Dr. Richard P. Lindsay in his book, The War to Save Our Kids, p. 31. states: "Two major themes emerge in an evaluation of child rearing in the current generation: The emphasis on self gratification and the absence of spirituality. We live in a time when the 'child-centered' ethic has spawned every kind of justification for over-indulgent child rearing practices. We have focused on children's self-esteem rather than on their individual achievement and responsibility."
Dr. Lindsay goes on to say that "parents have been misguided by a confusing cultural ethic that undermines their authority and discourages their attempts to offer sound directives to their children." He encourages parents to resist cultural trends and raise superb families.
One problem he points out is the pressure parents feel to be good enough. He states, "Few parents believe they are providing their children with 'enough' -whether the 'enough' be goods, protection, instruction or time." Parents feel assailed by demands to keep their children supplied with expensive products, clothes, toys and services. At the same time they sense a vacuum in their families.
As a solution he recommends a spiritual heritage that creates connectedness between parents and children. Teens in today's world are saying that the biggest influence on their views is church attendance (Citizen Magazine, 2004, p. 9). Children need to experience feelings of love for others, dedication to their family, a response to good music and scenery, all of which religion encourages. Families need to take time to help their children grow and develop in these areas.
Dr. Lindsay adds to his list the need children have to learn to give service. In traditional homes, children were expected to help look after younger siblings, help care for the elderly and assist with many household chores. They were given real responsibility and their contributions were taken seriously. Children feel good about themselves when they "do" for themselves and others--not when they are done for.
"Children are far more competent than adults give them credit," is a statement of confidence in children by Lindsay. Studies of the Great Depression in the 1930s show no ill effects from asking children to provide daily household help and other family services. Some of the most competent adults I know lost a parent when they were children and therefore were really needed to help with the family.
I have seen love and caring as older children lovingly help younger children get ready for church, help with homework or just listen.
Busy parents get children dressed long after the children are able to do for themselves because they believe it is quicker and easier. Lindsay says, "Parents make their children's beds, clean up after them, prepare their snacks and drive them distances that could be easily and safely walked or biked--all to the disservice of their children."
In conclusion here is one last quote: "It is not what the parent does for the child that make him feel good about himself. Rather, it is what he accomplishes on his own."