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Candle in the Night

Friday, August 23, 2013

Train Up a Child: Part 2

Why Do Parents Choose Not to Train up a Child?

This is part 2 of a series of posts.  Part 1 can be found here.  

Fast forward a year or so.  I have a little one who is nearing potty training time.  I'm in several Facebook groups that are focused on breastfeeding, babywearing, and general attachment parenting.  I began hearing a phrase I hadn't heard before.  It was "potty learning".  At first, I thought it was kind of silly.  Wasn't it the same thing?

M. decided she wanted to try the potty at an early age.  :)
We allowed her, but formal potty training hasn't taken place
yet and she still potties in her diaper most of the time.  

As I associated in these circles more and more, I noticed a trend.  Training was looked upon as almost a dirty word.  Whether it be potty training or sleep training or simply training your child to obey, there was much to be said about letting a child make their own choices and decisions and avoiding discipline of any kind along the way.  This was all new to me.

And yet, it wasn't.  I'd been working in the public school system for over three years.  I hadn't seen the parents interacting much with their children, but I'd seen the results.  The halls of our schools are filled with children who have been raised by parents who are unwilling for one reason or another to train their children.

Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day.  It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken.  ~Bill Dodds
Photo Credit


Why have parents chosen this route?  It's clearly not working.  The parents aren't happy, the children aren't happy, the teachers aren't happy, and more and more, we're beginning to see the effects.  So why does the trend continue?  There are several clear reasons I see.

Reason 1: Parents want a better life for their children than what was given to them.  I've seen this one multiple times.  Parents of small children are not close to their own parents because their parents never respected them, never approved of them, or even worse, were abusive.  This next generation wants better for their own children and they find it in the "attachment parenting" viewpoint.  (Disclaimer: I am not anti-attachment parenting.  I do extended breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, etc.  But I'm not for the anti-child-training aspects of attachment parenting.)  These parents find this group of moms who seemingly love their children more than other mothers.  They are attached.  And the latch onto that and go with it in every aspect.

Rome visit, June 2008 - 57
Photo Credit
Reason 2: It's a trend.  Letting a child make choices for his or herself.  Building a child's self esteem.  Helping a child discover themselves.  Child-led weaning.  Child-led play.  Child-led learning.  These are all huge trends today.  I'm not saying that any of them in and of themselves are bad, but when they indicate that the parent's role is to be as hands-off as possible and not give the child any type of guidance, that's where the issues arise.  The parent's role cannot be nothing more than a bodyguard to make sure nothing or no one hurts their child.  Look at the example of Christ.  Leading, guiding, teaching, training.  The two just don't mesh.

Reason 3: It is the will of the devil that parents not train their children.  Okay, losing some readers over that one, I'm sure.  But it's the truth.  Look at the scripture.

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Why would the children need to obey the parents if the parents aren't directing them in some way?

Proverbs 23:13-14  Withold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.  Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
These verses are pretty clear.  I know that there is much discussion about what it means to use the rod.  Some say the rod means the Word of God.  Others say it's a rod like a shepherd's rod used to direct the child.  Others say it is a rod of correction (spanking).  No matter how you use the term "rod", these verses show a clear need to direct your child.  It's clear that in training your child, you're delivering his soul from hell.  

Deuteronomy 6:4  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD they God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 
It is SO important that we teach our children to love the LORD and to walk with Him.  

Ephesians 6:1-  Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be will with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  
These verses are amazing.  It holds such promise for children who obey.  And such wisdom for parents.  Gentle discipline and instruction are emphasized.  

A Mother's Kiss  [123/365]
Photo Credit
There are multiple other verses in scripture that address good parenting and child training.  I just picked a few.  The point is, this isn't something that God is silent about.  It's very clear that parents are given to children to raise them up to be Godly individuals.  If we fail to do our duty, our children will likely be found not in the hands of God, but in the hands of the devil.

So what else?  What other reasons do you see that parents choose not to train their children?  
Visit tomorrow for part 3...

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