…………then Johnny in the end will cease to bother trying to do right.
There is a natural inclination in the heart of a child to seek to please their parents. The bond that is created by being dependant upon these adults with whom they closely share their lives, means that there is a tendency to be responsive to these two adults who are in fact their parents. This means that parents are in a position of great privilege and responsibility. When used with reasonableness and, above all, in dependence upon God this relationship will foster the healthy development of the child.
However, things can go wrong. One of the ways in which they can go wrong is when parents refuse to be approving of the child. The child is always being told that they cannot do anything right. Relentlessly the message comes that they are failing their parents. Eventually the child concerned gives up and stops seeking to please the parent. Three consequences then flow from this:
- The child becomes an “attention seeker”. Worn down by the negativity at home the child acts towards others outside the home, in a way that seeks to call attention to himself / herself. Unnecessary boasting is one way in which this is shown.
- The child seeks affirmation elsewhere. This leads to them committing into an unhelpful relationships. One way this is manifest is in the child gravitating to a gang where security and affirmation can be found.
- The child loses any respect for authority. The first and most influential authority figures in their life have messed them up and so they conclude that they do not want to be submissive to any other authority. Criminal activity can then ensure.
A final nuance to mention in this context is that of the fact that it is normally the mother that has the most influence in these things because the mother generally spends most time with the child. Thereby it is interesting that when the character of the kings in Kings and Chronicles is described there is generally a mention of who the mother of that king was. Loving affirming mothers generally lead to secure, law-abiding and useful children