FAMILY AND MARRIAGE: Children need to be parented

September 9, 2018

”Sometimes we’re so concerned about giving our children what we never had growing up, we neglect to give them what we did have growing up.” — James Dobson

”Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” — Bible

Newly marrieds Joe and Jane had their hearts set on going out to eat that evening, but when they checked their money supply it was depleted and their credit card debts were becoming unmanageable. So they decided to eat at home. But they had to wash the dishes first; the table was covered with dirty dishes from the night before.

Recently I ran across a new word – new to me anyhow. Apparently I’m in the wrong age bracket to have encountered it before. The word supposedly is all the rage among millennials. Ready? The word is “adulting: to behave in an adult manner; engage in activities associated with adulthood.”

Jennifer Maffessanti, an Associate Editor at FEE Foundation for Economic Education, wrote an article on adulting and says the following: “According to the internet, ‘Adulting is the assumption of tasks, responsibilities and behaviors traditionally associated with normal grown-up life.’ Activities that fall under the heading of ‘adulting’ include, but are not limited to, having a steady job, generalized housework, paying bills and budgeting, getting enough sleep, buying or renting your own home, and parenting.”

My definition of adulting, now that I’ve looked into it a little, would be simply the recognition that you are now accountable for your actions. If you don’t get enough sleep, don’t have a job, don’t pay your bills, don’t even obtain your own housing, you suffer the consequences. Unfortunately today there are many ways people can avoid “adulting”; parents or some agency or the government bail them out and they don’t suffer any consequences. So why “adult.”

Maffessanti suggests one of the reasons why adulting doesn’t occur is because of over-parenting. One frequently used term is helicopter parenting. “Helicopter parenting is a kind of overparenting in which the parent(s) take over an inappropriate amount of responsibility in their children’s lives…. The mom who calls the teacher, demanding that her precious angel’s C-minus be changed to an A-plus. The dad who insists that his progeny be granted a starting position on the sports team regardless of his skill level.”

Then there is the other end of the spectrum; I’ll call it underparenting. According to one study 60 percent of all children age 5 or younger are in some regular daycare arrangement. Some children aren’t put in daycare but perhaps would be better off if they were. They are being raised by a single parent who has no time or resources to provide the care the child needs. Grandparents may try to step in but usually the neighborhood gang plays a big (and often undesirable) part.

Maffessanti has some ideas that might help people be more “adulting.”

Learn to budget. Before you go out to eat, is it in the budget? Try eating at home more often. It saves money and you learn how to cook.

Learn to manage time. Keep a detailed calendar. Memories don’t always work. Keeping appointments is a big part of “adulting.” You will avoid overbooking and will fulfill your commitments in the use of your time for yourself and others.

Keep your living space clean. In other words, organize yourself more around the house. You will feel better with a clean environment and will be able to find things when you need them.

Quoting Maffessanti, “And, perhaps most importantly, stop lying. To yourself and to others. This means not only celebrating your successes, but also owning your failures. Blaming others for your mistakes and poor decisions does no one any favors, least of all you. When something you’re working on doesn’t go as planned, even if it’s not necessarily your fault, it is your responsibility. So accept it.”

Bottom line: Children need “parenting,” and parents must help their children develop a sense of responsibility for their actions, both through training and example.

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