Childrearing: when patience is a vice...

Error message

If you're raising children, read this. Patience with disobedient or rebellious children is no virtue.

The post led to this dialog between...

several mothers:

(T)his was one of the most helpful posts I've ever seen on parenting. I love her nuts and bolts practical advice. So many parenting books steer away from the practical end of things b/c they want to provide a framework and not attempt a formula that parents think they can follow for a set end result. The problem is most parents didn't see their parents parent well and we are marinating in a culture that is anti-authority and therefore any kind of godly parenting is anathema. That leaves a whole lot of people having no practical idea what we are to do and what we should expect or what our goal is. She hit on all these things. What we should expect (children that immediately obey without question, like going to the car from the beach) and why (their safety, etc.)

I'm also forwarding it to (my husband) to read because of the helpful explanation of "manners" and teaching our kids that they are not the center of the universe. I've never seen that said quite like that, and it helped me in thinking through how I'm trying to teach that to (one of my sons) constantly.

One last thing, I loved the title of the post and her challenging of the basic assumption that the most important thing parents are to do is to be patient with their kids. I've frequently felt that is a detriment with some mothers in their parenting--they are simply TOO patient and willing to put up with TOO much from their kids. Unfortunately, that "patience" trains her kids to annoy everyone that is less "patient" than she is with them every time they interrupt, don't obey immediately, leave their toys on the stairs again, scream in the house, etc. etc. etc.

(Another mother writes)

(W)e need to give our children both roots and wings. As moms it is a temptation to want to control everything and keep our children at our sides in order to guard over every aspect of their lives. But from the get-go we need to keep in mind our goal--which should be raising independent men and women who wholeheartedly follow the Lord. All of parenting involves slowly releasing our children. Encouraging them to play independently from an early age is really helpful, both to them and to you! Just keep your ear cocked and check in on them periodically so you know what's going on. And you can't beat outdoor play, a la Charlotte Mason, though my kids don't approach the six hours per day mark.

Here's one excerpt from this post (though if you read nothing else, read the part about WWMD - What Would Ma Do? - That's Ma from the Little House books; hilarious)

"I actually get a fair number of emails that are along the lines of 'Dear Auntie Leila, my six-year old is a handful...' And that's because this mom is stuck in a developmental phase. She's been working with toddlers and things were pretty much under control! Yikes! She doesn't realize that it's now time for that oblivious toddler to become a man, with all the personality quirks that entails! Do you know any grownups who don't have an agenda of their own? Who are doing what you want them to do? Of course not! And that's as it should be. It will take a decade or more, but it will happen. So instead of seeing everything he does as naughty, start channeling him into using up some of that energy helping you with groceries or cleaning out the car. Oh, yes, if you have kids, your car should be clean, not dirty, because kids love to play in cars."

(Thanks for the tip, dear mothers)

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!