I have an older friend who has a 27 year old daughter, finished with college, still living at home, without a job and not looking. The other day my friend, Leo (not his real name), and I were with a group of fellows when he started complaining. "Man, I don't know what's wrong with young people today", he started. "I don't know why I paid for five years of college. The girl can't keep a job and wont even do anything around the house."
Sound familiar? The Love Doctor has heard too many such stories over the years. I don't know about you, but I am offended when I hear people who have ruined their kids condemn everybody else's children. I was not about to let Leo blame the "world" for his situation with his daughter. You see, thirteen years ago, I, personally, told Leo that he was messing up his child. Since I was a mere child of twenty seven at the time, he told me to shut up and mind my own business, so I did. Now, however, he was the one who had brought up the subject again.
Why does it feels so good to tell someone "I told you so." So if you screw up your kids, don't look to the Love Doctor for sympathy. I won't be able to help you. You will have to pay for your mistakes, just Like Leo is doing now.
I had to remind the dude that he was conveniently forgetting that he and his wife had thoroughly enjoyed spoiling their "precious little baby girl". I said, "Hey Leo, I remember that your daughter was too good to help in the yard, wash dishes, help clean house, have a summer job or anything like that. You used to call her princess... remember. All that's wrong with that girl is that she does exactly what you trained her to do, absolutely nothing." Leo didn't like that. He grumbled something and walked away. I only hope that those other, younger men learned something from my really appropriate comments.
I'm writing about Leo's "Princess" to make a point, not to hurt anyone's feelings. Lots of you have spoiled your brats and are suffering with them, now, as they are unable to cope with adult relationships and responsibilities, having all sorts of problems, and bringing them back to you. The purpose of today's column is to warn you younger parents about the dangers of spoiling children. God doesn't give you a child just so you can have a baby doll to play with or to use to show off how much you can buy.
If you want to spoil something, buy a dog! Spoil the dog and raise your children. The dog will live with you all of it's life. Your children are supposed to take care of themselves eventually. As parents, your responsibility to your offspring is to prepare them to face the world without you. Its as simple as that. If you do an excellent job of preparing them, more than likely, they will become prosperous, happy, well adjusted adults.
The Love Doctor gets disgusted when he hears this one, "I want my kids to have everything I didn't have when I grew up". It seems that some of you are using your children to try to get even for your own tough childhood. This is sick. Your childhood is over and done with. And anyway, how certain are you that it wasn't the tough times in your life that made you become the wonderful hard working person you are today. Hey, if you are okay, more than likely, the way you were raised was okay.
If people were bees, this column wouldn't be necessary. The day a bee is born, it knows everything it needs to know for the rest of its life. It knows how to fly, how to find a flower, how to build a honeycomb and how to get along with other bees. It is programmed for success by its genes. It lives by instincts. A bee doesn't have to learn anything.
Humans are very different. When your child is born, it must depend on you to make sure that it is programmed for success. If a child were placed alone in a room soon after it was born and only fed, it would grow up into a filthy, grunting, selfish, ignorant beast. Children must be taught by the actions of the adults who care for them.
Children must be taught to how to talk, walk, bathe, and wear clothes. When born, all they know is how to find something to suckle. Children must be taught to accept responsibility and to work for what they want. They must be taught the value of money and how to treat other people. Hopefully, they will also be taught about God, which will help make sense of everything else. Children need love, attention, good nutrition, good example, medical and dental care, clean clothing, a safe and secure place to live and the best education (or training) we can provide.
As parents we are to give them everything they need and, if we are very careful, some of what they want. Leave them with some of their "wants". If you are successful, consider the possibility that it was your "wants", your desires, which drove you to seek success.
The Love Doctor understands that three things are necessary for material achievement: Desire (you must want something), Skill (you must be able to do something) and Belief (I can do it). It is quite likely that, if you satisfy all of a child's "wants", you may actually deprive that child of the very thing which would push him or her to achieve, desire.
Its fine to make nice things available for your children, but make them work for them. Don't give money to children, find ways to let them earn it. By doing these things, allowing them to succeed by earning things in their youth, you will help them to believe that they "can do" for themselves.
With desire, training in a field and belief that they can do, you will have provided your child with the tools to get the things they want in life. If you also teach them to be faithful to God and kind to their loved ones, they will also be able to be happy.