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  • Writer's pictureJohan Smith

When the child becomes the parent

During the pandemic, I am confronted with shocking parenting. Here are a few things that I was asked about over the last few weeks, things I saw, or things to which I had to listen. And just by the way, I’m fully aware that many of these issues were a reality and general phenomenon before the pandemic.

A child withdraws to their room, occupied the entire day with technology and screens, completely abandoning his sport. Period. Dad and mom are too scared to intrude on his privacy and act firmly about the closed door, the overload of technology and the total passiveness. These are red lights for future depression (if this isn’t already a reality).

Parents pity their children (under 18) so much during the pandemic that they arrange parties and make sure there’s alcohol. Yes, a national law is transgressed with dad and mom buying the alcohol. Another law is broken because of zero social distancing at the parties. What an example for our children! All part of a winning recipe to raise little gods.

Dad and mom give permission that their teenagers attend parties where masks or other responsible Covid measures don’t exist. Once again, “my child is really struggling”. They disregard national legislation. And if your child exhibits the same attitude one day…? I tremble!

The news was full of begging headmasters who had to plead with irresponsible parents to adhere to regulations pertaining to the pandemic. The headmasters plead on behalf of other children who may be very susceptible to the disease and teachers who test positive on a large scale, endangering their lives. They plead for schools to remain open because isolation isn’t good for any child or human. Astonishingly, there are still parents who oppose and criticize the heads. The levels of narcissism and arrogance are simply shocking. Dad and mom remember, don’t ask questions one day when your child turns out arrogant or a narcissist.

The ‘little god’-syndrome is propelled vigorously when parents become scared of children, when children become the parents…... And yes, this has been the case in many homes for a long time. The cracks are just becoming more visible during the pandemic.

Dad and mom, you are the dad and mom – it’s the unique role given to you by God. Assume your responsibility. Adhere to responsible boundaries and discipline. It is part of loving. Teach your child to manage burdens and difficulties – there will be lots more post-Covid. Above all, ask God for wisdom every day – raising children has never been easy, but will always be and remain one of your greatest responsibilities. As Andy Stanley says:

Your greatest contribution may not be SOMETHING you do, but SOMEONE you raise.

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