Parents constantly beat themselves up emotionally when any of their children grow to live contrary to what they've been taught during their childhood. We ask, "What did I do wrong?" "What should I have done differently?" "If I had only loved a little more." "Did I love too much?" "What went wrong?" Isn't it a shame that most parents are so eager, most are too eager, to take the blame for their child? God forbid we should allow our child to suffer a little or take on some responsibility for their own actions!
If you read the comments on social media or those attached to news items online you see some of the reason why parents feel so guilty. Those comments are written, almost without exception, by the luckiest parents in the world whose children grew to adulthood to be okay.....anyway. In other words, the parents weren't perfect, but the kids are mature and responsible anyway. Consequently, mom and dad believe that it's all due to their tremendous parenting skills, and if your kid didn't turn out quite so well, well it's no doubt because you were an unloving or inattentive mother who probably worked instead of staying home where good mothers always are. Or, dad was not loving enough, and never came home from work at a decent hour. It's all the parents' fault!
Then there's the men and women who know everything about rearing children, even though they've never had a child and have never even been married. But, it's obvious to them whose fault that kid's problems are, and frankly, they know more about what makes a good marriage, as well.
Let's just take a step back for a minute. I know for a fact that there are terrible and irresponsible parents. I may have been one of them. But, when children reach a certain age, the parent of a normal boy or girl should be able to realize that, no matter if you weren't totally perfect, that child is old enough to know right from wrong, know the basics that he or she was taught, and should now have brains enough to be the responsible one.
Now, I'm not talking about your basic juvenile delinquent here. I'm talking about Tom and Mary's son Tom Jr. who is off smoking pot at age 17 or worse, bullying the 14 year old whose nose is off center, or their daughter Cindy Lou who's rude and obnoxious to most of her high school teachers. Both kids know better. Both kids were taught to have respect for others and to obey the laws. So, if they were taught by mom and dad, and they break the rules anyway, who's to blame?
If the finger pointers are going to use the bible, which they so often do, I sure would like to know what verses they're using to make their points. I can't seem to find anywhere in the good book that says that if a child goes wrong, it's always the parents' fault. What I do find is that the prodigal son had a loving and doting father, but the son strayed away regardless. I find that David was a man for God's heart, but Absalom, his son, had a murderous heart, and for that matter, so did David. Then there was Cain who murdered his brother. Wait a minute! Adam and Eve disobeyed their father, and guess Who that was! Even God, the Creator Father, has children who disobey. I think it's time that those of us who are nursing our guilty feelings about being such bad parents stand up for ourselves for a change. You and I weren't perfect, by any means. But, our offspring need to fess up to the fact that they know better, and it's all their fault for behaving so badly.
Those of you out there with such great adult children who are responsible, God-fearing, law-abiding. good-mannered people who mow their lawns every week and make sure the car payment is on time, need to make a note to yourselves. You should remind yourselves to thank your wonderful Father in heaven that your less than perfect nurturing skills didn't produce what you probably deserved. Be so very thankful that your child turned out okay......anyway......that you never again automatically blame a parent for some snot-nosed kid's bad attitude or foul mouth. You just don't know it, but your grown up, all-American kid was probably just like that once upon a time.