Your Kid Is Like A Kleenex

by Travis Plumlee, Director of Family Ark Ministries

So many kids grow up and turn to alcohol and drugs. Many others get discouraged, and develop depression or anxiety. Still others start running with the wrong crowd, and as a result, make poor choices; which begins a pathway of destruction for them. So what can you do as a parent to help assure that your child will be less likely to follow these pathways? There are no 100% guarantees in an imperfect world. You can always raise your kids right, and by the bible; and they can still grow up and choose to live wrong.

However, you can say some things, avoid some things, and give your child the right foundation. Then, if they fall apart later in life, it won’t be because of a failure on your part as a parent. The foundation is poured early-on in life. Discouraged kids do drugs. Shamed kids become anxious, depressed and develop addictive behaviors. When kids feel like they are not fully accepted at home, they will start to run with the wrong crowd. There are many other explanations besides these I am listing, to cause these troubles. But many of these problems might occur because of things you say to your kids, and that is an easy thing to avoid doing.
Start off by understanding that your child or children, are like Kleenex tissues in two ways. Let me explain both.

1). Children are like Kleenex tissues in that their developing personality and self-esteem are very easy to get torn or crumpled. Think of how easy it is to tear a Kleenex in pieces. It takes very little effort. That is how it is with your kid. It doesn’t take much on your part to destroy their little hearts before they ever have a chance to grow. You are stressed out. You have had a bad day. And you snap at them. This marks their heart.

Perhaps they were talking in school. The teacher told them to be quiet and your child talked just a second longer. They didn’t get a star on their chart this week. They got a frown face instead. Don’t shame them. They already feel bad. Kids want to do well and please you. Say, “It will be okay. We will just continue to work on these things. Everyone makes mistakes. I think you are a very smart and good kid and I know you will do well in school the rest of the week, right!” Smile at them and give them a hug.

Sometimes your kids are in a bad mood. Don’t shame them if they don’t feel like hugging and kissing you and tell you 100 times they love you. Every person, even little ones, sometimes just need some down time. Don’t shame them here either. As my readers know I am a big proponent of biblical discipline. There are many instances where your kids do wrong, and you need to take disciplinary action. If your child develops an on-going pattern of misbehavior in the home or school, then we need to give them reproof or the rod. But no one is perfect. Kids make mistakes and learn from them. Help them learn from them. You don’t always have to make them feel bad to get them to do better.

Remember to always attack the behavior, and not them as a person. Don’t call them names. Cry Baby. Selfish. Brat.(Fill in the blank). You may need to correct behavior, but don’t have them feel like there is something wrong with them. Don’t think that somehow God made a mistake when He made them. And by the way, God doesn’t make any child with a deficit. They may have attention different, but they don’t have attention deficit. How would you like to be 10 and think you have a deficit compared to other kids! Don’t label.

2). Children are like Kleenex because they are absorbent. They absorb what they hear you say and do. Not all misbehavior has to be disciplined. So they messed up. Let them learn from their mistakes. Ask them what they learned. Ask them to help you problem solve. Ask, “What do we need to do different next time?” Kids want to correct their mistakes because no child wants to be a failure. They all want to succeed. And God wants them to succeed. They are His kids after all. God doesn’t want any of His kids to not be successful. Help them find the pathways that will make them successful. Not every kid has to go the same pathway. Each child is unique. Work with the teachers. Work with their educational modality, so that even with homework, they are given the right environment to be successful. Some kids take 30 minutes, and they are disciplined, motivated and done. Other kids are just as smart, but they need prodding, isolation, structured environment and help. Find what works for each kid.

Just remember you make a deposit or withdrawal every day in your child’s memory bank. When parents shame them, ignore them or criticize them; those are withdrawal days. These kids will soon be bankrupt and have troubles. Deposits are encouragement, praise and attention and affection.These kids are rich because their parents invest in them. Don’t ever forget that your children’s personality and self-esteem are as fragile as a Kleenex. They absorb. They tear easily. Constantly pray and seek God.

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