· Give them more screen time. That extra video game time may feel like it’s helping you not to lose your mind, but it’s also keeping your kids from using theirs. Plus, if they’re not in front of a screen, you may actually have to talk to them and ask them about their day.
· Don’t expect them to rise to the level of your expectations. Kids were never meant to do hard things, so set the bar really low. This will build their self-confidence while teaching them that everything in life will be easy.
· Focus on the outcome rather than the effort. Judge winners by winning and losers by losing. It’s the American way. We definitely want to teach our kids to find value in their performance rather than their character.
· Enforce the rules but do not reinforce the child. Take every step possible to make sure your kids obey but never take a step toward their heart. Lecture them, but never talk to them. Discipline them, but never disciple them. The good thing about demanding unquestioned obedience is that it typically leads to a lot of questions later in life.
· Be a child-centered parent instead of a God-centered parent. It’s important to drive 150 miles so your kids can be involved in that competition, but it’s not important to drive 10 miles so they can be involved in a church activity … especially on a school night. We have to teach our children about what is important, you know.
· Be more concerned about their self-improvement instead of their self-denial. This, after all, is what Christianity is all about … self-help. It’s really difficult to help yourself if you’re pre-occupied with denying yourself. I mean, who has time to help themselves when they’re concerned with helping others?
· Don’t ask questions about where they’re going and what they’re doing. You do not want to appear to be too interested in what they’re doing. This might come across as intrusive and like you actually care. So, keep your distance and let them have their own way. As long as you give them what they want, they won’t push back on you.
· Be more concerned about their behavior than about their heart. Again, this is probably what Christianity is about … behavior modification. Some say it’s about heart transformation, but it’s a whole lot easier just to tell people what to do and not to do instead of actually getting to the root of why they may be doing it.
· Avoid meals together around the table. You certainly do not want to start your day together with breakfast and then come back together for dinner. We don’t want our kids to become one of those statistics that says having meals together as a family increases emotional stability and decreases behavioral problems in children. Who wants that kind of drama?
· Work long hours and try to be away as much as possible. No one has ever gotten to the end of their life and wished they had worked more hours. But, if you keep at it, maybe you’ll be the first. I’m sure that will feel much better than knowing you left work on time in order to have dinner with your family.