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In today’s world, people often prioritize their own needs over those of others. This can be seen in various situations, such as fraudulent behavior or reckless driving. Even within families, a “me-first” mentality can exist, leading to divorce or lack of discipline for children.
However, some parents are actively working to raise considerate children who prioritize the needs of others. This approach has many benefits, such as stronger relationships and greater contentment. As the Bible says, giving to others brings happiness.
As a parent, it’s important to help your children avoid the traps that lead to a self-absorbed mindset. Here are three such traps and how to avoid them.
The Pitfalls of Overpraising Children and the Importance of Effective Correction
Research has shown that many young adults enter the workforce with a sense of entitlement, believing they deserve success without putting in the effort. This attitude can be traced back to how they were raised, particularly by parents who adhered to the self-esteem movement, which placed a premium on constant praise and avoiding any type of disapproval.
However, this overpraising approach can lead children to develop a distorted view of themselves, thinking they are something when they have not truly accomplished anything. The Bible advocates for praising children only when it is deserved and providing correction when necessary, as correction is intended to teach, not harm.
Parents should strive to provide genuine commendation when it is warranted and effective correction when needed. Overpraising can lead to false self-confidence, while true confidence comes from honing talents and learning new things.
The Importance of Praising Children Appropriately and Providing Correction When Necessary
The Bible emphasizes the importance of praising children when it is deserved and providing correction when necessary. In Matthew 25:19-21, Jesus tells the parable of the talents, in which the master praises the servants who used their talents well and accomplished much. This illustrates that it is appropriate to give praise when it is earned.
However, praising children simply to make them feel good about themselves can lead to a distorted view of themselves. As Galatians 6:3 states, “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” It is important to balance praise with correction, as Proverbs 23:13 says, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.” This correction is not meant to be a form of abuse or a way to release anger, as Ephesians 4:29 and 6:4 caution against harmful words and actions towards children.
Effective correction is intended to teach, not harm. As parents, we should strive to provide genuine commendation when it is warranted and effective correction when needed. This approach will help our children build true self-confidence by honing their talents and learning new things, rather than solely relying on praise to feel good about themselves.
The Dangers of Overprotecting Children and the Benefits of Facing Adversity
Many young adults entering the workforce seem unable to handle adversity. Some are devastated by even the slightest criticism, while others reject work that doesn’t meet their high expectations. This can be attributed to overprotective parenting, in which parents shield their children from any type of adversity, even going so far as to intervene and demand better grades or pay fines for their children.
However, the Bible teaches that adversity is a part of life, and that facing up to it can actually benefit us. In Philippians 4:11-12, the apostle Paul writes about how he learned to be self-sufficient in all circumstances, including times of hardship. Resilience and self-confidence are built through working through problems and taking responsibility for our actions.
As parents, we should strive to follow the Bible principle of carrying our own load, as stated in Galatians 6:5. This means allowing our children to face the consequences of their actions and learn from their mistakes. While it’s natural to want to protect our children, constantly rescuing them can lead to self-centeredness and a lack of resilience. By encouraging them to work through their problems, we can help them build important life skills and confidence in their ability to overcome adversity.
The Dangers of Overproviding for Children and the Importance of Prioritizing Contentment over Wealth
Many young adults today prioritize becoming rich over helping others, as they believe it will bring them contentment. However, research has shown that people who focus on material things are actually less happy and more prone to physical and mental problems.
This desire for wealth can stem from materialistic upbringings, as parents strive to make their children happy by buying them things. The advertising industry also promotes the idea of “deserving the best,” leading young adults to rack up debt in pursuit of material possessions.
The Bible acknowledges the need for money but warns against the love of it, which can lead to many harmful desires and pains. Instead, it encourages us to be content with the basic necessities of life.
As parents, it is important to examine our own attitudes toward money and to prioritize contentment over wealth. We can engage in discussions with our children about responsible spending and avoiding materialistic desires. Additionally, we should avoid using “stuff” as a way to cover up family issues and instead address them with thought, insight, and empathy.