For my first session at Hearts at Home, I had the privilege to hear Susan Merrill from iMOM.com. The session was titled The Passionate Mom: Protecting Your Child in the World. It stood out to me because the world I was raised in was so different then world that I am raising my children in. With my oldest approaching her 5th birthday, I didn't want to wait to long to get ideas on how to use, but limit the available technology. They already are exposed and know how to use the technology around them, I need to learn how to teach them how to be responsible.
The first way to battle the world's influence is to BE PERCEPTIVE. What are your kids saying or not saying that you need to pay attention to? How do you do that? Be alert, be available, and be attentive. You know your kids better than anyone else. You know your child's patterns of behavior. If you are being attentive, you will notice changes in behavior which often means there is an issue that you as the parent need to address. If you strive to be Mary rather then Martha, you will better recognize your child's needs and be more available for their conversations. Sometimes that means turning off all distractions including your phone.
Can you be less perceptive? There are 3 ways Susan says you can be less perceptive:
- Stunted perception: This is the "everything will be ok syndrome". Parents who are less perceptive are more likely to make the comments, "boys will boys" or "everything will work itself out". As parents we need to be aware of those behavior changes. Children who are acting out have issues that need to be dealt with. The best time to work on those issues is when they first start appearing.
- Selective Perception: Parents who have selective perception chose to focus on one issue, which is often a more minor issue, and miss a bigger issue. If your child is getting bad grades and bullying a kid at school, which issue needs parents to deal with first? Selective perception would have a parent addressing the bad grades and ignoring the bulling. If you take a look at the minor issues, it may be a by product of a more major issue.
- Politically Correct Perception: These are your children and if you know and don't do anything because you are afraid of offending someone, you are not helping your children. These parents have a hard time giving consequences and often worry more about others then what is right and wrong.
Gate Rules (taken directly from Susan during the session):
- You are the gate keeper and you report God not your child
- A gate is opened as a privilege, not a right
- A gate should not be opened based on age
- A gate opened can always be closed again
- Once opened a gate must be carefully guarded
It is really hard in our culture that teaches parents to be their friends and respect their privacy. Until they are adults, they are your responsibility and you have be strict in a day in age that the world is climbing over your walls and breaking down your gates trying to get your kids. This world is so very different then it was 20 years ago when I was a kid. We went from kids hiding diaries from their parents or notes passed in class to cell phones with kids sexting, downloading porn, and little control from parents over things that have always been harmful to children.
iMOM.com and allprodad.com have great resources for all ages including cell phone contracts, driving contracts, pet contracts, and so much more. There are articles for parenting all ages and family relationships.
We are the parents and we need to prepare for battle against the forces of darkness that are trying to take our children. You as a parent need to stand strong or you'll be knocked down.