Thursday, on our post about a news item on rearing children, we got this memorable comment from “Mickey,” a pediatrician:
I am the father of 6 children that are aged 13-22.5 years. I am also a practicing pediatrician in the Midwest. My wife and I have home-educated our children all the way through their “formal education” years until they have reached college age. I guess I am about as conservative as you can get both from a scriptural and social perspective, although I would consider myself “generous” in my orthodoxy.
I have always approached the education of parents with a few perspectives in mind:
You cannot spoil a child during the first year of life. They are completely dependent on their parents for everything. The warning I give parents with the approach is that adolescence starts at 12 months not 12 years.
After the first year of life parents need to help them learn they are not God, like they think they are. I submit this is an application of the greatest commandment. The second principle they must learn is they are to be responsible for their actions, an application of the second greatest commandment. I have challenged parents to find ways to apply these two commandments in every aspect of parenting for the last twenty years.
There are three corollaries to these principles. First, remember that we parents are not gods either, so admit to your mistakes to your children when they are old enough understand your mistakes. Second, during the very earlier years of their training, when having a battle of wills with them, WIN; and when you cannot win make them believe that you won. Finally when training children, you only have 18-21 years to train them for the following sixty years of their lives. Be their parent these early years, be their friend later.