The television show Suppernanny puts a spotlight on a major dilemma that we have in America –children don’t respect their parents. We’re supposed to be raising the next generation, bright and hopeful, ready to change the world. Unfortunately we are raising up an army of “hellions”, devious, arrogant children who crush their parents and all who try and stop them. A simple “no” can cause a crying, snot dribbling, temper tantrum that can last for hours. So how can you keep your kids of the Suppernanny television show?
I believe there are three ways. First, back up your words with actions. Empty threats do nothing more than undermine an already diminished authority in the home. Second, parents should prevent from provoking their children to wrath. And most important of all, show them a genuine dose of love.
You need to back up your words with actions. When children are told to do something, “or else”, the first thing they think is: “or else what?” When they’re told to sit in the corner for x amount of minutes, or told that their privileges will be taken away for a certain time, or that they will get spanked for bad behavior, they originally expect it to happen. When they find out “or else” only meant you’re only going to say it 20 more times before dinner that night—they’re thinking, “I’m gonna play mom and dad like Barnim and Bailey clowns”--you give an inch, they take over the house. So don’t let your children take you hostage in your own home or in public with another "loaded" tirade. Even though it may hurt us more than it hurts them, it’s important to be consistent with discipline because when you do they will respect the words that come out of your mouth, realizing they have substance and authority. This creates a pattern of consistency and structure, which every home needs to be successful.
You should avoid provoking your children to wrath. What does it mean to provoke your children to wrath? I’m talking about raising your children to live one way while you yourself live a lifestyle contrary to your own teachings and morals. Remember, your not raising fools, so when they get old enough to learn their ABC’s and 1-2-3’s they’re going to see right through your words all the way to your hypocritical examples. Most parents’ actions are so loud their kids can’t hear a word they’re saying.
Make it a point to lead a humble and quiet life full of integrity and character before your children, not a critical and foolish one full of pride, unable to admit your mistakes. Your children want you to be "real" with them. If you act like you’ve never made a mistake, anger and resentment will be a life long struggle for them. The more transparent you are, the more peace they will have in their lives and respect will follow.
You should show your children a genuine dose of love. Contrary to popular belief, love is not an emotion. Sure it serves us well on wedding days, times of infatuations, and eating our favorite foods, but real love is a decision. (1a) Love is patient, kind and gentle with our kids when they don’t really deserve it. It’s not rude to them when we’re tired. Love does not get easily angered at our kids when they make a mistake or keep records, only to be thrown up in their faces later. Love never rejoices when they do wrong but rejoices when they find the truth. Love will always help you protect them at all cost, hope for the best in them, and sincerely help them persevere in life when times get rough, instead of encouraging them to throw in the towl. When you strive to love your children unconditionally, love will never fail.
Sometimes by just giving an encouraging word, hug, or just being one big "ear" for them to vent, shows your kids your not just lip service, but genuine about seeing them succeed in life. And that’s the love that we all would like to have in our lives, isn’t it? The kind that keeps our kids off Suppernanny, the other world kind of love, the agape kind.
We can be their parents now when we have the chance to shape and mold their lives for the greater good. Or we can let life take on that role later when it violently slaps them in the face with financial woes, social problems and handcuffs. The choice is ours…
1a: Zondervan Study Bible , Copyright 1986, 1992, 2002. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8