Parents’ Warning Signs
by Joey & Carla Link
We were driving home from a ministry trip to the East Coast and after driving through several toll booths, I saw a bright yellow pedestrian sign warning drivers as they went through the toll booths to be careful of pedestrians. I thought they must have had a problem at this location of toll booth workers being hit by vehicles. I kept seeing this sign at every toll booth we went through. Then it hit me, they were at all the previous booths but I just didn’t see them!
This reminded me of many parents who like me don’t see the warning signs that are right in front of them. Warning signs such as:
A towel in the bathroom didn’t get hung up. Mom picks it up for her child. Mom gets frustrated when she finds that towel on the floor of the bathroom every time her daughter took a shower. She gave her daughter a good lecture about picking up after herself. Her daughter’s laundry didn’t get put away either. Mom reminds her daughter several times to get this task done and even raises her voice to let her daughter know Mom meant it. It’s easy to ask why did Mom have to raise her voice, but in reality, why did Mom have to remind the child more than once? How many times will an employer want to remind this child when she is a teen or young adult to do her job the right way all the way?
We were with some friends who had elementary age kids and one of them said something mean to a sibling while we were talking. This sibling continued to say things that were hurtful to this sibling. Dad finally got up to deal with this child. The question is why didn’t Dad deal with it when the child first said something?
I could go on and list illustration after illustration of how parents miss the warning signs of their kids disobedience and misbehavior, but hopefully you have seen warning signs you might be missing.
How do parents miss the warning signs? Because they have so many things going on or they have to keep track of they aren’t paying attention. Whether it’s a recent post you saw on FB, a tweet that bothered you, a show or news from TV or the radio or even a podcast that you are thinking about, it’s easy to get distracted or to take mental breaks from parenting. The issue really is how long will it take parents to get back to training their kids in the way they want them to go vs. the way they are going because their parents aren’t focused on training them.
Next time you catch yourself yelling or talking to your child in frustration or even in anger, take a step back for a moment and look for other warning signs you are missing. What warning signs are your kids running through that are running someone in the family over emotionally, verbally or physically? Parenting is like driving long distances, it can be exhausting, so don’t be afraid to pull over and take a few minutes off from parenting to get refreshed. But when you are done, be sure and give your full attention to training your kids because it will affect the rest of their lives.