The problem with results oriented parenting…

I had an acquaintance ask me recently, “How old were your kids when they started listening to you?”  He went on to explain that his four year old sometimes disobeys him, so he’s not sure that he’s even going to bother with trying to discipline her anymore.

And that demonstrates the problem with results oriented parenting.  

I have no problem with raising your children with results in mind.  We want our children to do well on school tests, so we make them do their homework.  We want our homes to be clean, so we make our children clean up their messes.  We want them to be caring, compassionate, responsible adults so we make them share, say they’re sorry and take responsibility for their actions now.

The problem arises when we become so focused on the result that we lose sight of progress.

It’s probably a result of our Americanized way of looking at the world.  The best team always wins, the best products succeed, the sturdiest building weathers the storm.  We’re a society completely driven by results.

And all of that makes sense, if you’re coaching a team, or launching a product, or building a skyscraper.  But we’re not doing those things, we’re raising real-live-breathing-and-crying-full-of-emotion-and-personality little humans.

And we can’t judge the success of a 20 year process on results from just a small part of that time.  Our children aren’t teams at a championship, or products making their big debut.  Our children are evolving, facing challenges and failing-but learning and growing.  Our children don’t have ONE big moment to prove that they’ve succeeded, they have countless lessons to learn and battles to win.

When we fail to see the process of raising kids and we focus only on the final result, how we want them to eventually be, we’ll miss all of those little victories.

We can’t judge the worth of our children on an end result that they haven’t reached yet and we can’t judge the success of our parenting on whether our children win every tiny battle in their life.

So to answer the question asked about “when” my children started obeying us…..  They always have.  They’re not perfect at it, but I’m not perfect at obeying all the rules in my life either.  And just like with my kids, imperfection doesn’t equal failure.