Showing kindness to our children

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind;…” I Corinthians 13:4 (KJV)

Most parents would probably respond, “Of course I do!” if asked if they love their children.  They may even feel a little indignant that they were asked.  However, when we apply the Biblical standards of love, it is doubtful that many parents truly love their children.

As an example, take the verse that says that love suffers long and is kind.  Unfortunately, there are many parents who may resent being interrupted by a child when busy with personal enjoyment.  Recently, I have heard people exclaim about hearing parents yell at their children and even call them unflattering names while shopping. 

If love is kind, can a parent honestly say that they love their children if they are unkind to them?  Why is it that adults think it is okay to yell at children but perhaps wouldn’t dare to yell at other adults?  Is it kind to accuse a child of wrongdoing before learning the facts?  How are we loving our children if we always insist they give up what they want, so we can have what we want? 

Could it be that many adults feel that children can’t fight back that they tend to overpower them, and even bully them??  Children have rights just as adults do.  Why do so many parents seem to forget that fact?

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Self-fulfillment prophecy is a term that means children may end up fulfilling expectations.  When parents, teachers, or others tell a child over and over that she or he is bad, the child tends to believe it.  As they grow older, they may think, “I’m bad so I always do bad things.”  I’ve been told that studies show that children tend to act according to the expectations of others.  There is a difference between telling a child that s/he is bad and telling a child that an action was bad.  We need to define good and bad actions, but should never tell a child that the child, itself, is bad. 

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When our youngest grandson was in kindergarten, I told him several times, “I think you will be really good at math.”  I gave him some reasons such as, “You know, your grandpa was a math teacher”.  I chuckled to my self when I saw him during Christmas vacation.  He is now in third grade.  He was figuring in his head how much money he would have left if he bought certain games.  I may have imagined it, but I think he was looking at me with sideward glances to see if I noticed how well he was doing!  On the other hand, many of my GED students would come to class and say, “You know, I never was good at math.  Neither were my mom and dad!  I guess I inherited it!”  (My husband used to say that you never hear anyone say, “My folks were never good at reading.  I guess I inherited it!”)

If we show kindness to our children with words of encouragement and kind actions, then perhaps we can honestly say, “Sure, I love my kids!” 

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