Over the past two years I have enjoyed and struggled with things our kids are interested in. To clarify, I am talking about things that are more than a passing interest. These are things that they continue to learn and discover about.
I have moments that I want to forbid them their interest, because I simply do not understand it or it looks/sounds weird to me. I mean why can’t my good Christian kids read/study their Bible’s, dive into devotionals, listen to Christian Music all the time, etc. WHY do they have to discover things that make me wonder if I am a good parent?
Well, I am no expert and I am sure there are MANY Christian parents out there that will disagree with me in our approach. Yet, we have chosen to follow the following steps, for the most part, when our kids develop interests that either concern us OR we just plain think are odd OR we ourselves have NO INTEREST in.
- We do our very best to research the thing they are drawn to. We learn the good and bad about it. Then we evaluate if either side out weigh’s the other FOR OUR child and our family. In other words, research and discussion between Mom and Dad.
- Then we discuss with the child what we found and what we believe is best. Maybe limited time. Maybe they can only participate or view something when one parent is present. Maybe we decide this interest is not in their best interest and we do forbid it.
- Next, we follow-up and make sure they are following our guidelines. If it was something we allowed them to continue with we then choose to learn what we can about it. This allows us to converse with them about it and engage them. We want them to know that their parents may not know EVERYTHING about this, but they are willing to learn, love them enough to want to spend time doing things they enjoy, and also that we are aware of their habits/interests.
- Finally, we embrace them and their interests as best we can. We watch movies with them. We watch YouTube videos with them. We encourage them to create things they learn about. We always refer them back to God and our faith. We set an example that we have interests, but we put God and our family first. Keeping things in proper perspective.
I guess what I am saying is our kids are not our clones. They are going to like things that make no sense to us or may even seem dumb. We choose not to ridicule them or blow it off. We feel that pushes our kids away from us rather than creating a lasting relationship with them. We choose to make the tough parental calls when we need to, but we also explain to our kids why. They may not like it, but at least they know Mom and Dad didn’t just say no. They know we respected them enough to research it and give them REASONS for our decisions.
As parents our number one priority is to keep them close to God. If we choose not to embrace what they are interested in then we may risk pushing them away, which makes it pretty hard to draw them to Jesus Christ.
DISCLAIMER: We do not do a great deal of explaining to our 3-year-old. Ha! We do, but we do more…”No! You WILL NOT run into the road.” or “Yes you can color on THAT paper.” In this post I am referring to our approach with our older children.