Therapist Leslie Whiting emphasizes that parental priorities include establishing a loving, respectful, trusting, and open connection with their child which will eventually result in mutual friendship. When a parent models a behavior contrary to the principles of success and happiness, such as lying or being sneaky, they are creating a faulty connection, which, like a faulty electrical connection, can lead to disastrous results.
One of the most important principles of success and happiness that children need to be taught is the law of the harvest….We reap what we sow and there are consequences for our choices – good or bad. In an attempt to be a friend before being a parent we may inadvertently shield our children from the true effects of their bad choices. In doing so we think that we are demonstrating our love, and for a time, we may get away with it. But when we are not around and our child is struggling with a real-life situation resulting from a poor choice, how much value will our child find in our shielding of consequences when the stakes were small? Seeds planted in youth will eventually develop and be harvested.
The good news is it is never too late to teach correct principles. But it does require that parents assert themselves in loving, thoughtful, and courageous work that may not bring immediate results. As we persevere in nourishing the seeds of correct principles they will eventually bring forth the fruit of successful and happy children who will eventually love, like, respect, and value us.