Parenting is probably the most important job in the world because parents are given the precious gift of raising a child or children which is a blessing from God himself. Children are “our future” as many have alluded to, but they are also the present, and as parents we need to do our job right to raise children in the ways of virtue. As Catholics, we are given this task as the primary educators of our children, and this is a major commitment and duty. Below are things NOT to do in parenting to avoid the negative outcomes in society that many of us see daily in the society today.
Be a parent over being a "friend"
In today’s world, there is the temptation to be “friends” with our children to the extent that parenting is no longer necessary in the eyes of some. This is mistake number one as it is a disservice to the child to be raised by someone who is considered a peer and not a parent. Parenting is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. When the parent wants to be well-liked over teaching the child right from wrong, this can be a a disaster waiting to happen. Love is demonstrated by teaching, caring, and most of all by taking full responsibility as a parent in showing children how to be good stewards in the world.
Choosing popularity over virtue
Many parents today tend to glorify their kids to a point of being inappropriate. Teaching kids that what matters most is having expensive and/or stylish clothing as a way to be superior, in having the perfect friend group to display, and in being well-liked by the "cool" peer group is the wrong road to travel. Instead, instilling in them a humble spirit, kindness, and a heart of service is the direction to go in. All to often on social media, parents “show off” their kids to others in terms of college acceptance, proms, and popularity, and there is much less offered on the things of God. At the end of our lives, popularity, money, and “coolness” will have zero value. It is better to teach this lesson earlier in life to children instead of waiting for them to discover the truth at the end of their lives.
Saying “yes” too often
Parents seem to be afraid to say “no” to their kids all too often in our current culture. There are times when the word “no” is the greatest gift we can give our kids because it is a way, we can protect them against the evils of the world. This does not mean that we don’t encourage our kids to live out their dreams and do their very best in the process. It means that we exercise our parenting in realizing that not every decision is good, wholesome, and safe for young people to partake in. For this reason, saying “no” may just be the best gift we can ever give our kids. Adults who grew up without many rules realize later that they wish they would have had more boundaries at home. Boundaries are a precious gift we can give to our children when growing up.
Not teaching the faith
Perhaps the worst thing one can do as a Catholic parent is neglecting to teach and pass on the faith. We have an obligation as parents to live and instruct our children on the importance of loving God and others. In addition, teaching children to pray is integral. Most people can remember those special people in our lives who loved and lived their faith. Their lives will never be forgotten because of the way they lived for God.
This article focuses on what NOT to do, but there are so many things we can do as parents to not only be good but GREAT. These points are not meant to discourage but are meant to encourage all of us to do our best when it comes to parenting. Our children are the most precious gift God can give. Let’s give it our best shot and be not only followers of Christ but imitators too. Our children are watching, and they will not do as we say but as we do.