Raising a man or parenting a child?

10 Mar

My upbringing has a lot to do with who I am today.  Partially because good habits and wisdom were examples for me to follow, and partially because bad habits and foolishness were examples for me to learn from too.

My parents are amazing.  I love them both so much.  They raised me to know Jesus, and that’s all that matters to me today.  Any sins or mistakes they made are all forgivable battles they were up against.

I hope one day my kids think my husband and I are amazing.  And they love us both so much.  And they are grateful that we raised them to know Jesus and make Him lord of their lives.  And they’ll look back on us with mercy and forgiveness for all the sins and mistakes we’re making too.

There are no perfect parents.

We will all make mistakes and have some regrets for how we did or didn’t do things.  Should we live in that regret? No. Regret is a trap that steals our future because it holds our heart.  You can’t live in the past and be present in the future at the same time.

That’s why, right now, TODAY, we have to make intentional choices in raising our kids so they’ll have the good habits and the wisdom we want them to have in their hearts as they become adults.

For every couple, the list of importance may look different.  We all put priority on parenting concerns that were present and weren’t present from our own childhood.

For me, I have a pretty long list.

But, I’m only going to talk about one today.

Preparing my boys to lead their wives by making good choices.

From my own experience, when I got married,  I was drowning in an ocean of feminism so far that it seemed nearly impossible for a life boat to even see me by how far I was submerged under the water. Nor would I have even looked for one, I adapted quickly to the water and thought constant swimming under the crashing waves was “normal.”

And worse, my husband thought this was normal too.  From the example of his parents, and the constant overwhelming influence of the world, taking a stand in this situation felt more “wrong” than leading like he was created to do.

Women often know nothing of unconditional respect, but they know immeasurable amounts of insight on how to demand respect and take charge as a competent, capable and intelligent woman.

This mindset in the work place has spilled over heavily into marriages.  And the divorce rate is THROUGH THE ROOF!

Chances are, my boys are going to find women who are brainwashed to be a leader at all cost.  To have a voice for her rights, to demand respect, and to never back down from her beliefs and desires.

My job as a mother?  To example for them the kind of woman to look for and to understand their God-given commands to lead, provide and protect their wives and children.

I think the number one way that mom’s fail in this department is forgetting to show their sons unconditional respect too, not just their husbands.

Am I saying they stop being the parent?  NO!!

But I’ve seen more often than not, mom’s embarrassing, belittling and correcting their teenage sons in front of other people.  Being a teenage boy is tough.  Especially if they are trying to be a godly man.

Pointing out his mistakes publicly, with condemnation or with dismissal of his feelings is setting him up to expect this kind of treatment and will lock up his courage to lead and emotions with a chain that most will never ever be able to unlock.

A mom can discipline her son in private. She can correct behavior and speak with respect in the process.  She can set boundaries with what she will or won’t do and what she expects in her house without crushing his ability to be a man and react appropriately.

Men (even teenage boys) learn best when they are allowed to figure out problems and make decisions for themselves.  If they make a mistake, the weight of the consequences is a good lesson for how to make a better decision in the future.  If they succeed, it shows them what decisions to make in the future to get these same results.

But any time a man is embarrassed, he never learns a lesson.  He becomes so angry and enraged by that feeling of being belittled that the person who does the embarrassing becomes the problem instead of seeing their own mistake.

Let me give an example to help drive this home.

Your teen son has a group of friends over Tuesday night after school.  You notice that he forgot to take out the trash and that is his weekly responsibility.

A.) You yell at him in front of his friends to take out the trash immediately.  “Get down here right now. What’s wrong with you? You should know better! You’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached. You’re grounded.”

B.) Call him in the other room privately.  Make him take the trash out right then. And then tell him he’s grounded for the weekend.

C.) Take out the trash yourself.  Friday night comes and your sons asks to go to a party.  You answer, “I’d love to let you go.  Unfortunately, on Tuesday I had to take the trash out because it wasn’t taken out yet.  That is your responsibility and when it isn’t complete, your freedom in this family is restricted.  If you’d like to take the trash out next week, next Friday is open to you and your friends for a great time.” And then walk away.

For me, I think option C is the best choice.

There is no childish condemning, or embarrassment.  There is behavior and consequence.  He’s going to get the point a whole lot better than if he was embarrassed or spoken down to disrespectfully. And he isn’t be forced to do the right thing and then still punished even after like a child.

Yes, he’s still a teenager and not an adult… but each parent needs to make a decision if they are trying to raise adults or if they are trying to parent “children” until they leave the house.

If you want your teen son to be a good husband and father, treat him like he is worthy of that calling instead of training him the way the world is to be a dog on a leash and scolded when he misbehaves, especially by the women in his life.

Practical Application:

How are you doing speaking unconditional respect into your son(s) lives so they have the responsibility of being a man on their shoulders?

Are there any habits or disciplines that might need adjusted so he can understand behavior and consequence better than embarrassment and anger?

My oldest son will be nine in a week.  And I’m already seeing where I have rooted habits that I need to change.  I can’t be aware of this enough.




13 Responses to “Raising a man or parenting a child?”

  1. momocular March 10, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    Thank you for this challenge! It’s so easy to just react without thinking of the ramifications.
    Looking forward to reading more!

