Sunday, February 20, 2011

Parental Fear (Part I of II)

At the primal level, we have many fears which shape our behaviors. For example, we would perhaps like to experience the thrill of skydiving if it wasn’t for the fear of dying or fear of getting hurt!! In this case, fear thwarts us from a behavior. Also, we might like to drive 100 miles per hour down the interstate but fear of death, injury, or legal trouble stops us. In this case, fear modifies our behavior. The scope of human fear ranges from fear of death to the fear of monsters. Subsequently, fear changes our behavior in ways which range from simple behavior modifications to pathological phobias. In working with parents, the fear that is often encountered is the fear of rejection. Parents often modify their parenting behaviors from what they know is right to something else because of this fear of rejection. For example, a parent “gives in” to a child’s untoward desires/demands so that the child won’t be upset with the parent. This is the fear of rejection at work. Human beings fear rejection of others; parents fear rejection by their children. When a child is upset with us, we naturally fear their rejection of us as parents, authority figures, or as a person. Parents often then modify their parenting so as to turn off this fear, which usually means acquiescing to the child’s desires. So, rather than the parents doing what is right and best for the child, they give in to the child so the child won’t be upset. This fear of being rejected is hard to overcome because we “all just want to get along.” Further, we don’t want disharmony in the house caused by a child being upset. So, rather than properly address the problem, we appease our child. At the basic level, it is selling out what is right so that we can have peace with our child. Do you remember the Feb 8th blog post titled “Peace, Peace,” whereas false prophets were calling for "'peace, peace’ when there is no peace?" I wrote: Everyone wants peace but God demands that peace be on His terms. That is, while we seek the type of peace where everyone gets along at almost any cost, God doesn’t. God offers a different kind of peace for those who are faithful to His commands and truths. Namely, it is a righteous peace found only in God. …God says He will tear down the walls which the false prophets have whitewashed. In other words, God will tear down these promises of peace which compromise (whitewash) His word.” The same principle applies to parenting. We cry “peace, peace” with our child but there is no true peace as long as we compromise what is right. A compromised peace is a false peace- - - a false promise (prophet). Why is it false? Well, the appeased behavior allows conduct which is based on something other than Right. Further, appeasing this behavior serves to strengthen and empower it in our child. The next time there is an issue, the child’s affront is stronger and harder to deal with. Appeasing peace really only gave us a stronger adversary, as we get a stronger and stronger willed child whose emotions basically run the household. If the child ever comes up against our backbone of something we are unwilling to compromise, then there are two very strong-willed parties going at it: War. In actuality, the appeasing for peace was just a false peace that was really the prelude for war. In this scenario, fear of rejection - - -causing us to primarily seek peace with our child - - - caused us to compromise Right, appease wrong behavior, empower untoward behavior, and set our child at war with Right.

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