I recently read an article about a Hollywood celebrity couple who, because of the tenants of their Scientology religion, will never tell their daughter “no.” Really? Never?
Unfortunately, this isn’t just happening in Hollywood. There are many permissive mothers and fathers that are too tired after a hard day of work, or too concerned about having their children “like them” to stand their ground. We’ve swung from an old Victorian extreme (Children are to be seen and not heard), to a new, more politically correct extreme (Children are to be catered to, lest their fragile egos become damaged.) In fact, most books on child-rearing today recommend various ways of distracting, bargaining, and/or reasoning with children –ANYTHING to avoid saying, “No.”
Sadly, these parents aren’t doing themselves, their children, or society as a whole, any favors. Their selfish, demanding toddlers are going to grow into selfish, demanding teenagers, and eventually, into selfish, demanding adults.
Betsy Hart in her book, It Takes a Parent, suggests that it is the duty of EVERY parent to persevere. What we do as parents is a reflection of our character. She states, “If we persevere in planting good virtues in our children – and we do that be being their parents, not their friends – we won’t have to worry so much about how they will behave under pressure.”
Having the backbone to say “no” when appropriate is also a good way to save our children from the “anything goes” culture that surrounds us. Many of today’s parents seem to enthrone their children and constantly enforce the idea that the world revolves around them. Children need us to guide and direct them from a position of authority. Our child need us to be their parents – not their peers.