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Purpose: The Devastating Effects of Secular Parenting analyzes the results of secular teaching through ten lenses. As we see how common these 'results' have spread into our communities and churches, then we will be a bit more aware how far secularism has penetrated our culture.
Unless we are convinced that secularist parenting brings devastating results, we will be unwilling to make any changes in the way we raise our children.
This article takes a close look at the results of secular teaching upon your children. As we do this, we need to keep in the back of our mind that God in His goodness and power is able to help us make the needed changes that will help our children be wonderful children so that everyone would love to be around them. This process will be explained later.
THE END RESULT OF SECULAR TEACHING
People do have a vision of what they expect from parenting, but it is often very distorted from reality. This set of expectations is shaped by ones culture. The question is what is this mindset like and what effects will it have on your children's lives. The more unconscious a person is of his beliefs, the more his perspective is shaped by the culture he grew up in. Each culture or subculture has strong beliefs about parenting.
Some parents think that their children will just run on their own. The modern mentality often incorporates this mindset into their lifestyle. The parents are busy working. The child hardly sees his parents. They can virtually do what they want. The parents comfort their guilty feelings by the false argument that they seemed to manage okay when they were growing up. "Anyway, kids will be kids. A little freedom is what the children want the most."
However, we can see that children who have that kind of freedom adopt their values from their peer group around them and lack the love and security they were to receive from their parents. They often adopt boyfriends and girlfriends to substitute the affection that they were designed to receive from their parents.
This is so different than the close care and instruction that the Bible says to give to children. Many modern families might life under one roof, but they do not operate as a family. They focus outward rather than inward. Three pieces of news in one week just came to my attention illustrating this.
Families were designed as close working units to provide an element of affection, provision and protection. Without this support from their families, the children will go unloved, needy and vulnerable.
Human Core Values
What is man chasing after? Where does he think the best of life can be found? A friend working for a millionaire just told me last night that having lots of money doesn't make a difference in their lives. They have the same problems as others without money. Not many people can see this, however.
The parents do not realize when these human core values such as happiness, financial security, safety, self-esteem, and success stand at the head of the trail that they strongly influence the way they train their children. Some parents look at this and do not care.
Christians, however, should wake up to these false values because they are idols. In both cases their lives will greatly suffer. Why? Let's look at the number of problems that can develop.
#1 These expectations never are fulfilled. When their dreams are smashed by the reality of life, then these people are the most desperate. They have no hope.
#2 Some of these people have attained to their dreams but only to see it taken away! Think how one stock market has dropped in half. They did not all go down equally. Some companies went bankrupt. They lost everything.
#3 Others having reached their goals of wealth still aren't satisfied. Greed always has them looking for more. They are never content.
#4 Those that might obtain these things will only leave it all behind. They can't take their security, fame or wealth with them into the grave.
#5 They are condemned by the choices they make. They choose money over peace so they will argue about an inheritance and steal money. They are so busy trying to make or keep their status, fame or wealth, that they cannot enjoy it. One might have chosen his job over spending time with his wife and children. Now the years are past and he has lost his family.
#6 Worst of all, is that a fiery judgment faces all who have not put aside their selfish goals so that they may serve the living God.
We find that many never get what they hoped for while others who might reach their goals will eventually lose all at great consequence. The scripture points us instead to store up riches for eternity. For there love is combined with security. Worship and adoration of our good Provider always towers over the material things we have.
Human Nature is Good
Many people adopt the belief that man is naturally good. This wrong mindset greatly affects his understanding of child rearing. These parents will tend to think that the child has the will, heart, power and sometimes innate knowledge to grow up rightly.
What a startling awakening will hit them! One does not need to go far to see what happens when a person is set 'free.' I am sure you have seen this too. Go to a place where the parents are with the children. It will be more obvious because we can see the parent-child interaction.
The last time we were at the zoo, a number of families were together at the slides. The parents would normally sit down and watch their children have some fun sliding. Maybe a mom or dad would help their young child slide down.
I first noticed the problem when two boys starting going up the slide and endangering the other smaller children. When the mother did come around, she told the boys not to do such things. This worked for one minute and then the children started to go up the other slides. The mother thought simple instruction would work. She couldn't see through the real problem. She thought her children were good and that they would do what is right.
The problem is that the more one thinks and consistently treats the children on this basis the worse they are. In the end the children had a rebellious spell kicking rocks at their mother. The mother on the outward talked kindly but was brimming over inside with anger that reflected in her face.
This is a repeatable experiment. You try it out. We are not just judging a person's motives. We observe over and over that those who refrain from discipline do it because they think the problem is one of instruction rather than the will. The mother said "You're angry." She missed the real problem. They were outright rebellious and didn't want to obey. Once a child has its freedom of its will, they don't like being betrayed.
What we believe about our children greatly affect the way we treat them. Spoiling our children comes about when we underestimate the need of moral training through discipline done in love.
