Sometimes, in an effort to show kindness to their children, kind and compassionate parents make the mistake of not holding their children accountable. In their effort to be loving, these parents fail to recognize that parental love requires them to set limits, ask kids to do their fair share, and teach children about sacrifice. If you see hints that your child is adverse to hard work or is looking at the world in a rather entitled way, do a quick check of your own parenting to see if you help your child to see the needs of others.
• I love you so much that I’m making you take out the garbage. Every child should have daily chores that they’re expected to do that benefit the family. School-aged children should be involved in tasks like doing dishes, emptying the dishwasher, and setting the table in addition to their personal responsibilities—making their own bed, cleaning up their room. Older children can be expected to do bigger jobs on weekends, such as mowing the lawn or doing the laundry.
• Yes, you need to write that note to your aunt and uncle. Teach children to respond appropriately to the generosity or grief of others by guiding them through the process of writing notes. E-mail and texting have their place, but children need to understand that gratitude and sympathy both require the written word.
• It’s your grandparents’ anniversary—you’ll have to miss the game. Commitment to a sports team or dance troupe is important, but children should not grow up thinking that the importance of their extracurriculars eclipses all else. Sometimes the family sacrifices for the child’s game, and sometimes the child’s game sacrifices for the family event. When a game or performance coincides with a family trip or milestone, decide the reasonable course of action. If it is more logical that the child skip the event, help your child to understand that their disappointment is a worthy sacrifice to make for the good of the family as a whole.
By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for the past four years running. Here’s a sample issue.
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