Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Child-Centered Home

A child-centered home is one in which the interests and activities of the child/children are at the center of where the adult members revolve. The adults in the family submit their schedules, activities and conversations to that of the child.

It is extremely important for children to learn at a very young age (probably younger than we even realize) that they are a part of something much bigger and greater than themselves. Children learn very quickly how much influence they have.

The most basic, God-ordained relationship is not the parent/child, but instead the husband/wife relationship. In our world today, that is often not the case. Parents seem to be living FOR their children. Everything- schedules, conversations, activities, goals, interests- has been about the kids. They face the empty nest years with panic because the foundation of their relationship has revolved around the children; they suddenly realize that all they have is their meaningless husband/wife relationship. So many couples are bewildered, after being married 7-10 years, at the lack of love they “feel”. They wake up and realize their lives have completely revolved around the kids, that the children are dictating the schedule, including how much time the parents spend together as a couple. They have become so child-centered that they don't have time for each other. The marriage will suffer and maybe even end because of it.

What are some possible signs of a child-centered home? Notice the word 'possible'. Not all of these things are bad, but when they are out-of-balance, they are fairly good indicators.
~Allowing kids to interrupt adult conversation
~Hovering over your kids-they will hurt themselves and break things; give them some space.
~Refusing to leave kids with sitters or if you do, micro-managing the sitter
~Permitting children to manipulate to get their own way
~Making excuses for disobedient behavior
~Letting them dictate meal times and bedtime. To a degree, kids' physical needs are different than an adults, but your whole world need not grind to a halt for the sake of a few minutes. They probably won't die if they must wait to eat or go to bed.
~Allowing child's schedule to dictate the entire family's schedule. Be very cautious of activities that consistently keep your family from Sunday worship.
~Refusing to let them cry
~Becoming your child's friend instead of authority figure

Your child will become very adept at making you feel guilty for not keeping him/her the center of attention. Very young children will cry when you walk away from them. Older kids will whine and complain about what they don't get to do. I've never yet seen a child die from crying. It's okay to push aside your feelings of guilt; your children will survive and be better for it. John Rosemond once wrote, "Some parents act as if they took a wedding vow that says, 'I take thee to be my husband/wife, until children do us part.'" Sad, but so often true. Your child has joined your home for a few brief years, but your marriage will be there long after they're gone, IF you've given it priority.

A marriage-centered home (with Christ at the very core) is crucial in those years when there are many little feet running around. What we don't realize is that the very thing we want our children to have-a secure home environment-will happen only when they realize they live with a mom and dad who love each other. This knowledge will produce the stability your kids are looking for. Children need to see parents who know how to live and love together.

It is so easy to become parents and put our marriages on the back burner. It is crucial for our children to take their proper place in the home. (Our children are very used to the phrase, “Dad's the king; Mom's the queen; deal with it”). That happens when we are intentional about our marriages. It is important to connect daily. Even 15 minutes of “Mom & Dad time” when he gets home from work is vital to this connection. Dating regularly is critical to a growing relationship. Why do we date before marriage and quit after the wedding? It doesn't have to be some big thing; coffee or ice cream & a walk is wonderful. Do fun things together, whatever that might be for you. Be affectionate to each other with physical touch. Your kids might act grossed out and tell you to “get a room”, but down inside they feel secure at knowing they have parents who love each other. Be interested in what interests your spouse. Not because you necessarily are, but because you love him.

We should be training our children to leave the home and when that time comes, we should be looking forward to it. If we consider our marriages to be the most basic, God-ordained relationship, we will be okay with an empty nest. (Personally, I'm very excited about that prospect). :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010


It is time to blog again!! I will...I promise.