Every parent knows that each child is unique. So why do we use the same methods to teach, motivate and discipline them? I got some new insight from my chat with authors Carrie and Richard Blackaby. If you’ve got a kid that’s not responding to your efforts, check this out and be sure to comment to win a copy of the book.
Don’t Jump off that Cliff!
by Carrie and Richard Blackaby
Co-authors of Customized Parenting in a Trending World
“If all of your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?” Generations of parents, desperate to discourage their child from yielding to peer pressure, have used this immortal parenting advice.
The verdict is still out on whether their logic has ever prevented a child from taking that fateful leap.
The irony is that parents have been copying others while simultaneously discouraging their children from doing the same.
The truth is, people are unique and far too complex to be treated like a product on an assembly line. No two people are exactly alike, yet society regularly pressures people to think, act, and look like everyone else. For secular society to behave this way should not come as a huge surprise, but for Christian parents to act in this manner is not only disappointing; it is dangerous.
There are many reasons why parents treat their children like clones. First, parents resort to the same techniques their parents used. We default to what we know, even if it didn’t work on us.
Second, parents resort to “conventional wisdom.” These are commonly accepted beliefs and practices embraced by society at large and especially by parents we respect. Then again, for centuries, conventional wisdom suggested bloodletting was an effective way to treat illness. Just because other parents are jumping off a cliff in raising their children doesn’t mean you should too.
Finally, parents are seduced by success. Parents who succeed with their first child often use the same method on the following children. Of course, parents know their offspring are different from one another, yet they assume the same approach will be equally effective.
It takes courage, work, time, and money to customize your parenting. It requires that you truly understand what makes each child “tick.” It may involve rejecting commonly accepted practices. In short, it means embracing your God-given calling to be a parent and designing a home in which each child can thrive.