Throughout history there has been a discussion about children. God said to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. Adam said that his wife, Eve, was the mother of all living. God planned that man and woman would have a family, populate the earth, rear children for His eternity.
However, children have either been the boon or the bane of societies. Socrates complained of children in his day and Elisha had children follow him making fun of him. It did not end well for the children. Cultures have either blessed the children or ignored them or hated them.
“...I will make mere lads their princes and capricious children will rule over them.” Isaiah 3:4
The Egyptians killed the Hebrew children. The Chinese today are limiting child birth. The Europeans are down to the place that children are an inconvenience and their birth rate is less than replacement, under one child per marriage. In China, child abduction is a growing concern since the government limits families to one child. Also, the preference is to have a boy; so the population is unbalanced with an excess of boys to girls. The ancient Spartans got to the place that the society died because there were no children.
The Bible has some clear direction regarding children. It speaks of training them, disciplining them (corporeally) as well as instructively. The Bible has strong admonitions to fathers and mothers as to their duties.
There was a saying years ago that went like this, “children are to be seen and not heard.” In some societies, children are segregated from the parents. As austere as that saying and approach is; it does bear some reflection.
Personally, I believe the word of God is the prescription for child rearing. I also know that one size does not fit all with kids. Each child provides its challenges to the parents. When a couple has a child that is quiet and calm, sleeps through the night as a baby and responds quickly to discipline, they can think that child rearing is a snap. Then comes number 2 and the child is colicky and screams and cries through the night. I have heard some parents say if they had that child first, they would have had no more.
Parenting is not easy. It takes time and loads of energy. It takes wisdom and constant attention to detail.
But those are the very things that are lacking in so much of parenting today. So few parents are putting the energy into rearing their children and the lack of wisdom is obvious. Observing our culture, I see children running their parents. The kids have turned the parents into slaves and ATM machines. If the parent does not cough up the money, the kids are irate, yelling, complaining. The sad thing is that the parents take it. Instead of disciplining, they cajole and promise.
We were in the restaurant the other evening. We were planning a nice evening of conversation with friends when there is this roaring sound from a table not far from us. It was not once but incessant. It was agitating, disconcerting, rude, and very loud. We looked and it was a little boy with six adult women at the table. Not one of them is stopping him, correcting him, disciplining him, telling him to be quiet. The waitress passed by and I asked her if she could do something about it? She looked at me with fear and moved on.
After this continued for a while, I got up and walked to their table and asked them if the child needed a doctor that it sounded like he was in great pain. They answered no, that he was just playing. I told them that it was very disturbing. They quieted him and left shortly thereafter. A little later a lady came to our table and shook my hand and said thank you to us. She said she was glad I did it, because she is Irish and she wanted to hurt them.
So often I watch children misbehave while their parents watch and do nothing. They are disturbing the peace, hitting someone, running around, and the parent watches as if nothing is going on. I have said many times that the parents are the ones who need disciplined.
So we have this culture that hates having kids, aborts them, but if they do have them, no one wants to raise them. The parents who want kids and want to raise them have bought into the psycho babble trash of modern child rearing that allows the kid to do anything because you might damage their ego or psyche. So we have ended up with a nation full of spoiled, indulged, rude, self-centered brats who are thankless, entitled, and out of control.
It is time for parenting to return to the Bible guidelines and bring order to the house. Children are not the rulers or the head of the house or family. The parents are to be large and in charge. Return to the norms of discipline even if means warming their backsides. This whole “time out” game is not working. I have always preferred God over Dr. Spock.