Jill Aycock
Parenting for His Purpose - Week 3
by Jill Aycock on November 10th, 2016

I am going to start today where we left off last week and with what I believe God wants me to write a book about… “Let Them Feel It”


I feel very strongly that we need to allow our children to feel things… success, failure, embarrassment, shame, and guilt. Real emotions… Our children need to feel these feelings while they young. 

I believe we spend too much of our time and energy trying to spare our children of their own feelings. I understand that it might be in our nature to protect our children from these harsh realities of life but we are actually denying them the lessons that come with being able to recover from these hardships of life or with the true feeling of accomplishment of succeeding on their own. They can’t truly know the feeling of success when someone else does the work for them. 

Why do we do this???

Fear? Fear that they will not succeed? Fear that they will be depressed? Fear that they will embarrass us? 

If you kid hasn’t embarrassed you… you haven’t been a parent for very long or you haven’t taken them to HEB or Target.
 

“We are not to do the work for them, we are to prepare them for the work ahead of them. “


We need to prepare our children for the harsh realities of the real world and part of this is letting them fail….  And let them do it early in life when they are little.  Failures don’t really count in 1st grade. They don’t count in 4th grade. 


But what counts at a young age is the understanding of how to recover from failure. We are supposed to help them with that.  If your child doesn’t know what if feels like to fail, what will give them any motivation to not fail again?


It is also ok for them to feel the shame and guilt that goes along with failure or when they do something wrong. They need to know those feelings are associated with a negative behavior so they never want to feel that again. This can help motivate them to try harder. 


We can’t sugar coat that it’s ok to fail and not try again. We can’t let them think it’s ok to just sign up and go with the flow… we need to stop giving out trophies for just showing up.


Why would our kids work for a huge trophy when their parents only have to pay a registration fee to get one?


My kids have shelves full of trophies that I will one day throw in the trash and they know it. I have told them when they got to college; I will only keep the ones they have actually earned. An MVP or a Super Bowl Trophy is something to be proud of…  In my opinion, a participation trophy is a waste of money.


If we are giving our kids participation trophies for doing nothing and completely take over their science projects in 4th grade because we want them to win, why are we confused that we are raising lazy, unmotivated children?


What do they have to work for? What can they call their own? What can they be proud of?


Our children need to turn in their own work. They need to do their own projects and their own homework. I am not saying don’t help when asked, I am saying don’t do it for them. You aren’t teaching them to make better projects; you are teaching them that they are not capable of doing anything on their own. 


Trust me… I know. I tried to help with “the Bee” project when Carter was in 3rd grade. I found some black and yellow boas to wrap around a water bottle to make a huge bee… It was awesome! I got so excited about the pretty project I forgot it wasn’t my project. I told Carter I “needed” to help because of the hot glue… Wrong! It was my own ego wanting to do the project myself. I didn’t want him to “mess it up.” Carter still makes fun of me for “my” bee project. He’s the kind of kid who is annoyed when I try to help him. 


Oh… I didn’t learn my lesson with him, because when it came time for Walker to make his bee project… it was a repeat of just 2 years before. Same mom, same project… same obsession with black and yellow boas. I doubt my boys remember what part of the bee the Thorax is, but they do remember they didn’t do the project alone and how annoyed they were with me for trying to make something awesome when I wasn’t even asked to help.




I GRADUATED FROM KINDERGARTEN IN 1977


The night before my children started Kindergarten I gave them an alarm clock. I told them it was their responsibility to get up on time and get to school on time. I was not in school anymore and they will have consequences at home and at school if there were late.


My kids were so psyched to go to kindergarten; they didn’t want to be late. They didn’t want to get in trouble with their teachers… or me. To date, none of my children have ever been late.


This is not because I am such a great mom, it’s because they know that this is their responsibility and they have been trained, and a great mom who has great kids, gave me the tip! (Thank you Liz Sandell)


During preschool I told them they had to be ready to walk out the door at 8:15. We were in a carpool and we weren’t going to make the other kids late just because we couldn’t pull it together. I told them if they couldn’t get dressed I would be happy to take them in the pj’s and their teachers would dress them at school.


The thought mortified my boys. One morning when Walker was in the Bridge class, and Anderson was in the older 2’s class, Anderson was having a hard morning and did not want to get dressed. I calmly told him it was ok and I just shoved his clothes in his backpack and walked back in the kitchen. I overheard Walker say “You better put your clothes on or she is going to take you to school in your underwear!” Anderson said… “Really?” Walker shook his head and Anderson hurriedly took his clothes out of his backpack and got dressed.


