Parenting never stops. Just because you get them to 18, or 22, or in the case of the country of Spain, 28, doesn’t mean you are finished parenting, it just morphs. Just because our children are the age of an adult does not mean they can live on their own. Even when our children reach adulthood it is hard to know what to do, and how to do it. When they are little we never want them to fall or to struggle. We don’t want them to experience failure resulting in bitterness against us. What if they look up at us from their failure, eyes full of disappointment and this question, “How could you allow me to feel such pain?” Blaming the parent for not protecting them from the storm of their own sin or, worse yet, the sin of others or the circumstances of a difficult world.
So many of my dear friends struggle with allowing their children to hurt.
Take a look at this tree:
Be sure to watch the linked video above. Maybe ask God, “Am I staking my children-trees for too long?”
In her dissident research paper, The Myth of Staking, Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott took on powerbrokers and entrenched tree stake interest groups, saying:
Tree staking is done with the best of intentions but without regard to long-term tree health. Rather than helping a tree develop root and trunk growth that allow it to stand independently, improper tree staking replaces a supportive trunk and root system. This artificial support causes the tree to put its resources into growing taller but not growing wider. When the stakes are removed (if they ever are), the lack of trunk and root development makes these trees prime candidates for breakage or blow-down.
Can you see our children, the children of the 21st century? Whether children of affluence or children of financial need, we have “staked down” our children for too long. Be honest. Can our children/young stand independently? Can they pay their insurance? Rent? Utilities? Do they blame outside circumstances for not being able to care for themselves? Are our children easily “blown down” by the hardships of living in an imperfect world? Can they solve their own problems without manipulating the strongest among their group to meet their needs?
What if we have staked them down preventing the development of the ROOTS NECESSARY for INDEPENDENCE AND PROBLEM SOLVING?
Stake #1 What if we have called their teachers or coaches asking for a reprieve from earned consequences?
Stake #2 Given them money for necessities, when they have spent their funds unwisely?
Stake #3 Intervened in life padding them from the blow that would cause them to cry out to God?
Stake #4 Given them so much they didn’t want for anything? (This stake leads to the dependent’s APATHY and lack of motivation!)
Stake #5 Paid their debts and not taught them to manage their own credit!
What are the signs that your child is too dependent upon you?
1. Apathy- it takes a train wreck or dramatic circumstances to move her to get up off the sofa.
2. Depression and Withdrawal- they spend a lot of time alone.
3. Partying or Addiction- he has fallen into a trap of relieving the pain of life in self-destructive ways.
4. Victimization- she constantly has excuses for everything that happens. She justifies all her wrong behavior.
Here is an article by By ELI J. FINKEL and GRÁINNE M. FITZSIMONS called, When Helping Hurts. Click the previous link. It is a good one.
The Perils of Parenting Too Much, a video by CBS. Watch this!
Ok, so what do we do if our grown children have stakes, instead of strong roots.
1. Pray FIRST. Ask, “How do we/I help my kids to stand alone?”
2. Do what comes to you after you have prayed? Obey. Follow God’s Word, the Bible.
3. Ask your children to forgive you for crippling them!
4. Pull back slowly on your supports.
5. Use every means to encourage him to stand alone.
6. YOU GET HEALTHY and learn to stand alone. The reason you have staked them out is because you couldn’t stand their pain. All pain is designed to nudge us, push us, drive us toward a healthy relationship with God.
Mind Body Green has 11 things that are practical things to do that help with rooting rather than staking down.
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