L. Sommer Love is a Twin Cities-based writer, teacher and minister who conducts workshops and gives talks on parenting and other topics. In this new column, she gives her perspective on parenting and children.
Children are our greatest asset; they are little seeds growing in whichever direction we plant, shape, nuture and guide them. They are our future, and one day will grow up to become everything they have heard and seen in and out of the home.
Truly, it is not easy for parents and families to raise children today. Life is difficult, costly and unexpected, but we must not let that detour us. The job must be done. We owe our children a decent and promising life. Like we have heard, they didn’t ask to come here.
With so many broken families, absent fathers, teen moms, lack of jobs and uneducated households, we can still go on and raise good families. We don’t have to be victims of our circumstances.
Today, too many children are raising themselves, not being taught those values and morals that build their self-esteem and develop good character. They talk back to parents, roll their eyes, jerk their necks and act so disrespectful that most parents don’t know what to do with them.
Even more, when you ask this child to do something, it takes them their own good time to do it, when they feel like it. What’s up with that? Long ago many parents would have put some hurting on that butt — and you know what I mean.
No! You can’t whip a child today and you should not verbally abuse them either, so please don’t do that. Today, parents can pay dearly for hitting a child. It’s against the law, and children can take advantage of that but not too many will.
There are other ways to discipline children, and it starts right at home. First, keep your word: If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Don’t just yell out threats: ”Come here, stop, get over there. I’m gonna come and kick your butt,” or something like that.
Those threats don’t mean much if you don’t follow through and do what you say. Pretty soon, it goes in one ear and out the other because they don’t believe you.
Second, take time to listen to your children. Start by making a peaceful home. Show your love and understanding of things that concern them. Creating a peaceful home environment, showing love and understanding, will make a difference. Children want your attention and your love.
Third, every child must learn respect — to show kindness, consideration and concern for others — but we have to teach them, and it begins at home. This is a life learning skill necessary for any happiness and success in our children’s future.
When parents are cursing and fighting each other, arguing in the streets and being disrespectful themselves, children are watching and are afraid of what’s happening. It has an effect on them; they can become angry and act out with friends or at school.
When these children come to school with such behaviors, they act out by fighting, insulting others and talking back to teachers. When parents are called and come to school, too often they act the same way. We know why.
They blame the teachers and expect them to teach and train their child. This should not be, and it gives the child a strong sense of negative empowerment. This begins a road of disrespect for authority.
Fourth, children should be exposed to more cultural art, museums, great speakers and new adventures that stimulate the creativity.
Fifth, if we say we love our children and we do, we must give them lots of hugs and kisses and tell them every day ”I love you” — they don’t always know that.
Last, but certainly not least, these days a lot of children don’t attend church and families lack spiritual values. It’s time to teach more principles of faith, helping kids to believe in themselves.
These are just some things that help to build a strong positive family.
L. Sommer Love welcomes reader responses to Lsommerlove@comcast.net or facebook.com/Sommer Love.