    • Kayla Gulick March 10, 2014 at 11:38 am #

      Oh you nailed me. I’m totally a “react-er” for sure!!!! I bet my husband would totally agree! 🙂 And you’re welcome. I’m glad to have you!!!

  2. senterwife March 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Just found your blog via Peacefulwife, and specifically for this post. Thank you for the challenge. Part of my struggle as a parent is to remember the ‘repurcussions/consequences’ that I’ve imposed on each child! I agree that option C in the above example would be the best, but more often than not, I will have forgotten that plan of action/consequence at the time it needs to be enforced! And given that I’ve got the smartest children in the world, they use this to their advantage!

    • Kayla Gulick March 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

      First of all — Welcome! Glad to have you here. And secondly — oh girl, you and me both!!!! To quickly I “do” and then I “think”. That’s the whole reason I started the practical applications on this blog. Because “I know what I should do” but that actually following through part… well, I’m hit or miss.

  3. Elizabeth March 12, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    This is wonderful advice for all parents. How I wish I had thought about this when I was raising my son! I felt lost in the wilderness sometimes, and hated the way I felt after I corrected him about something, but didn’t know what I needed to change.

    To his credit, he loved me anyway and often reacted to my over-earnestness with humor. One day I awoke to a sink full of dishes which he hadn’t washed the night before–his assignment. I was upset and told him to SIT DOWN as I began talking to him. He began smiling and said, “Is that because it’s hard to bawl me out now because I’m taller than you are?” All my anger melted away and I couldn’t keep a straight face.

    How I wish I hadn’t gotten so upset over so many things! Reasoning with my children in a spirit of peacefulness, taking more things in stride, keeping priorities straight, and quietly implementing the consequences of what they did or didn’t do would have been so much better! Thank you for helping other parents not make the same mistakes I did.

    Much love and thanks for your posts, Elizabeth

    • Kayla Gulick March 12, 2014 at 9:13 am #

      HAHA!! I love that. Sounds like your son had an amazing heart and he turned out just fine despite any imperfections in the way he was raised 🙂 Good job Mama!! You were doing more right than you even realized!

  4. Meagan March 12, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    I don’t have kids, so maybe I shouldn’t comment, but I 100% agree with everything you said here. My mother was/is incredibly critical. I remember her many many times (around family members, in the grocery store, at JC Pennys) telling my brother that he had bad acne, and obviously wasn’t washing his face well. She would point out his zits, give advice on how to fix it, and threaten to take him to the dermatologist, all in the presence of others. I mean, what does it say about her if I remember her saying it many times, and it wasn’t even about me? As a result, my brother ended up marrying a woman that is exactly like my mother. I am no longer in contact with my family, so I don’t know what his marriage is like, but I’m pretty sure it’s just like my parents’ marriage: Her domineering him, and him feeling beaten down. Such a sad state for any marriage. Good for you for teaching/showing your sons what a godly wife looks like. I’m quite sure they will thank you for it one day.

    • Kayla Gulick March 12, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

      What an incredible example. Thank you for sharing that!!!!

  5. fitmom27 March 13, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. I have been at this parenting thing for over 28 years but the first four kids in our line up are girls…..followed by three boys. Our oldest son is twelve and you totally nailed it. He gets embarrassed very easily and I’m on a learning curve here. I am finding out that if I nurture him by taking him places alone, he opens up and talks to me. He is trying to figure out who he is, what draws people to him, how he can make an impact on others and he is exploring various areas of interest. It’s a crucial time in his development. He is a hard worker, very sensitive and truly very loving. Our girls have always been close with him, relationally, but because they are older, I have to watch closely that they don’t emasculate him. It’s so natural for them to correct him, or get annoyed with him and I do understand their feelings, so I find my job gets a little complicated as I validate them, yet teach them to respect him anyway and learn how to word things they need to say to him so it’s balanced and kind, not condescending. Boys at this age can be really annoying at times, as they try to figure out the appropriate balance with humor, subjects they like to talk about, picking on others…the balance between when it’s funny and when it isn’t etc. It’s a balancing act for me, to watch closely, as they relate. I appreciate, so much what you said. Thank you! 🙂

    • fitmom27 March 13, 2014 at 11:57 am #

      P.S. This is a great opportunity for any girls in the family to learn how to relate to a possible future husband too. 🙂

    • Kayla Gulick March 13, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

      Thank you so much for acknowledging and pointing out that tween and teen boys can be annoying!! They are really caught between being a kid and being a man…. and they can think things that are so immature are so hilarious! But you’ve totally nailed it there with saying it’s a balancing act. We need to influence them without emasculating them in the process. You’re doing awesome Mom! Your boys are more blessed than they realize yet. But one day… they’ll thank you!!!

      • fitmom27 March 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

        Thanks, Kayla and I’m sure your son/s will thank you too. It’s so nice that we can so easily access other moms and learning tools now. When I was raising my oldest girls, it was so tough…parenting tools were not readily available and I didn’t know any older moms who could give me the good, sound advice you share on your blog. I’m sure many young moms are grateful for you! 🙂

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