It goes back to…Mean what you say and say what you mean people… I am not going to lie. I wanted to take one of my kids to school in their pjs one time… just one time to show them I meant business. But none of them called me on it… except ReeseKathryn. She was and still in in love with her 3-year-old class teacher, Mrs. Merrell who we have been family friends with before she was born. She was more like an aunt than a teacher to ReeseKathryn. When ReeseKathryn was having a tough morning, I did to her what I had done to Anderson probably 2 years before and put her clothes in her backpack. But instead of being mortified at going to school in her pj’s, she was joyful at the thought of Mrs. Merrell paying special attention to her and getting her dressed that morning. So instead, I pulled the clothes out of the backpack and started World War III getting that child dressed that morning…. Different kids, different consequences.


I DO IT MYSELF


Kids like to feel success. They like the feeling of responsibility. My toddlers constantly said… Let me do it… I want to do it… Let me try. We humans, have a natural instinct to want to do things on our own. But life and being hurried sometimes gets in the way. Who has time for a toddler to try and put on their pants for 30 minutes? I know I didn’t, but there are other things we can do to let our children feel a sense of accomplishment.


We can give them age appropriate chores. We can allow them to succeed at a sport or musical instrument that they love. We can encourage them to read lots of books that they love. We can help them learn to play sports if that is what they are into. 


When our kids were babies I told Cody that we were not going to live out our dreams through our kids… If our kids like to play chess, we were going to learn the game and play with them… not make our interests, their interests. 


I knew they needed to find what makes them happy, so they could feel their own sense of accomplishment.
We can’t find happiness through our kid’s extra curricular activities anymore than we can find them in our kid’s schoolwork.


We need to let them do their own work. We do not need to be emailing their teachers everyday asking what is due and when. We can stay off Skyward.




Years ago I conferenced with Anderson’s teachers at the end of his 3rd grade year and during that conference they told me they could tell that I didn’t check Skyward that much. I didn’t realize teachers could tell how many times parents clicked on their child’s page. I was a little embarrassed at first until they told me that another parent had clicked on their child’s page 437 times that school year. I was in shock… I am not math major but that is more than once a day…


We aren’t in school anymore. These aren’t our grades… Praise the Lord; I am not going back to school.


Back in the 80’s we figured it out on our own and our children need to too. I got in trouble when I brought home a bad grade. I felt shame and I was sad, I was punished. I also figured out a way to get my grades back up on my own. I am not saying there is never a time to step in but it can’t be the first line of defense. You have to trust your teachers until they fail you. You have to trust your child until he shows you he’s not doing what he’s suppose to be doing.


We have a rule at our house. If you have a C at any point in the grading period on Skyward, you are grounded from all friends and screens. The good news for my kids is that I don’t check it until progress reports come out. I have only had to ground one kid so far and I have never seen a kid work so hard to get his grade back up. 


This is my child who suffers from anxiety and does not like to speak up. He was forced to get out of his comfort zone and confess to his teachers that he wasn’t happy with his grade and he needed to know what needed to be done to get it back up… I didn’t ask her what he needed to do… his grade, his challenge. He knew the consequence for having a C.


It was awesome to watch this kid work hard for something he wanted. I really wanted him to succeed!!! But, it was his job to get it up or he was going to be grounded for 4 weeks. That is a LONG time for a 4th grader.


I honestly don’t remember what subject the C was in, but neither of us will ever forget the lesson he learned by fighting for something he wanted. From that point on he checks Skyward regularly. I never check Skyward; I am almost embarrassed to check it after what those teachers told me in that conference.


I want to be a parent that trusts my child and my child’s teacher.


In 13 year of education. We have had more than 60 teachers for our children. Not all of them great… Most of the have been awesome.


And I am sure you aren’t surprised when I tell you I pray for my kid’s teachers every year and pray for my child when they are with these teachers. I pray as I pass by their schools and the rooms are filled with students. I think it’s great when we get that teacher we all want, but I think there are some valuable lessons when we don’t get what we want.


If you feel like you need to get involved, get involved, we are our children’s best advocates… But watch where you step, our children are learning to function away from us while they are at school. A very important lesson… More important than calculus, which I never have used since high school, but I have tons of life skills I learned in school I use everyday. Most of them didn’t have anything to do with earning an A plus in English.


This brings me to helicopter parenting… If you aren’t familiar with the term, it is defined on Wikipedia as 


A helicopter parent (also called a cosseting parent or simply a cosseter)[1] is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child's or children's experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicopter>, they hover overhead, overseeing their child's life.


