Participants: Alanzo Smith, June Smith
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000044
00:30 Welcome to Marriage in God's Hands.
00:33 I'm Alanzo Smith and I'm the host of this program.
00:37 I'm June Smith. And I've been married
00:41 to Alanzo for the last 31 years.
00:44 We have a grown daughter, Lynn.
00:46 And today we'll talk about seven mistakes parent's often make.
00:53 Before we do that however, won't you bow with me as we pray.
00:59 Father God, we commit our marriages into Your hand.
01:04 We commit our children into Your care.
01:07 We ask for Your blessings, for Your guidance,
01:11 and for Your love. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
01:18 As I travel around the world, I see the same problem
01:23 just about everywhere.
01:26 There are truancy problems, crimes, violence,
01:32 proliferation of drugs. It's happening everywhere.
01:37 You parents, you have to keep close to the Lord.
01:42 And you have to keep your children close to the Lord.
01:46 I like what Ellen G. White says. Read with me this passage:
02:07 So what this is saying is that a family that is
02:09 well disciplined, a Christian family, that follows the
02:13 precepts and principles of the Lord is as beautiful
02:17 as ophir and gold.
02:20 Wow, that's awesome. That's awesome.
02:24 Parents need to understand that sometimes
02:27 they make some mistakes.
02:30 And unfortunately, they can become costly mistakes.
02:35 Sometimes they make them and they are not even
02:38 conscious of them. So we're going to identify
02:41 seven costly mistakes that parents make.
02:45 We're going to share each one with you.
02:48 The first mistake is:
02:57 We live in a materialistic society.
03:00 I think sometimes parents get caught up with the drive
03:04 to give and to shower their children with material things.
03:09 Simply because their peers have it.
03:12 And so, sometimes the children demand that they have it to.
03:17 And unfortunately, this does not make them necessarily,
03:23 become very happy. And of course, it is
03:27 not providing love to your children.
03:31 You know, I've seen so many children who get so much.
03:34 And they're not even appreciative of the
03:37 sacrifices of the things that their parents are giving them.
03:40 They have toys, sometimes, in boxes that haven't
03:43 even been opened.
03:44 And for them, it's just another toy.
03:46 It really means very little. So it appears, that's not
03:50 really what children need.
03:52 And happiness is not about what we possess.
03:57 We have seen so many children in so many parts of the world,
04:01 including this Unites States of America, who have little
04:05 and yet they are happy.
04:06 So, it's not about how much we have.
04:09 It's the love that we show our children.
04:12 That is the important thing, the love you show your children.
04:16 Isn't that what God did for us?
04:19 God, He gave us many things, a lot of things.
04:22 But the greatest gift is His Son.
04:26 John tells us that.
04:39 God's greatest gift to us is His love.
04:43 And we're to emulate that by giving to our children
04:47 the greatest gift that we can give them and that is our love.
04:51 I like how you put it when you talk about hugs.
04:55 And how we are to hug our children.
04:58 You know, Virginia Satir talks about the quantity of hugs
05:03 that a child needs daily in order to feel secure and to
05:07 grow up emotionally healthy.
05:09 And she identifies between 8 to 12 hugs per day.
05:13 And I thought, what a great way to help children affirm
05:19 that they are special and they are loved.
05:22 The second costly mistake that parents make is:
05:36 Alliances with their children. And that is also costly.
05:40 Simply because, when you form an alliance with a child,
05:44 against your spouse or against another child,
05:49 that has negative consequences.
05:52 Now we talked about this as it related to the marriage couple.
05:54 But this also happens between parents and child.
05:58 And we identified earlier the relationship between
06:01 Joseph and his dad, where one child is identified
06:06 as the favored child. Now think about
06:08 being in a family with two or three or more children.
06:11 And you all know that this one child, one sibling,
06:15 is your mom's, or your dad's, or your parents favorite.
06:18 It leaves you feeling less than special.
06:20 And that's not what we want to do with our children.
06:22 We want all our children to feel grounded and to
06:25 know that they are special. And to experience love.
06:29 And the difference between projection and alliance
06:31 is that, where as the parent who projects onto a child
06:35 may do so out of their own need for emotional security.
06:39 In the context of alliance, it's often formed in a negative way
06:44 to go against, to form a bond against the father,
06:51 to form a bond against another sibling.
