Who’s Raising Your Children? – Inez Knows
By Inez Lanns
There was a time in life when men went out and worked outside of the home and were the sole providers for their families. Meanwhile, the women stayed home and took care of the children. The culture has changed over time and many households consist of two working parents. Many children are also growing up in single parent homes as “latch key kids” or spending most of their day under the care of someone other than their parents. As parents we work really hard to provide for our children. As we provide their necessities and material possessions, are we also giving them the love and attention they need and desire? Or are we buying them things to try to make up for the time we are not spending with them? In some cultures extended family live in or near the home and help assist with needs of the children, which is extremely helpful. But that is not always the case. Even if extended family is assisting with childrearing, that does not mean the responsibility of the parents is minimal or no longer is exists. If most of our time is spent at work providing, who is raising our children?
Are the television, Internet and video games raising your children? Do you allow your child to spend countless hours in front of the television, playing video games, on social media or playing games through apps on his or her phone? For the most part, those electronic gadgets do not stimulate the brain or help with human interaction. It often causes a disconnection due to the lack of interpersonal skills that develop more naturally through face-to-face engagement. All over the television, children are disrespectful towards adults and people in position of authority. So are we surprised when many of today’s children speak in a rude manner but are really clueless about the fact that they are being that way? Sometimes parents find it much easier to let the children in front of television or other devices, but the long term effects are not always the best. Technology is good until it becomes your child’s babysitter.
Do others, such as your neighbors or their friend’s parents, spend most of the quality portions of your children’s day with them? Or are your children raising themselves??? Are you so exhausted at the end of the day when you get home from work that you just allow your children to do whatever they want? If you are absent or not engaged in the life of your children, are you really surprised when they do not respect your role and authority. You can’t get upset with the schools, the television and everyone else when you see negative behavior. First of all, we need to ask ourselves, what are we really teaching our children? How we training them, according to our own actions? They learn more by what they see, not just what we tell them.
Children spend many of their waking hours in day care or at school, and I have noticed that there seems to be this myth or expectation that the school is responsible for more than education. These days we expect the school system to train them, teach them manners, mentor, counsel and babysit our children (before, during and after care). We expect schools to do all of that and instill moral and ethical principles, but that is unrealistic. That is not the responsibility of the schools, but it is that of the parents to instill their family values. Schools were set up to academically educate our children, not train them for life’s challenges and family expectations.
Expecting the schools, the churches, the Boys and Girls clubs and other programs to teach your children what you should be teaching them is unrealistic and irresponsible. It may seem more convenient to pass the responsibility onto others. Parenting wasn’t made to be easy. We are talking about another person’s life, shaping them into someone of integrity, good character, hard-working and prepared with all the right tools to succeed in life. Don’t get me wrong, there are teachers who go above and beyond which end up making a positive impact on children’s lives. There are grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members who assist in raising our children. There are ministers, coaches, tutors and many other community members that add to the lives of our children. The African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and I have found this to be very true. However, those people being in our children’s lives should complement the upbringing of our children, not take away our responsibilities.
We desire to give our children everything we did not have. Do more than just provide for them. We want them to be happy, but it is also our job to teach them to be responsible. One major way we can do that is by being responsible ourselves. Hold them accountable for their actions. When they mess up, have them apologize and do what it takes to make it right. Teach them to hold a respectful conversation with an adult. A way to begin is by engaging in conversations with them and put their manners to good use. Prepare them for life. Teach them to be on time and to be people of their word. Display the honor in keeping your word by being a person who keeps it yourself. Teach them the importance of being on time and not wasting time.
Those little things are the things that will prepare them to get jobs and keep jobs.
Show them the value of working for things. Many of today’s youth think that they are entitled to everything. That is not how the real world works, and teaching them that will only set them up for failure. Actively love them. Be present in the lives of your children. Be engaged in what they are involved in. Just as when you love any other person, you take interest in what interests them. Get to really know them. Talk to them. But also listen. It’s not just a task and a responsibility, but it is an honor. Train them by showing them with your actions, not just by saying it. Living by these principles ourselves can be the most effective part of the training. Our children are our biggest and best investment. Do your part and raise your children. It is the most important job that you will ever have.
Inez Lanns was born and raised in Ventura County. She currently owns an Internet Marketing & Communications business called Inez Knows. She also writes on her blog on her web site: www.inezknows.com.