This is part two in the exclusive online presentation of "How to Be Told by Your Children That You Are So Not Cool in 12 Easy Steps" by Rev. Dr. Trey Kuhne, LMFT. Thanks to Dr. Kuhne for allowing me to once again present his series to you on my blog. If you missed it, you can read Part One by clicking HERE, and this is Part Two:
This week we continue this 3 part series with the next four easy steps to provide consistency and structure to the home world. My title for this series, “How to be told by your children that you are so Not Cool in 12 Easy Steps” was actually a comment that one 14 year old child said one day as we were discussing these things with his parents in the therapy session. His reply was, “Mom and Dad, you both are so Not Cool if you listen to this man!” Thus the title. Don’t worry, I was quickly told the next session that I was a cool counselor by this same young man.
I hope these little small snippets of truth will be valuable to you as parents as you find creative ways to be the very best parents possible to your children. They deserve it! And now on to steps 5-8:
5. Be aware that many in the community put children’s buying power above children’s well-being. Don’t expect the community to reinforce (your) family values. Though you may have Christian friends with similar values, the community-at-large is not in agreement with how you may raise your children. From cell phones, to clothes, to gadgets, your children will always want for what the community tells them they should want for. As the parents, you both can set limits and direct your child’s understanding of money, tithing, giving, management, and monetary power.
6. Clearly state consequences of failure to follow family rules. Consequences are not
negotiable. Failure to be crystal clear with your children leads them to begin ASSUMING what you mean. Though the wages of sin is death and the consequences of family disobedience is NOT death, make your children aware of what the consequences are to their disobedience to the family rules. Do not feel sorry for your children or give in when you are compared to other parents that are “way less strict.” The grass is not always greener on the other side. Those “less strict” parents may be struggling too.
7. Enforce stated consequences when family rules are broken. Children who don’t follow family rules today may break society’s laws tomorrow. Many of the post baby-boomer generation wanted to make sure they fixed everything in their children that their parents did wrong in them (Please read this line again!). Yet I bet that most of the parents reading this remember well the corrections their parents made in their behavior. How else does a child learn unless consequences are enforced? Be willing to be the Bad Guy/Gal. Seek support from other parents when you feel you are being attacked/punished by your children for requiring your children to honor/follow the family rules. Also remember that your local family therapist/pastoral counselor (me!) loves to help with these issues as well.
8. Don’t assume that the parents of all your children’s friends have the same family rules you do. Some have different rules, some have none. This is why one important part of your job as parent is to screen your children’s friends and their families. Just because little Mary likes a friend at school doesn’t mean that the friend can come over and disrespect you and your parental authority. I encourage parents to directly speak with the parents of the friends that your child chooses to hang with. There may come a time when you will need to confer with the other parents for some reason. Also, keeping good communication with the other parents may allow you to encourage them in your rules.
Well that’s all for now. See you next week with the last 4 steps to help the family run more smoothly and to enjoy the peace of structure!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Trey Kuhne
Dr. Trey Kuhne is a pastoral counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist with Pathways Pastoral Counseling located at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, 400 Dupre Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29307. He specializes in working with individuals, couples and families. Call (864) 542-3019 for an appointment. He may be reach via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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