love their kids. They take delight in them. They desire to give good things to them. They love to see them happy. But with all their good intentions, parents can wreck the well being of their children by entertaining one stronghold.

We parents know this fact: Our lovely and cute kids are at the same time stubborn children. There is one stronghold in them, which they frequently manifest.

What is it?


The Word of God declares, “There is madness in their [people’s] hearts while they live” (Ecc. 9:3). This madness is inherent in people from the time they are born. When a child begins to grow, she manifests this madness in her heart. She desires to get what she likes. She demands to get what she likes. And she exhibits disruptive behavior if she does not get what she wants.

The best way parents can spoil their children is by submitting to their whims and wishes. If parents give whatever their children wish, if they seek to pacify them by submitting to their demands—they are raising their kids to become stubborn, rebellious, headstrong, adamant and perverse adults.

Therefore, if parents sincerely desire the welfare of their kids, they must commit themselves to break this “what-I-like-I-want” stronghold in them.

How can we do this?

1. Saying “NO”

We must teach our children that they cannot get whatever they like by lovingly and firmly saying “NO” to their greedy wishes. The more you fulfill their demands, the more they keep on demanding. Hence, learn to say “NO” to their unrestrained wishes and demands. Consider well and fulfill their wishes only if they are needful and helpful.

The good thing I have observed in children is this—they not only want to have what they like immediately, but they also forget soon their hurt. So don’t bother to hurt your kids by learning to say “NO” when required. Hurt is not harm.

2. Wailing Leads Nowhere

Children should be taught: They cannot get what they want, particularly if they cry aloud, yell and demand. This is where many parents fail to train their children. I teach my kids that if they wail and rudely demand, they miss the opportunity for me to consider what they ask. They know well that wailing leads nowhere.

Many parents immediately consent to their kids’ wishes when they cry aloud. As a result, kids know that “wailing” is a means to dominate, control and win over their parents.

We parents must realize that the world is not going to be drowned with our kids’ tears. I have consistently taught my kids that crying aloud and yelling is not the way to get things from their parents. They still manifest this attitude once in a while, but only in vain.

Moreover, it is good for parents to teach their kids to request, not to demand. I don’t pay attention to what my kids ask when they don’t request. It took sometime for them to learn this courtesy. They now ask me, “Papa, can I please….” They fail occasionally, but they learn their lesson immediately.

Of course, this does not mean our kids’ wishes are fulfilled whenever they request. They must be taught that parents have the freedom to say “No” even if their wishes are expressed as a request.

3. Patience, Patience, Patience

The third lesson is painful for all children to learn, and that is, PATIENCE. The hearts of kids seek immediate gratification. For this reason, it is necessary for kids to learn delayed gratification. They must be taught to wait. They need to understand they cannot get whatever they want in life immediately. They ought to know that some things in life can only be received by patiently waiting for the right time.

Sometimes, I deliberately tell my kids they have to wait when they want something. I encourage them to pray and be patient. If they are reluctant and insist, they lose. They hate this process, but it is good for them. When parents teach patience to their children, and not entertain instant fulfillment, they save their kids from becoming impulsive and careless in life.

4. Teaching Contentment

Finally, contentment is something that is quite difficult for children to learn. If they have something and see another thing they don’t have, they demand to get it. Just like adults, children constantly express discontentment in what they have and become possessive towards things they do not have.

This is what I have observed: Parents who had gone through many struggles in their childhood and young age, but later excelled in life, tend to shower comforts on their children. They do this because they don’t want their kids to suffer. However, such parents are not aware that they are failing to train their children to learn contentment, endurance, responsibility and wisdom.

Thus, parents ought to consciously observe discontentment, greedy and possessive attitudes in their children and teach them to remain content in life. They must train them to be thankful for the things they have in life, even to adjust oneself readily to different conditions.

In order to cultivate contentment and adjustment in life, it helps our children when they are exposed to the lives of so many kids in the world who do not have the basic necessities of life. We must show them the pictures and videos of multitudes of kids who are living in dire conditions. At times, it is good to take them to orphanages and street children homes and expose them to the plight of poor kids.

How good for our children to know they are privileged and blessed to have so many things in life that many kids around the world do not have!

Final Words

Dear parents, what our children become when they reach adulthood is mostly dependent on how we train them from childhood. Let us identify the stronghold of “what-I-like-I-want” and “what-I-like-I-want-right-now” attitude in them and break this stronghold by consistent teaching, example and discipline. And let this be done out of humble dependence on the all-wise God and by constant expression of our love towards our kids.

How wise are these words from the Holy Bible:

“Train up a child in the way he should go;
    even when he is old he will not depart from it.” 
(Pro. 22:6)





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