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Purposes of Parenting

A couple of years ago a good friend gave me the book , The Parenting Breakthrough by Merrilee Browne Boyack, for my birthday. I remember loving that book because it reminded me that I do not need to feel guilty about making my kids work. In the second chapter she lists the purposes of parenting and I think it is an important list because all too often we think the purpose of parenting is to raise a future Nobel Peace Prize winner or child prodigy to brag about with the ladies at our book club. Another big one is to entertain kids all day or sacrifice to another child so that you can feel sorry for yourself and say "look at me! I work soooo hard for my children!" All of those are incorrect and are selfish reasons to raise children.


In my previous post I mentioned that you are parenting humans. Human beings have emotions, intellect, will, choices, and a purpose. No matter what the situation of the child and what problems they have, they are still human, a child of God that we have to get to know and prepare to live in this world. Merrilee Browne Boyack articulates these ideas better by giving us a simple list.

On page 7 on her list she mentions 3 purposes of parenting:

1. Health and Safety of Children
2. Values Education
3. Training Children to be Independent Adults

Notice the list does not include dressing your kids in the latest fashions or raising a future prodigy.

We have to protect our kids from harm. Children are too immature to understand fully the dangers of this world. I think the lessons become more difficult as children get older. I would rather protect a one year old from running into the street than teach my daughter why she needs to say no to sex and why it isn't a good idea to have a boyfriend before college. Already I am fighting with my 9 year old over skinny jeans! We take our kids to the doctor when they are sick. We make sure they eat what they are supposed to. We protect them from watching media that shows violence or sex. They should wash their hands to prevent disease and know what to do in the event of a natural disaster. We teach our boys why you don't dive off of a cliff into a creek. I see more and more that children aren't being taught these things. It is easier to keep them in activities all day or in front of a computer. It is easier to keep them from going outside. I know someone who carries her 2 year old all day long because she is afraid she will fall. The problem is when she does put her down the girl falls and gets hurt. She never learned to walk properly and how to walk down hills or not to run into the street.

Values is a huge one nowadays because values keep changing from day to day in our society. We teach our kids values like honesty, faith, charity, chastity, dependability, responsibility, etc. We teach them to respect people and have good manners. A huge value for me is teaching my kids independent thinking and how to solve problems on their own.

The biggest one is independence. Self reliance is an important lesson to learn. I don't want my daughter to think that she HAS to depend on man to be happy. I see so many women move form man to man because they don't know how to live on their own. Many cultures teach girls to be extremely dependent. I think that is dangerous. Boys are taught to be completely dependent on their mothers to the point that they have to have Mommy live with them even when they get married. The American tradition of self reliance is also dying out. Kids expect their parents to buy them a car, pay for their college, pay for their trips around the world, help pay for their first apartment, etc. We really need to bring back self-reliance in our culture.

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