There are few electronic devices that you’ll find today that don’t come without parental control options; telephones, televisions, digital video recorders, and computers just to name a few have them. Yet the more advanced we get technologically, the less parental control parentsactually have in raising their own children.
There have been numerous news reports lately of the drastic measures being taken by parents who are desperately seeking ways to reach their children before their good ones are lost in a system not set up to redeem them but to restrain and detain them. One father shot up his daughter’s computer after she publicly ranted about how unfair she felt he was via a Facebook posting. A mother in Tampa makes her son wear a sign after receiving failing grades on his report card. A father in another town in Florida does the same thing with his son who received failing grades. A Fort Wayne, Indiana mother also forces her son to wear a sign after his continual lying, stealing and law breaking.
In each of these incidents, the parents were blasted by the press and other authoritative systems for their actions, stating they were being inhumane towards their children and psychologically damaging their children’s minds and self image. The rationale is that these children are frail and fragile and too young for such tactics; that there must be some more suitable resolve than to resort to shaming them.
Recently my wife and I faced our own dilemma where I was driving us to church and my younger daughter was having a tantrum in the back seat of the car. She began lashing out at her older sister who loves her too much to tell on her or put up a defense and resist her. My wife, noticing what was happening took to smacking her ankles to get her to stop kicking her sister. In the car behind us was an off duty officer who only saw my wife’s arms moving decided to pull out from behind us and drove over beside my wife’s side and showed her displeasure in what she presumed she witnessed.
But what is a parent to do when you tell them that corporal punishment is physically and psychologically damaging, or that you can’t shut them in their room, or strip them of things that you bought for them? How do you train up a child in the way they should go if you’re constantly being told that you must by law spare the rod of correction, which you know will lead to a spoiled child? What do you do when it takes a village to raise a child and the village elders have turned their backs on you and calling you unfit?
There will be many assumptions made over the next few months about parental involvement as people glue themselves to their seat watching the reports about the young man who killed 12 and injured 58 people in Aurora, Colorado. Many will revisit their theories and opinions as an increase in distraught parents seek new innovative and more effective ways of reaching their children.
I find it interesting that the tactics currently being adopted by parents are the same tactics that Correctional facilities used not more than a couple centuries ago. While we believe ourselves to be a more civil society, there is something to be said about the realization that people are revisiting these older methods.
The bible is clear on one thing: children require boundaries and it is primarily a parent’s obligation to set them. This nation is a nation of laws, yet laws are being established more and more to make it more difficult for parents to establish those boundaries. But be sure of one thing, it is more costly when the state is left the responsibility of providing those boundaries than it is for a parent. Let’s work together to help parents honor their God given duty to establish proper parental controls.
QUESTION: What solutions do you find to help parents have more effective parental controls?