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How many of us have ever passed judgment on a parent via their child? I am pretty sure just about all of us have been guilty of it at some point. We see a child who is a bit hyper and think, “their parents must not discipline them. Why if that was my kid……..” We see a child who seems to be pretty mature for their age and assume their parents must really spend time raising them right. And in many cases this may be true.
But there is another truth we often overlook. Some of the best parents out there can still end up with unruly kids. Likewise, there are some terrible ones who manage to churn out successful, well-adjusted adults. We need to take a second before we see a “problem” child and figure the parents must be doing everything wrong. For all we know, they may actually be a better parent than us and just happen to have a child who is giving them a harder run for their money than our child does for us.
Human beings are in many ways unpredictable. It should come as little surprise that children are no exception to this rule. Yet, so many times we find ourselves looking at another family and believing if they would just do x, y and z that kid would not be the way they are. But the reality is, we can do our best and some children will still be disobedient. This is why we must exercise humility in the knowledge that at the end of the day, only the grace of God can truly carry that child beyond our human limitations to raise them.
I have worked with children who may act out every day, but if people knew the hand they were dealt they would be surprised they were not even worse. There are also some with parents who are plenty strict, but there is just that one kid who could be strongly disciplined and do the exact same thing again minutes later. Children just are not robots in whom you enter the right programming followed by a few spankings, and poof… you have a model citizen. What is often the case is the same plan will not work on every child.
Anyone who is a half decent teacher of anything knows different people learn in different ways. Likewise, any half decent parent soon realizes the key to success is finding what is effective for any particular child rather than across the board tactics. And as that child grows and changes, those strategies must also evolve to suit what is needed. But there are some who simply make you tryout a lot more tactics before finding something that works. So the next time we come across a parent who is struggling to reign in their child, perhaps we can give them the benefit of the doubt about being in the midst of a “tryout” period with a challenging child. For all we know, we would have just as hard of a time getting that particular child under control.
By Corey Dorsey