My ex-husband and I have been very blessed with our co-parenting situation. We typically agree with most of the decisions regarding parenting the two children we have together (Yes, I have three but the third is with my current husband). Situations have recently arisen that made me ask a question, are the choices our children make a reflection of our parenting, of myself?
My initial answer is no. For the simple fact that we raise our children to the best of our ability but once they reach a certain age, their decisions and choices will shape who they are. For example, my son was working over the break for a family friend. She sent a shout-out on social media stating what an amazing worker he is and how much she appreciates his positive attitude. His father messaged me to tell me about it which I appreciated but then went on to say, “I remember not long ago you thought he might resent me for being hard on him! This will make every bit of us being hard on him worth it…not to mention him making his own money! He is a great kid!” To preface this his father is a bit of a difficult man to please (my kid’s words not mine) so I have mentioned to him to help his relationship with my son to lighten up a bit. But I regrettably responded with, “you can take all the credit!” And he said, “absolutely not, just saying this is why I was/am hard on him! I want him to try hard and stand out from the crowd. And I said Us! That’s all 4 of us that raise him.” And I said, “it’s ok! I don’t mind! Just glad he is getting some well-deserved recognition! I guess my point is Braxton deserves every ounce of credit not any of us. He makes his own choices and I am proud he chooses to work hard!”
I am sure the situation could have been handled much better. There are quite a few of these that come up and I immediately regret my responses as soon as I push send. And without knowing the full background it is hard to gauge for sure who is right and who is wrong or if there even is a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ in this particular situation. Speaking in general though, maybe when the kids are young, 5, 6, or 7 the parents must take some responsibility for their children’s behavior. But once they reach a certain age does that responsibility go away?
I have watched children who grew up in loving and stable homes choose drugs, violence, etc. And I have watched children who grew up in very unstable environments thrive as adults and start businesses and help others. So, this would support the argument that the environment and how the parents raise the children may have some effect on their children’s choices but ultimately at some point they (the kids) have to take responsibility for their own actions. I feel like those not-so-great choices that our children sometimes make are a result of the battle between good and evil and not necessarily of parenting. Or could it be that if they make bad decisions it is because we did not raise them up in the Lord enough? The kids have to make their own choices and those choices aren’t necessarily a reflection of how they were raised. Our environment can influence us so much. In my opinion, all we can do is raise them up under God’s word and show them the way. My dad always used to say you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink it.
I found a few verses to support my thought process but please feel free to persuade me in the other direction. I always love and am open to others’ opinions. I try to never get offended and really listen. I always know there is more to learn and many different ways to see things.
Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Ephesians 6:4 states, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Proverbs 10:1 states, “A wise son makes a glad father; but a foolish son brings grief to his mother.”
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