06:55 So alliances in all its forms, takes on a negative connotation.
07:01 That usually happens when a parent or the child himself,
07:04 or herself, feels weak and feels less than able or capable
07:09 to stand on their own. And so they lean on or
07:12 they get enmeshed in this relationship with the weakest
07:15 parent, and usually that makes them feel stronger.
07:18 But in essence, it is not a very healthy way
07:21 emotionally for that family.
07:23 The third costly mistake that parents make is:
07:30 lack of structure and boundaries.
07:39 We spoke about boundaries before
07:41 as it relates to the husband and the wife.
07:44 But boundaries are important. Structure within a family
07:49 for the children is very much important.
07:54 If children are not given rules, and given boundaries within
08:00 which they perform and they they function, they're left
08:04 feeling very insecure. In fact, some parents
08:07 make the mistake of thinking children want their freedom.
08:10 And they want to have all the opportunities
08:13 to go when they want, or to come when they want.
08:15 And when you talk to children or adolescents in general,
08:18 they don't, they really want parents to tell them
08:22 what is safe, and what is good, and what is secure.
08:25 So it is a mistake to think that you should leave your child
08:29 up to do their own thing. God gave children parents
08:32 for a reason. And He knew
08:35 that they're young and impressionable and
08:38 they need to be guided in the direction that they should go.
08:42 As the Good Book says, train up a child in the way he should go
08:47 and when he's old, he's not likely to depart from it.
08:51 Parents, listen to me. Eli made that same mistake.
08:57 He did not provide structure for his children.
09:02 There were no boundaries. And the Bible tells us,
09:05 those children grew up not loving the Lord, not respecting
09:09 law and authority, as it were, and we read
09:12 of the tragedy and devastation.
09:15 God intents for you to be parents.
09:18 It is God's intention for you to provide care, for you to
09:22 provide nurture, for you to provide love.
09:24 In providing those, it must be within the context of structure
09:29 and boundaries. Nothing is wrong.
09:32 We're not saying that you are to imprison them.
09:34 We're not saying that you are to become overbearing.
09:36 What we are saying, children, as they are growing up,
09:39 they need to grow up in an environment where there are
09:41 boundaries and structure. They understand it
09:44 and they respect it.
09:46 The fourth costly mistake that parents make is what we call:
10:00 Describe this process for me.
10:03 What tends to happen is that the parent reverses the role
10:07 with the child.
10:08 So, instead of being the parent and giving limits
10:11 and setting the rules and the standards
10:15 at which your child functions, the child takes over and
10:18 the child makes the decision. And sometimes the child
10:21 instructs the parents on what they're doing
10:23 and where they're going. And the parents have little
10:26 authority over the child. So, when there's a
10:28 role reversal, then we see parentification,
10:31 the child taking on the role of the parent.
10:34 So that's the term. Role reversal.
10:36 Parentification is a role reversal where the child
10:40 takes on the role of the parent and the parent takes on the
10:43 role of the child. I saw that happening.
10:46 Once I was in a store, we were at the checkout
10:51 counter, and the child was pulling down just about
10:53 everything in sight. And the mother kept calling
10:56 and calling to the child. But she would not respond.
10:59 Eventually the mother, out of embarrassment I suppose,
11:02 slapped the child. Which was an
11:03 inappropriate thing to do. Well guess what, the child
11:06 slapped back the mother. So the mother in her
11:09 embarrassment, she slapped back the child.
11:11 And it went on back and forth for a little while.
11:14 And finally, the mother was the last one,
11:16 the one who got the last slap. Because it was reaching a point
11:20 where it was too embarrassing and it was becoming an abusive
11:23 situation here now. The idea here is that
11:26 there should have been guidance, and boundary, and
11:29 structure long ago so that at this point
11:32 the child would have understood.
11:35 The fifth costly mistake that we want to talk about is:
11:50 It is regrettable but so true that sometimes children are
11:53 allowed to misbehave.
11:56 And that is often celebrated within a family.
11:59 And that's a mistake.
12:00 You know when children are little and cute, and they do
12:02 things or say things, and we say, "oh they're precocious".
12:05 The reality is the family members tend to celebrate.
12:09 "Oh, she's two going on five. " Or five going on twenty.
12:12 But when that same child performs that inappropriate
12:16 behavior at sixteen, it no longer is cute.
