From my friend Jim Martin:
Most parents I know love their children and want to do a good job with them. Many of these people will do most anything to give their children a head start in life. Some will go to extraordinary lengths to give their children an advantage.
Yet, it is possible to parent in such a way as to make it difficult for them to grow up, mature, and live as Christ-followers.
The following are some ways to mess up your kids:
1. Model before them a self-centered life. Focus on yourself, your pleasures, your desires, and your preferences. Teach them by way of your example that life is all about “me.”
2. Show little respect for your spouse, parents, and in-laws. Model before your children that you will talk to your spouse, your mom, or your father-in-law in the manner you wish–regardless!
3. Undermine your spouse. One way to mess up a child is for her mom and dad to constantly be undermining one another. Mom says “You can’t ride your bike until you do your homework.” Five minutes later, dad says “Go ahead and ride your bike but you will have to do your homework afterwards.” Confusing? It certainly is for a child!
4. Raise your children with a strong sense of entitlement. You can really mess up your children by convincing them that they are entitled to what they want. Consequently, they may believe they are entitled to good grades and to make the starting roster on a team. They get a job believing they are entitled to a salary that took others 15 years to earn. They get married and believe they are entitled to a certain lifestyle.
5. Be more concerned about being their friend than being their parent. Yes, I know. There is a sense in which our children when they grow up, can relate to us as friends. However, my children will have many friends in life. They will have one dad and mom….
Children, even grown children, need their parents to be parents.