Are You Raising Family-Centered Or Child-Centered Kids?

A family-centered child, rather than a child-centered family, produces a more giving person. – Kevin Leman

It makes sense.  A family-centered child will learn what it means to give and take, to serve others, to be a part of the family in a meaningful way.

A child-centered family may give the impression that we are all here to serve you. The child won’t get a chance to learn what it means to give, serve or sacrifice.

Don’t ask me why, but I’ve been re-watching the first season of Little House On The Prairie. I don’t think I had ever even seen the pilot episode! While watching this series, I’ve been noticing the attitudes of kids back a hundred years (at least portrayed through Laura’s writing).  The family had to work together to accomplish life. What Pa said went – there wasn’t much discussion. Parents were in charge and kids followed. They all had supper together each evening. During dinner, kids responded to questions from the parents. It was a completely different era.

These days, parents are more likely to follow kids. Not that it’s all bad, and I’m not advocating for 1880’s life, but it seems like the pendulum has swung a little too far. With all the focus on our children, their interests, activities and schedules, we’ve left little room for them grow and learn what it means to be part of a family and a home. In a sense, our culture has developed child-centered families more than family-centered children.

It’s a well known fact that parents will follow kids. Drive by the park on any Saturday morning and the place is loaded with minivans and camping chairs while kids practice ball on the fields.  It’s also true in the church – a child can express interest in going to Sunday School or Children’s Ministry and the parents will bring them. In some ways, it’s an incredible witness that a child would lead the family there. In another way, it’s difficult, because if the child no longer wants to attend, it’s all over, unless the parents have become really connected.

In order to produce a more giving child, we must help them understand that it’s not all about me, me, me.  Here are six ways to help produce a family-centered child:

Family Meals

We’ve all read articles on how important it is to carve out a few times a week for family meals, one way to help create a sense of togetherness to share in the preparation and planning for these times.

A Role In Running The Household

Children will have a better grounding in life when they learn life skills through chores. I recently heard one person who said they quit calling them “chores” and called them “skills.” The skill of doing laundry, cooking a meal, folding clothes, collecting the trash, etc.

Help Stay In (And Understand) The Family Budget

It doesn’t hurt kids when we tell them “no.” It’s better for a child to understand that money is finite. It’s good to live in a budget, to make good decisions, and to delay gratification. Understanding the idea of a budget is helpful for children to grasp.

Sacrificing For Other Family Members

At times, we have to set aside our own preferences for another member of the family. It’s what a family does. It’s called sacrifice. One example might be leaving a light on at night. One child may need a light on after a bad dream and another member of the family, who would rather have it completely dark, just deals with it.

Learning To Serve

The habit of serving one another is learned in the context of family.

Attending Worship As A Family

Attending worship together as a family, each Sunday, shouldn’t be optional for children and teens. Parents are given charge of the spiritual lives of their children. Bring them to church.

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