12:19 And then it becomes a problem. And so we want to train the
12:22 child right, up front, so that they learn what is acceptable
12:27 and what is appropriate. And then hopefully they'll
12:29 grown up to be healthy and good Christians.
12:32 We have been talking about seven costly mistakes
12:36 that parents makes.
12:37 So far we have identified five of them.
12:41 We have to take a break. When we come back,
12:45 we will talk about the other two.
12:47 You stay right there. Don't go away, because
12:50 we'll be coming right back. And we have some powerful
12:53 stuff to share with you. Not only are we going to
12:56 talk about those two, we have many other things to talk about.
13:00 So make sure you stay right there.
13:02 You're going to enjoy this time together.
13:17 There are many "How To" books available.
13:19 But there's one that's free and perfect for every couple.
13:22 "How You Can Build A Better Marriage"
13:25 Bible-based, matrimonial advice is given in a light-hearted,
13:29 easy to read manner for contemplating marriage,
13:32 newlyweds, couples in their golden years,
13:35 and everyone in between. Simply call or write:
13:52 Welcome back to Marriage in God's Hands.
13:55 We have been talking about seven costly mistakes
13:59 that parents make.
14:00 And indeed, parents need to understand the importance
14:05 of not making these mistakes.
14:09 The sixth one that we want to emphasize is:
14:18 Children go through developmental stages.
14:21 And they're specific tasks that they should accomplish
14:25 during each phase. And when you look at
14:28 some children, you definitely see that
14:32 they're inappropriately dressed. They're just engaging in
14:36 activities that is age inappropriate.
14:38 And you can only conclude that children are rushed
14:45 into another phase of their development.
14:48 And that's a mistake.
14:50 Recently I was talking to a young lady.
14:53 And she talked about a relationship that she has
14:56 been in for a long period of time.
14:59 Based on the time she told me and her age,
15:02 it means that she must have started that relationship
15:05 when she was thirteen or fourteen years of age.
15:09 Clearly, that's one of the signs of rushing puberty.
15:14 A thirteen year old, a fourteen year old is not ready to engage
15:18 in that kind of relationship. And the worst part of it is
15:21 when you, as a parent, encourage it.
15:24 When you, as a parent, maybe turn your eyes away
15:29 refusing to acknowledge that this is what's going on,
15:32 and to provide help and guidance for your child.
15:37 I think there are times when inappropriate conversations
15:40 are held with a child.
15:42 We talked about boundaries and limits.
15:44 This is one of them. There're just some things
15:47 the children should not have knowledge of
15:50 that's between the parents or between the adults.
15:53 And unfortunately, some children are brought
15:57 into these relationships. It creates an emotional burden
16:00 and it is just totally inappropriate to have
16:02 the child being exposed to some of that.
16:05 And when you engage in inappropriate discussion
16:09 in front of your child or your children, it also has damaging
16:16 and lasting consequences. We have to be age appropriate.
16:20 We keep emphasizing that. Age appropriate.
16:23 When you're in conversation with your children about
16:26 something that happens at church, or something that
16:29 happens with a friend or a neighbor, that is really not
16:32 appropriate, you're not helping your child.
16:34 Actually you're rushing, you're pushing the child to grow up
16:39 faster than that child needs to.
16:41 So we're saying, don't rush puberty.
16:43 Allow the child to enjoy... As a matter of fact,
16:46 after the child grows up into a teenager and even older,
16:50 you're going to be longing to go back to those years
16:53 when you have that special moment with your child.
16:56 So don't rush it, enjoy their youthful growth.
16:59 And enjoy it with them.
17:02 The seventh factor that we want to identify as a mistake
17:06 that many parents make is one we identify as failure to
17:11 encourage their child or children to accept the Lord.
17:16 That is a big one.
17:19 Often times, as parents, you think it's your duty
17:23 to encourage your children to study hard, to make good grades,
17:28 and that's good. Nothing is wrong with that.
17:30 You encourage your children to get into the best schools.
17:34 And that is good. And you see that as part
17:36 of your responsibility. But my question to you is,
17:41 do you see it as part of your responsibility to encourage
17:46 your child to accept the Lord?
17:48 Or do you say, "Well when they feel like it.
17:52 I'm not going to rush them. " You just allow them to make
17:56 that decision on their own. Or is it part of your
17:59 responsibility to help them, to encourage them to make
18:03 that decision for the Lord. Parents, listen to me.
