Mistake #3: Worshipping our children. Many of us live in child-centered communities. We’re raising our kids in child-centered homes. Our children love this, of course, because our lives revolve around them. And for the most part we don’t mind either, because their happiness is our happiness. It thrills us to do for them, buy for them, and shower them with love and attention.
But I think it’s important to keep in mind that our children were made to be loved, not worshipped. So when we treat them like the center of the universe, we create a false idol, turning a good into an ultimate. Rather than kid-centered homes, we should strive for God-centered homes. Our children will still be loved, only in a better way, one that promotes selflessness over selfishness.
Mistake #4: Wanting to be our child’s BFF. When I asked a priest to name the biggest mistake he sees in parenting, he thought for a moment and then said, “Parents not being parents. Not stepping up to the plate to do hard things.”
Like everyone, I want my children to love me. I want them to sing my praises and appreciate me. But if I’m doing my job right, they’ll get mad and not like me sometimes. They’ll roll their eyes, moan and groan, and wish they’d been born into another family.
Seeking to be our child’s BFF can only lead to permissiveness and choices made out of desperation because we fear losing their approval. That’s not love on our end; that’s need.