Another site defines it as, “A parent who hovers over their child in all aspects of their life. Paved with well-intentions, the helicopter parent wants their child to feel safe from a world gone mad and proceeds to shelter them from experiences that are actually vital to becoming an independent adult. “




As you can tell from my stories, I am not a hovering mother. I have stood before you and told you I want my kids to make mistakes so they can learn from them. But in the past I have felt alone. Other parents have made me feel less of a parent because I give my children independence and responsibility… We are supposed to be for each other, not against one another.


But honestly, that was just when Carter was young, I have matured and become more confident in my parenting as my kids have gotten older, but I think society does that to us. If one mother isn’t letting their kids do it, I shouldn’t. I remember when Carter started 6th grade a friend asked me who is teachers’ were. I thought she was asking about Walker, because I said, he is in 6th grade with 7 teachers, I have no clue. She just laughed. I still don’t know who all my kid’s teachers are in middle and high school.  Remember, I graduate in 1990.


As a Christian mother, I teach my children to put all their trust in God. I tell them that He loves them and wants the best for them. 


So what is the message we are sending them when our actions show that we don’t trust God enough to guide them? 


I believe that is where helicoptering parenting is rooted, trust and fear.


We don’t trust God to provide our children with what is needed to produce a successful adult. We don’t trust society and we don’t trust this world.


We however do trust ourselves. We control situations, we have resources to make things better for our kids, and we know if we are doing the work, the work is getting done. 
But where is Christ in all of this?


Where is He in our parenting? We have to walk the walk with our kids. We can’t say, “trust in God” and then never trust… They are watching us. They will do what we do.


Here are some scary statistics about college-aged kids.
Statics show college kids….
84% Overwhelmed by responsibilities
60.5% felt very sad
57% felt very lonely
51.3% felt overwhelming anxiety
4% had seriously considered suicide


Why are 84% of our kids feeling overwhelmed by responsibility? Perhaps this is the first time in their lives that have ever had any? Maybe these kids are sad and lonely because their parents have lived their lives for them and they are clueless on how to live apart from the parents who did everything for them.


These stats are all kids, not just those with hovering parents. College kids with helicopter parents have a significantly higher level of depression and increased tendency to engage in risky behavior like smoking and binge drinking. Being a young adult is hard enough, what can we do to fight these statistics? How can we raise kids who aren’t afraid of responsibility? Who don’t feel sad or alone?


Proverbs 22:6  “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”


We can train them; we can show them the love of Jesus.
We can train them in the way he should go into this world and be Christ like. How can our kids be Christ-like if they have never tried it on their own? 


We need to allow our kids to trust in Jesus... on their own. They need to have their own relationship with Christ, so they will rely on Him and not us.


Our goal should be for our kids to rely on Jesus, not us. We need to parent them to go to prayer, even before they come to us. This should be their habit. This should be our habit.


I don’t think helicopter parents believe that. I think they believe their children should come to them with every problem and issue… I completely disagree! They actually might get better advice from their Heavenly Father, rather than their earthly mother… Do you believe that? Where do you get your best advice? Your neighbor or while you are in prayer?


God has all the answers…. Not us. Let’s teach our children to go to him first!
Do you wonder if you are a helicopter parent??? Here are some signs.
 
INABILITY TO LET GO – Parent feels considerable emotional pain when they aren’t in their child’s presence. 
SPOILING CHILDREN – Wanting our children to have the best sometimes results into buying it for them. 
LOBBYING – Rather than letting our children learn from their mistakes, we step in, regardless of the situation. 
BEING A SECURITY GUARD – Not allowing certain types of play and not allowing our kids to work on their own problems. 
HELPING THEM TOO MUCH WITH HOMEWORK – Occasional help is necessary, too much hurts. 
GERMAPHOBIA – Not a common sign, but being too concerned with your child being sick and avoiding germs at all cost. 
WATCHDOG – Monitoring where your children are at all times (in person or electronically) and never allowing them to be somewhere that you aren’t. 
TOO MANY EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES – Overscheduling to make sure their kids have the fullest childhood and so they will look good on a college resume. 
TOO MUCH PRAISE – Many helicopter parents pile on too much praise and don’t believe their children should ever feel failure. 
 
If you are doing 2 or more of these things on this list it is time to land the plane… I mean helicopter!
 
It’s never too late to step back and teach responsibility… NEVER!!! It will be easier the younger they are, but high school kids can learn to be responsible too and you probably want to take small steps at first… but start today.
 
Teaching our kids responsibility is crucial to their development. They must be responsible or how can we trust them?
 