18:08 It does not matter how successful your children are.
18:12 It does not matter how good a person they marry.
18:15 It does not matter what they possess.
18:18 If they do not have Jesus Christ in their heart,
18:21 and as part of their lives, they will have lost it all.
18:24 That is the most important gift that you can
18:27 give to your children.
18:29 You know, throughout our ministry, we have seen that
18:32 as a pervasive challenge. Where you have a church crusade
18:37 or you have a community outreach and you encourage children to
18:41 respond and to give their hearts to the Lord.
18:43 And the parent will say, "Oh my child is only thirteen or my
18:47 child is too young. " And yet as you rightly said,
18:51 the child is engaged in other decisions that may be
18:56 inappropriate, but the parent doesn't see that as an issue.
18:59 So, we're saying that's a mistake.
19:01 And hopefully, parents will take it as a primary responsibility.
19:05 And that's a most costly one, if you please.
19:08 There are parenting styles, though, and as your read
19:10 many books, they have different forms of parenting styles
19:14 that they purport. I think the most
19:16 common ones that you will find these days are the
19:19 authoritarian style, the permissive,
19:23 and of course the authoritative.
19:25 Talk to us on each one. Let's look at the first one.
19:28 Tell your audience, tell those parents that are listening
19:33 the good or the bad of these parenting styles.
19:37 The authoritarian parent who demands.
19:41 As you suggest, or the word authority suggests, he is in
19:44 or she is in command. And usually, that form of
19:49 parenting, or that style of parenting tends to allow
19:53 children or the other members of the family to resist
19:57 the authority. And it's not a good thing.
19:59 Much like in many cultures or settings, people don't like to
20:04 be dictated to or to be commanded.
20:06 So, in a family, you want to have dialogue.
20:09 You want to be able to have input and to listen and to have
20:12 other people part of this decision making.
20:14 So the authoritarian style of parenting is not recommended.
20:19 Now the permissive is, on the other hand, the opposite of that
20:22 where anything goes. It's almost like a
20:24 laissez-faire environment where the parents are not in charge.
20:28 So where as in the authoritarian there are
20:30 rigid boundaries and the child is rarely listened to,
20:34 and very rigid communication patterns.
20:38 In the laissez-faire, or permissive parenting style,
20:42 the child is the parent. It's almost like
20:45 parentification takes place. There's very little instruction
20:48 if any, and the boundaries are very blurred.
20:51 However, in the authoritative parenting style, it's more like
20:57 a democratic parenting style. Where there is free flow of
21:02 communication and the parents are able to listen to
21:05 their children, or the other spouse,
21:07 and the children can do the same.
21:09 So that's a more acceptable or effective form of parenting.
21:15 Earlier on, we spoke about the challenges that parents face.
21:21 And we identified some of them. The truancy, the lack of respect
21:27 that is in the society, etc.
21:30 There are warning signs, parents, there are warning signs
21:34 that you can observe. Sometimes at an early stage
21:37 to tell you whether or not your child is in trouble.
21:41 So let me identify some of these early warning signs
21:46 that you should look for. And if you see them,
21:49 that you need to know, something is not going right
21:52 and I need to do something about it.
21:55 For example, if your child is unable to maintain
21:59 wholesome relationships...
22:03 Now peer relationship is a part of adolescence.
22:06 In fact, it starts very early in life.
22:08 Children start to bond with each other.
22:10 And as they grow older into their development,
22:12 they develop their own peer relationships.
22:15 But if they're already exhibiting signs of problems
22:18 in getting along with their own parents, then that's a sign
22:22 that something maybe wrong and the child needs help.
22:26 Low self esteem.
22:29 I'm a parent, and I see my child is having low self esteem,
22:36 parents listening to us, they have their children,
22:40 and they see signs of low self esteem,
22:43 tell them, where do they go from here?
22:47 First, they want to spot that and try to find out what is
22:50 going on with this child. Engage the child in a
22:52 conversation, try to find out what are their fears?
22:54 What are their anxieties? Children don't feel good
22:57 about themselves, sometimes, because they've been told
22:59 that they're not capable, or they're not able, or they
23:02 compete with their peers. They're not doing as well,
23:05 so they don't feel competent. So the parent has to try to
23:08 uncover what is the real reason.
