“Not my child!” “I trust my kid!” These are some not-so-great quotes from far too many parents. The ramifications from having these mindsets are pretty obvious. Those being the usual problems that come from being a naive parent. This can lead to your children running around and doing anything they want. These consequences are fairly obvious and are addressed in a number of blogs, forums, books, and magazines. However, there are other problems that arise from these delusions.
From the viewpoint of a son, I can say that there are other issues with having these thoughts as a parent. First of all, let me just say that the higher of a pedestal you put your kid, the more painful it will be for them when he or she inevitably falls. I say inevitably because nobody is perfect, especially children and teenagers. Your teenager is going to fail. They are going to let you down. So don’t make them feel like the world is ending because they disobeyed you. I am all for discipline, but there is a difference between an act of discipline and constantly reminding them that you expect perfection and nothing less. I’ve seen the toll it takes on kids and teenagers when they try to do right, not because of their particular moral standings, but because they are afraid of letting down their parents. Never ever ever assume that there is an act or sin they will not commit. You may think “well my son isn’t perfect, but he would never try drugs” or maybe “my daughter is smart and mature enough to decide not to have sex before she’s ready”. But guess what? No matter how well you have raised them up and no matter how great of a kid they are, they are going to mess up and it might be in the area you absolutley least expect. Now what? Your kid has done the unthinkable (whatever that may be) and one of two things are going to happen.
The first and most common scenario: they do something against your wishes and they are terrified of telling you because for the past thirteen years or so you have drilled it into their head that you would be horrified if you ever found out they did something wrong. I’ve noticed this alot, and almost exclusivley in Christian households. What happens then? Well, they will most likely turn to someone else because the do have guilt but can’t express it because they are afraid of letting you down. This person will most likely be a friend, and this friend will be just as inexperienced and immature as your child. They won’t turn to the one person (you) that can help them because they are afraid of being hated.
Ok, second scenario. You have to have very open communication with your child for this to happen. Your kid does something bad, and he or she feels guilty because they know that they have let you down. They decide to come clean because they know that you could never hate them and you realize that people make mistakes. This requires for you to actively and repeatedly enforce the fact that you expect their best, not perfection. This, of course, doens’t mean you need to slack up on whatever discipline method you use. It only means to reinstate that you will always love and forgive them no matter what.
Now I don’t have any kids, so take what I say and apply it to whatever situation you’re in because I also know that every kid and every parent and every family is different. Before you think I’m trying to teach you how to raise kids, I’m not. I’m only trying to show people how it feels when your parents expect you to be perfect. I know parents mean well, but sometimes it feels like they pick certain things like cussing, sex, whatever, and say that you can never do these things or else they will hate and shun you. Don’t do that! Let them know that you would be extremely disappointed and there will be consequences, but also let them know that you will forgive them and that you understand they’re not perfect.
So don’t ever say your child is “too smart” or “too good” to fall into these mistakes. Don’t constantly brag to other parents about how great and perfect your kid is, because that just magnifies the pressure they’re under. I’ve seen good Christian parents raise children who go out and have sex or do drugs, but because they think their parents won’t be able to handle it if they found out, they turn to the very influences that led them astray in the first place. This, of coures, causes them to continue doing it and, before you know it, they’re addicted to whatever it was that seemed so outlandish in the first place; all because they were afraid to talk to you about it.