It came on so subtly, I didn't even notice. In my earlier years of mothering, I wouldn't call myself a strict mom, but more of a firm, no-nonsense mom. When I asked something of my children, I expected it done, and they knew those expectations. They knew I meant business -- and I knew it, too!
But today, my mothering paints a different picture and it's not because I've grown and matured and gained more experience. It's because I've become lax in my parenting--passive. It came on subtly over the years from being pregnant and losing sleep to nursing babes. It was just a way of life out of necessity for sanity sake.
But as I've moved into a new season of mothering, this is no longer necessary, yet I still find myself parenting passively.
Now, I make empty threats--and my children know it. And I rely too much on the children to do for themselves, when some just aren't capable, mentally or physically, yet.
I've learned a few important realities when it comes to passive parenting.There are some dangers involved in allowing this to continue indefinitely.
Now, I don't want to paint an entirely false picture of my mothering. I am not passive in all areas, but I have noticed I've been passive in several key areas that require me to be present in order for growth to take place in my children.
In this post, I share ways I work to combat these issues and be more proactive in these key areas.
4 Dangers of Passive Parenting
I've become too reliant on having the children fight their own battles between them. I actually thought it would help them learn to handle conflict on their own. The problem with this is they have never been taught the tools necessary for this. So their way of solving matters is to continue to fight for their own desires until they win.
But there is a serious heart issue here that must be dealt with by me, their mother. They need to come face to face with the sin of their selfish desires which is typically what causes the conflict. They are not mature enough to see that for themselves. So, this constant battle never gets solved and it weakens the relationship between them as siblings and friends.
In addition, remaining uninvolved in such matters weakens my relationship with my children because as the adult, I am not doing my duty to train and discipline properly.
While I have some definite boundaries laid for my children, some of the lines have seriously grayed over the years.
For example, with my first child, Saying, "No" or ignoring a direction was NEVER tolerated. Now, with my two youngest, who are four and six years old, (and even my eight year old at times) I've allowed those lines to gray by brushing off ignored directions. Or, not following through and spouting off instructions in passing.
I would let it go because things were busy or I'd forget -- or some other excuse that has lead to several of my children not obeying well in certain areas.
Same thing goes with whining. I used to NEVER give in to whining and now, I ashamedly admit today, I do. Because it's faster and easier than dealing with a melt down. I know, I know, bad mama. But that's what I've come to realize about why things are so difficult and not in favor of my children's growth and maturity.
When my children do not have clearly defined boundaries, or understand their sin of selfishness because I am passive about presenting it (or neglecting it), they will not have solid, strong convictions about sin and living a righteous life. This isn't about perfection, it's about growth.
We are called to be holy as Christ is holy (1 Peter 1:16), to practice righteousness (1 John 3:10), and to imitate what is good (3 John 1:11). Giving my children clear boundaries and teaching them God's word will guide them in Truth and the Holy Spirit will bring conviction from knowing this Truth.
Children are concrete thinkers and will need concrete limits.
Weak Work Ethic
When I fail to follow up on day-to-day chores, I create a weak work ethic in my children. This is actually a large pet-peeve of mine so if I ever hope to raise strong, hard workers, I must, must, must follow-up with their work. But often, I do not. And they know this.
Because they know I rarely follow up, their work is done half-heartedly, and lazily. When I fail to hold them to a standard I know they are capable of reaching, they fail to grow into better workers.
Most of life is work and the sooner they learn that, they better they will cope and be successful as adults.
After recognizing these weak spots in my parenting due to being passive, I have formulated a plan to combat them and strengthen them. You can read that here: 4 Solutions to Passive Parenting
Do you have spots in your parenting that are overly passive that could do more harm than good in the long run?