23:10 And if you don't have the skills to do that, then you might
23:12 want to take your child to a counselor, or somebody who can
23:15 help you understand how to work at that.
23:18 But the fact is, children are expected to perform the tasks
23:23 that they should be doing at each phase of their development.
23:25 And if, as a parent, you don't see that happening
23:28 then you need to get the child help.
23:30 Another warning sign is suicidal ideation.
23:35 Parents, this is not something that you should take lightly.
23:39 In the United States of America, for example, over 1 million
23:45 children commit suicide in any given year.
23:49 And around the world, the statistics vary, but in
23:53 every country, we have teenagers, young people,
23:57 who are committing suicide. When the child talks about
24:00 the feeling of wanting to hurt, or harm, or kill
24:04 himself or herself, it is to be taken seriously.
24:07 It's not something that you overlook.
24:09 Get help for your child right away.
24:12 Suicidal ideation is something, as a parent, you must take
24:16 very, very seriously.
24:18 The challenge with that is, that children don't just
24:20 necessarily come out and say, "Oh, I'm going to kill myself. "
24:23 But they make statements like, "I don't want to be around. "
24:26 Or, "I hate this life," or "I'm going to get out of here. "
24:30 You know, things that indicate that they feel overwhelmed.
24:33 And sometimes it's like a last resort where the child is unable
24:37 to solve the problem that they are confronted with.
24:40 And so they think, "If I can escape it" and their little
24:43 minds are not very concrete. So they think, "Oh, I can
24:46 get out of this situation and then I can come back in the next
24:49 couple of weeks or so. " Much like the movies project.
24:53 And that is an issue. So you want to listen
24:57 to your children's conversation. If you hear them make statements
24:59 that gives you concerns, you want to get them help.
25:03 Well, what can parents do?
25:06 We're talking about the early signs.
25:09 What can you do? I'm sure you're asking us.
25:12 "Yes, I see those signs. What can we do?"
25:15 First of all, be a role model for your child.
25:20 A lady said as she was complaining to her psychologist,
25:22 she said, "You know, I think my child is doing drugs. "
25:26 So the psychologist said, "How would you know that?"
25:29 She said, "Well, because I am missing some of my drugs. "
25:34 Wow, you have to be a role model for your child.
25:39 That's important.
25:41 So the things you're asking your child to do,
25:42 you should be doing yourself. If you want him to go to church,
25:45 if you want him to study the bible, if you want him to
25:48 progress, then you ought to be doing and practicing that.
25:51 Spend quality time with your children.
25:53 That is also important.
25:55 Spending time, bonding with them.
25:57 Be there for them, hug them, kiss them, show them love.
26:01 Again not things, love.
26:04 Listen to your children. Ensure there is a two-way
26:08 communications, not just about you telling them what to do.
26:11 But you listen to what their needs are, you listen to what
26:13 their fears are, what their concerns are.
26:15 Listen to who their friends are.
26:18 And recognize peer pressure. Peer pressure has this
26:21 awesome power to make or break your children.
26:25 You have to talk to them and help them to develop
26:28 their own autonomy, to believe in themselves,
26:31 believe in their God.
26:32 Love them, nurture them, care for them.
26:35 But understand the power of peer pressure.
26:38 And talk to your children about that.
26:40 Sometimes, children feel inadequate.
26:42 And they may not be doing well in school, or they may not be
26:45 performing at the levels at which they're expected.
26:47 And so they, sometimes, act out to get your attention
26:51 or to escape the pressure that they feel
26:54 and often go into deviance. So, wherever you see this
26:57 happening, we're saying, get help for your child.
27:00 Because there are people who are trained and able
27:03 to help your child understand what they're
27:06 experiencing, and repair the damage that is done.
27:10 Above all, take it to the Lord in prayer.
27:13 We keep seeing, except the Lord build the house,
27:16 they labor in vain that build it.
27:18 Take it to the Lord. And some of you parents
27:21 you need to invite Jesus back into your home.
27:24 You need to allow Jesus Christ to be the master ruler
27:29 of your heart, of your lives, of your family.
27:32 and of your children.
27:34 Thank you so much for listening to us.
27:36 We want you to have healthy parenting.
27:39 We will be praying for you.
27:41 We want God to continue to bless you.
27:43 And may you have a happy home.