I believe this shift is a response to previous "silent generations" of workaholic parents who neglected the family or failed to interact on a personal level with their children.
But we've gone too far.
I first heard it at a Bible study: Whenever our children want something we should drop everything and "be there for them." It was presented as part of building our children's self-esteem, being a good mom, putting our family first, being unselfish, assuring our children they were loved.
And it continues to influence most Christian moms today. But research shows we damage children if we teach them that the world revolves around their desires.
|See A Wheel, Not a List where I explain Biblical Priorities aren't a rigid list.|
Yes, multiple studies are now showing that high self-esteem, not low self-esteem, is the cause of selfishness, low achievement and criminal behavior.*
Christian children raised in the last 30-40 years tend to have more self-confidence than previous generations, but they're also more self-centered and less content than previous generations.
In our desire to serve our families, we've ignored the trustworthy principles in God's Word without realizing we were doing it.
But we can reverse things in our family by letting Philippians 2:3-4 be our guide:
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."
If we make God our #1 priority, we will never neglect the needs of our children, but we will:
- Always put the needs of others above our children's desires.
- Teach our children to put the desires of others above their own desires frequently.
I have one final caution about the rigid priority list we Christians have created. I discuss it in Selfish Marriages.
* Can Too Much Self-Esteem Be Bad for Your Child?
image of man on gear: Free Digital Photos, renjith krishnan
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