Disrespect for Authority
The permissive crowd dislike anything to do with authority. We won't go into discussing the pyschologists who have popularized these notions, but focus on the effects it has on their children.
These parents believe authority is oppressive or at least repressive. In any case they are taught that authority holds back the potential in their children.
I wish they just spent 10 minutes analyzing the children that do well. They will find that when the parents' authority is clearly recognized by their children, then those children respect teachers and will tend to do their parents' wishes.
Without the parents' authority, the parents feel the need to give open end choices to their children. They spend lots of money on pleasing, which really end up damaging their children.
There is no way to properly and nicely limit the child's decision power. Different times in the store, one will see that the child dictates what the parent should buy! The child does not understand budgeting, wise purchasing power, nutrient, etc, but still the parent gives in.
The child learns that others are to serve their needs and become utterly despiteful, ungrateful, and arrogant. I hope to believe that if a parent could look down the tunnel of the future at the consequences of their false views on authority, they would change their ways and so care for their children.
When a child has equal authority in the home, he will create absolute havoc. The parents will struggle for equal authority for the child will want to take all of it.
Some parents cannot bring themselves to use physical means of disciplining their children. Some in fact believe that those parents that do 'spank' are oppressive and mean. We admit, though, that many have wrongly disciplined their child.
We understand why they would refrain from this. The method is not wrong, but the spirit of anger has damaged it results. God does not state the need for the 'rod' again and again in vain.
Without the rod, there is no real teaching of consequences to the children. There is no real training. We are not stating that all discipline needs to be with a rod or switch (thin branch). Not at all. However, without the switch as the main means of calling a child to associate pain with wrong choices, the child is going to be much more hurt by exploring into dangerous areas.
What happens is that the parent has knowledge about real danger but is not willing to train it into their children. Is this love? They hope mere words will work. They don't. They are not naturally bent to obedience. They need the switch to put them in favor of obedience. After the rod has done the job (very lightly on little ones), the fear is instilled. Then the parent can only use his word and the children obey.
Most parents who try the 'word' means alone end up bribing their children with rewards, treats, etc. The parents are exhausted trying to have their children doing what is right. They don't dare have more than one child because they can't cope.
God goes so far to say that the one who doesn't chastise his child doesn't love his child. This is serious words for all to hear.
Thinking that the child will merely listen to the parent is naive. Children as well as adults are bent on doing evil. One of the benefits of chastisement is the association of pain with disobedience. Only then will the word of the parent have its positive effect.
The parent which ignores God's command to properly chastise their children end up with a lot of frustration which is usually associated with anger and bitterness. They have tried so hard to be good parents. They want to be known as good parents, but they have failed. Many mothers are willing to desert their children for the workplace and escape this shame. They hate to take their children anywhere.
Those popular magazines don't have any real solutions for these parents. Their methods fail. The mother is depressed. The grandparents don't want to watch their own grandchildren! Those children are brats. They have severe temper tantrums. They are outright rude.
Because of this inner tension, the mother cannot even muster up normal mother-love. They end up being afraid at their reactions to their children. No wonder that many parents are glad for a break when their children are at school and fear those vacation times. This situation wrecks any real hopes for a fun and happy family. The parent has expectations but no way to help reach the child.
A parent that is bound up with frustration boils over into bitterness and hatred. God's way alleviates this tension and brings about great friendship times between parents and children.
There are a number of reasons for limiting the number of children. Many suggest they are doing their part on keeping down on using up the supposedly limited resources on the earth (1). Others who have even thought less about it, believe the local propaganda limiting the number of children because they are doing a social good.
But in fact, this only becomes a good excuse for what they secretly want. Children get in the way of the parents' own goals for their lives.
I personally have heard many times, "Now that they are back in school, I get a break!" Children feel unwanted because they often are not wanted. These might sound like cold words but these words reveal more and more how the modern mindset first looks after their own pursuits in life. This is the main reason abortion is commonplace despite the many guilt feelings associated with it.
When children are limited, they are looked upon as a task and a burden. Instead of knowing one is wanted and desired, the child feels like he is only a number. Did you ever think what the children think when they find that their parents have used birth control? They understand how other values have colored their parents' desire for children. When they are scolded, they then translate that 'don't want' attitude to themselves.
Even worse is the many children who are murdered through abortion. This present generation naturally thinks in their rebellious stages that their potential brothers and sisters have been murdered by their own parents. Money and selfishness become key denominators in life. Truly we have offered millions of our world's children to the god of wealth and ease.
The limiting of children also limit the growth of families and nations. It is predicted that Europe will be overtaken by immigrants in the next fifty years or so. As the indigenous number of people drops, others come in and take their place.
Materialism and selfishness has gutted out the heart for children. The family might want one or two children, but they don't want the children to interfere with their own lives. This is so opposite to the family where the children contribute to the family as a happy and desired member.
The arguments boil down to a lack of faith in God's provision for that what He has commanded, "Be fruitful and multiply." He will adequately supply. Living in close quarters is fine if the hearts of people are rightly trained. Sin is the main problem not the number of people.
