Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Kirk and Jay's rules for terrible parenting

The always clueless Kirk Cameron has linked a story by Jay Younts on his website. This 'great article', as he describes it is far from it. Kirk acts like it's a great guide to parenting, but that couldn't be much further from reality. So, why does Cameron think so highly of this article? Let's see what he
has to say about it...

God has not called parents to explain but to train. Explanations often lead to frustration and anger for both parents and children. Children are not in need of lengthy, compelling explanations. What they are in need of is the understanding that God must be obeyed.

So Kirk's stance is that the best answer for everything is "Because I said so!" Wow... how terribly adult. He fails to explain how explanations lead to anger and frustration. I don't know about you, but I far prefer something I don't understand to be explained to me. Conversely, answering my questions with "It just is" or "Just do it right this time" are the answers that would be more apt to piss me off.

Explanations tend to focus on getting someone to agree with you. The logic for explanations runs something like this: If I can just get my children to understand the reason for my direction, then they will be more likely to follow my instruction. While this may sound like solid reasoning, it is not. Explanations are more consistent with gaining approval and winning arguments. Neither of these are appropriate goals for biblical parenting and can lead to anger in your children…
What world is Kirk living in? Explanations can be used in that way,  but they often aren't. Suppose a child asks me why the sky is blue. What if I explain that it appears blue due to the way the suns light is scattered in the Earth's atmosphere? I'm not trying to gain that child's approval. What I'm doing is trying to educate them. How will that lead to anger? Or what if I follow Kirk's suggestion, and just demand obedience by answering that "The sky just is blue!"? I'd think that non-answer would be the more frustrating one.

Or what if your kid wants to go to the park by themselves at 6pm? Which answer is better? Is it better to just say, "No! Because I said so!"? Or is it better to say no and then tell them why if they press the issue? You might tell them that it's too late and will be getting dark soon, that they have school in the morning, or that they have homework to do. When I was a kid, if I knew that anything past __pm was too late to ride my bike to the park. I also knew that if I didn't have my homework completed, I
wouldn't get a snack. So instead of pestering my parents about something I knew wasn't going to happen, I'd move on to something else. By having things explained to me I did something that Kirk Cameron hates... I learned!

The rest of what the author of the article wrote wasn't any better either...
With young children and toddlers, lengthy explanations cloud the real issue.  Obedience is a response to God’s authority. Biblical obedience is not a matter of winning a debate.  Young children must be trained to obey right away, to do exactly as they are told, and to obey with a good attitude.
Okay, perhaps small children don't need explanations. An maybe explaining things to a toddler would just confuse them more. But I find that stressing of Biblical obedience very odd. The Bible says not to eat shellfish or pork. Bacon is sin! Tattoos are out as well... which makes Jesus tattoos rather awkward. Ever get a haircut or shaved? It's highly likely you've sinned again. Ever hear a woman speak in church? Their apparently damned as well. If you wear any clothes made of more than one kind of fabric, straight to Hell with you! Or maybe we should let the Bible tell us how much we are allowed to beat our slaves... That's just a small sampling of the many, many things most Christians just simply ignore. Tell me again how important Biblical obedience is.
Children from 6-12 must be encouraged to obey because they know this pleases God. Your discussions will be more involved than with young children, but again you are not trying to win their approval. You want them to grasp how important it is to trust God and the reliability of his word. This type of training will yield a conscience that is sensitive to the things of God.

It doesn’t take much insight to realize that teenagers and long explanations don’t go well together. Obedience with teenagers is to be primarily be focused on helping them see the value of following God because they love him and that God’s ways are the only ones that can be trusted. Your goal is to have conversations not explanations.
 Oh yes, because "Jesus says" is such a great way to get through to pre-teens and teenagers. And everyone knows how well teens typically take to demands of blind obedience, right? Also, isn't a reliance upon 'God's word' to explain why they can and can't do things an explanation? I thought the whole point of this article was that 'explanations are bad'... Sorry, but if your child wants to go on a date, and you site some Biblical reason as to why, you are still explaining. Something that Jay is trying to somehow demonize. Or does he allow a double-standard so that his favored source gets special treatment?

Wow Kirk... Google doesn't even like you.
It may be okay to tell little kids simple 'yes' or 'no' answers. But it is very wrong, and even dangerous to foster an environment of blind obedience. A child that will obey anything you tell them will obey even if what you command is wrong. I don't think such blind obedience is good in any way. And where does the line of obedience stop. Family, friends, strangers? It is better to explain things to kids as they become old enough to understand. This will help them understand your reasoning (instead of just thinking you're mean), but will aid them in the future. It can cause then to be responsible, as well as aid them in the future. If you have reasons for things, then it's okay for them to have reason and opinions as well. What's so wrong with letting your child be who they are, and want to be instead of
molding them into a mini clone of yourself. Vain much?

I think it's far better to raise kids with understanding. Also, respect is something that should be earned, not demanded. So explain things to your kids. It may not always work, and it may not always be easy, but something magical might happen. They may learn, grow, and become better people. If there's one thing this world needs more of, it's good smart people.

-Brain Hulk

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