We can always trust God, but our kids must earn our trust and once that trust is broken, it must be re-earned and that is a tough one for me.
 
I am not a very trusting person by nature. I think it’s my DNA. My dad is the same way, we don’t trust right away.
 
It might also have to do with the fact that trust is the most important factor of a relationship with me. I was taught long ago, if you don’t have trust, you don’t have a relationship, you have an acquaintance.
 
You must have trust to be in a healthy relationship. This goes for everyone, from your spouse to your kids. If you don’t trust your child for whatever reason, you need to learn how to regain that trust.
 
I think trusting a teenager is very hard. I think I have a hard time with it, not because my kid has done anything untrustworthy, but because of my own past.
 
I remember clearly what is what like to be a 17 year old. I remember thinking my parents were lame and how different I wanted to be. I wanted independence and they wanted me to follow the rules. I wasn’t a big rebel, but I did fly under the radar trying to live my life the best way I saw fit. I was not pointing my life towards Christ; I was pointing my life towards the next party. I trusted that is was where I would find happiness.
 
I am going to have to search deep into my soul and look at each one of my children as they become teenagers and see where they are pointing their lives. To Christ or to the next party? Where are they looking for happiness?
 
We all want happiness, but where are we seeking it?
 
If we don’t trust in God, we will have a hard time trusting our kids and what the outcome is in their lives.
 
What brings us faster to our knees than our kids? When we experience fear… go to prayer, when we experience anxiety… go to prayer.
 
Instead of hovering over your kids, try hovering over your bible. The bible will be the game changer… in you and your kids.
 
You will find wisdom and guidance for your kids in your bible… in hovering; you will find more anxiety and worry.
​In Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
 
In Matthew we read that worry will not add a single hour to our life… this goes for our kids too. We can’t worry our kids healthy, or happy or successful. It won’t change anything.
 
We can’t worry enough to where our children will be accepted by their peers… it doesn’t help.
 
Worry is so unhealthy… for your mind, for your soul and for your body.
 
 
In a 2011 article in psychology today… it states that stress and worry are probably the 2 biggest risks we face in life. The more you worry, the sicker you will be. Worry brings higher blood pressure, depression, and hair loss, even infertility. It is so bad for you!
 
We aren’t doing anyone any good by worrying and stressing out about our kids. It won’t change a thing and it just makes us sick. If worry changed things, life would be perfect.
 
We all worry to some degree, but we need to reteach ourselves to go to prayer when we feel the anxiety and pressures of life.
 
Matthew 11:28 “Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
 
 
Jesus tells us, give it to me… Let it go. He knew the people of this broken world would worry.
 
God knows we carry several burdens that aren’t ours… and he wants them. He wants all of them, not just the big ones… the little ones too. Who else wants to carry our worries and our troubles? Not our friends, no matter what they say. They have their own troubles, we need to be unloading on Jesus.
 
Several years ago we did a study in my Wednesday morning class by Max Lucado called “Fearless – Imagine your life without Fear.” This is a terrific study or read if you are a worrier. He has lots of great points of why we should not live in fear and worry… The number one statistic that came out of that study for me was that 99% of the things we worry about will never come true.
 
How about that???? What we worry about won’t come true… We do you worry about that you think might come true??
 
I never worried about losing my best friend to cancer at the young age of 37; I never worried about having a baby who would never live outside my womb…. I didn’t even know to worry about the bad things that have happened in my life.
 
However, since those tragedies happened, I have worried about losing other friends and other young mothers getting bad news at their 20-week ultrasound appointment.
 
We worry about what we think might happen… not what will happen… No one wants anything bad to happen in his or her lives. We don’t want to feel pain and sorrow, but we will. We have all felt failure, embarrassment, shame and guilt. We have all been hurt and been sad… but guess what???
 
We are all sitting here and we have survived. Not without scars… not without pain… but we are all sitting here survivors.
 
That is what we want for our children… We need to teach them that the Lord will always be with them. As long as God is with them, he will never forsake them…
 
Deuteronomy 31:8
 
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged.”
 
We are not to be afraid… we need to trust. Trust that the Lord is involved in every aspect of our lives and our kid’s lives. We need go to prayer anytime we feel anxious. God knows this emotion and does not want us to dwell in it. He wants us to dwell in him. Proverbs 1:33 teach us just this:
 
But whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
 
Let’s end today on that… we need to go through this next week dwelling in the Lord, focusing on Him. If we are so worried about tragedy, we need to stop stressing, stop fearing the worst and start dwelling…. God saves us all and carries us all… we just must trust in him and stop relying on ourselves.
 
Let’s Pray
 


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