Conflict of Sex Roles
Due to the broken family, a conflict of parental roles has come to the forefront. Who is suppose to care for the child? One would think this is an obvious question, but it isn't anymore.
God made it obvious by giving the mother special care for a child from the bearing of the child and the nurturing through breast feeding. Doctors and educationalists have spoiled this beauty by substituting the bottle. Now that there is a bottle, the wife can go to work and the husband can help care for the baby.
The society pushes the wives into the work force instead of caring for their children. Some say it is because of more tax money; others think it is to liberate the woman; others to fulfill women's true needs. Perhaps all of this is true but they all steal from what is most precious.
We acknowledge without any extra encouragement it is so difficult for the wife to stay home. This is all the more when the child is naughty and the mother does not have any cure! Who wants to stay home with the demon?!
A lot of extra tension arises between the husband and wife over house chores, baby care, cost of pre-school education, etc. Who should cook dinner and wash dishes? Who should change the diapers? When both husband and wife are working, the marriage partners only have time to care for the children and discuss their problems usually through fighting.
Most of these marriages end in divorce and tragedy. The couple never had time to enjoy each other. The children end up scattered around as if a bomb has burst in their midst. The child's souls saddens as he hears his parents squabbling over who has to care for him on his half day off from school. "Nobody really cares for me," he concludes.
Without clearly defined roles for the parents, the couple can't stabilize their marriage in love and the children are confused as to what is normal and good. Children end up not receive their needed instruction from their dads and miss out on their mother's free time to care for them. God's way eliminates this by clearly designating roles for the husband and wife. Parents can serve complimenting each other rather than competing.
Materialistic people ignore the soul. They don't understand the part that conscience and guilt have in a person. Many Christians also are ignorant of these things. Because of this, many people are willing to walk away from unresolved conflict without resolving it.
They just don't realize the great problems that are piling up in this inner beings. Of course these problems occur elsewhere, but we will focus on parent - child relationships.
Today parents are being told that parents and teen children will face horrible times of tension. We are told to expect 'teen trouble.' The problem they allege is due to their desire for independence. In fact the relationships are troubled because a culminating number of unresolved conflicts.
When a person has not forgiven or been forgiven, guilt and bitterness piles up in their soul. Without apologies, the taking responsibility of doing wrong, their guilt stays with them. If they are offended and no one apologizes, then they are bitter. Parents are unfortunately too proud to apologize to their children even thought they have inserted their selfish actions which brought unnecessary pain to their child.
The other problem that develops is an unforgiving spirit of child to sibling. When we do not rightly show the child how to apologize as a parent, then the one child will not apologize to their brother or sister. The special relationships that could form never do. They spite each other and constantly fight. Children of a family have enough problems without all this unresolved guilt.
Instead of shouting matches, both parents and children need to be trained the simple, though admittedly humbling, process of making an apology. The parent will not be able to have the child apologize properly to the parent unless they are chastised. We have a choice of training how to forgive and be forgiven or holding grudges and a bitter spirit. I know what I want for my family!
Expression of Feelings
Instead of apologizing and forgiving, the typical parent goes along with pop psychology telling them that it is healing for their child to express their feelings. This is contrary to what the Bible would advise any of us. We see the results of it in the ensuing relationships.
First of all, evil words are often expressed through their words. Evil words will hurt them.
Secondly, they are not trained to ask for forgiveness. The evil stays with them.
Thirdly, the child naturally extends the expression from verbal words to actions. Many of these actions can be very dangerous and only encourage the child to continue doing evil things.
Fourthly, the real problems are never focused on. They might be angry at the surface level, but is it not true that the parent needs to ask why they are angry. The reason of the above slide incident is that the child was rebellious. He didn't want to obey the parent. He was angry but helping him to identify his root wrong will help focus on the solution.
Fifthly, this reliance on feelings and expression through words does not rightly explain the real source of forgiveness in Jesus. God could not overlook sins; He had to deal with them. Words alone cannot breach the gap. God helped us on this point, but we need to realize our need which this method does not help.
We need to go beyond the emotions right to the spirit. There is evil that is present that needs to be confronted, exposed and expelled. Otherwise, the evil will wait its time to spring again.
What we have read above is so revealing that it serves a great apologetic on defending the truths of Christianity. Secular teaching is false because its result are totally undesirable. Societies that are unrestrained actually fall apart.
When a family lives by God's truths, however, that family is really blessed. People want to spend time with their children. We want to spend time with our children. Let's look at a common example.
How many parents treasure their children growing into their teens? Most parents dread it. They expect and receive a nonstop fight with their children.
This is not the way it should be or was designed to be if you go by God's instruction. I have two older children, one who has already long exited her teen years. We have thoroughly enjoyed our times with them.
They love to come down and visit their dad and mom who are on the sofa talking and getting ready to pray around 10 pm each night. We talk and talk, but realize we are not going to get to bed unless we ask them to leave.
Great joy and love come from doing things God's ways.