Are you crushing them?
When we were investigating a platform for children, we sent out a survey to a group of them. More than 200 kids completed the questionnaire. The last question was: What issues do children have today? These are the top five issues that children struggle with today, from least to most:
5. Acceptance (51)
4. Drugs, smoking & drinking (dependency, abuse, experimenting) (54)
3. Wrong friends, choices, relationship with friends (61)
2. Relationship with parents, God, stepparents, etc. (65)
1. Peer-pressure and pressure from parents (they do not understand us), teachers (225)
This research was done among Christian children and the results from other groups will most probably look different. What I found shocking, however, was that pressure was such a major issue for our children. Nearly four times as much as the one in second place.
So much pressure is put on our children today. Just look at the way that parents push their children to excel at sport. In school, they have to do even better; otherwise apparently, they’ll end up on the street. Friends put pressure on one another and then the teacher piles it on them even more.
We do not realise what we are doing to our children. Therefore, we have to listen carefully to this advice: 21Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits.
Every now and then we see in the news that another child has taken his or her own life. Then we wonder what went wrong with that child. Maybe we should ask ourselves what we have done that contributed to the pressure on the child. Is there a possibility that we have transferred our dreams to our children? At one point it simply becomes too much. The kids don’t know how to handle all that pressure …
The world out there is so busy. Everybody tries to stay afloat and we have so little time to spend with one another. But the net effect is that we bring up our children without cultivating a real relationship with them … a recipe for failure.
We must put time aside to work on our relationship with our kids. They have this immense need to trust someone whom they can talk to about the issues in their lives. No, you don’t necessarily have to have all the answers. Often simply spending time together is enough. Our children are looking for a place where they can feel safe. A place where there is no unnecessary pressure. A place where they can be themselves, and don’t have to hide behind a mask.
Let’s help our children. The world out there is hard. Let’s walk in front of them and protect them from most of the winds. Let’s show them where to walk. Let’s show them with our way of life what it means to be a child of God. Let’s take them by the hand and make them part of our intimate relationship with God.
Then it will be easier for them to follow Paul’s advice: 20Children, do what your parents tell you. This delights the Master no end.
Under how much pressure are your kids?
Have you asked them?
What can you do about it?
Father, thank you for the privilege to have children. Please help us to support our children without putting pressure on them. Please help us to encourage them to do their best without making them feel discouraged. Amen.