Toeing the Line
Joey and Carla Link
What is your standard in parenting? Every parent has one. You know where the line is when you are frustrated or disappointed with your child to the point that you expect something different of him/her. That would be your standard.
Recently two parents were telling me about the standard they had for their young elementary age kids in the afternoon and on weekends. The kids would go from house to house hanging out with friends and eating dinner with their friends. The parents said the kids just needed to be home by bed time. When I was growing up this was somewhat normal. But in today’s world, out of concern for what could happen to kids and who might influence them or kidnap them, it’s a different world than in my day when there were no cell phones.
After sitting under our parenting mentorship, they now realize how foolish that standard was and how much time and opportunity they missed out on raising their kids and how much others were influencing them.
This family had a standard. It was to be home by bedtime. Though all homes in a neighborhood were ‘good homes’, what is amazing is how different standards are from home to home. It’s easy for families to become very judgmental about how other people raise their kids but at the same time, those same neighbors are likely critiquing you thinking how legalistic you are with your kids because you have high standards. To which a godly response a parent would defend themselves with is “As for me and my house….”
How understanding and accepting are you of others who don’t raise their kids the same way as you are raising yours? As our kids were growing up, we taught them to address adults using their last names with Mr. and Mrs. preceding it. Our kids had friends that called adults by their first names. When these kids came to our house, most would address us as Mr. & Mrs. Link. Where did they get the idea to call us Mr. & Mrs. Link when they didn’t address other adults this way? It was because our kids addressed their parents as Mr. and Mrs. and when we referenced one another or asked to have one of the kids take something to one of us, we would say “Could you please take this to Mrs. Link?”
What we have realized over the years is that every parent has standards whether it seems like it to us or not, or whether they can articulate them or not. You may have the standard that when you remind your kids, you tell them twice before you lose your cool. You may not realize this, but your kids do!
We have a distinct opportunity to influence the standards of our kids’ friends’ homes by the small things we did with our kids in their friends’ presence, as well as how we speak to each other and them. We found the more our kids friends came over, the more they asked to come over. We soon learned from these kids that our home was a fun home in spite of the high standards we held and our lack of the latest electronic games, movies or toys. When kids feel loved and accepted, and understand WHY you have the standards you have, the standards don’t matter for your kids or their friends.
For more information check out our Mom’s Note Presentation Understanding Character Training Part 1 and 2. http://bookstore.parentingmadepractical.com/collections/character-training/products/understanding-character-training-part-1-mp3