The Problem With The Child-Centered Home

I held up a finger when she opened my bedroom door, reminding her I was on an important call and didn’t want to be interrupted.

But she ignored my attempt to quiet her and asked the question loudly as if MY ONE FINGER in the air meant nothing.

I pointed again, more forcefully. My 7 year old kept right on talking.

Even my most threatening face didn’t stop her.

This must be really important, I thought.

I said excuse me to the professional on the receiver, covered the mouthpiece and whispered through gritted teeth, “WHAT IS IT?”

She took a tiny step backward and said, “I don’t know what to do. I’m bored.”

Y’all.

It was nearly a poltergeist moment for me.

“Go play. Give me 5 more minutes,” I said seething.

“But mom, I need you to tell me what to do.”

The rest of the phone call occurred with me sitting on the closed toilet behind a locked door.

When I hung up a few minutes later, I kept thinking about my daughter’s words. I need  you to tell me what to do.

I’m not a stranger to a child-centered home. For years, we let our kids determine restaurants we ate at, we gave them ample choices, we backed down from consequences, we centered our lives around their extracurricular activities, we added fun kid stuff to every weekend so they wouldn’t be bored, and when they asked us what they were supposed to do for fun, we told them. Some days, we still reap the effects of it.

And then, a few years ago, we started to shift to a Jesus-centered home. Instead of child worship, where we bowed to every whim and demand from our kids, we refocused and prioritized our lives. My children didn’t stop being important. We didn’t stop loving them unconditionally or stop meeting their needs. We just stopped trying to fix every problem and giving in to every desire.

Last week, I told you how serving turned our home right-side up. It’s never too early to start or too late to try. We started by picking a few things off this list:  100 Ways to Make a Difference As a Family.

Listen, humans are naturally self-centered. We want what we want. Our kids are no different.

If we build our home around their every want, they will let us.

And it may seem easier because kids who always get what they want seem “happy.”

Until they don’t get what they want.

And then watch out.

My greatest calling is being a mom. I love my children and I’m grateful for them. But that doesn’t mean they are the sun and I should orbit around them in submission.

Children having picnic

When we center our homes around the wants and demands of our kids, we are actually hurting them, not helping.

Here are five risks of a child-centered home:

  1. It gives kids the false security that the world is about them- We can build our world around our kids, but the world won’t return the favor. Sooner or later-in school or at a first job, they will discover life isn’t always fair and they can’t always get out of sticky situations.
  2. It puts a strain on our marriage-it’s easy to put children in front of spouses and when we put kids at the center of the home, things get out of balance, including our marriages.
  3. It reinforces selfishness-kids don’t need to be taught selfishness. “Mine” is usually one of their first words. But constantly letting the world revolve around their demand and wishes, only reinforces selfishness.
  4. It puts a responsibility and pressure on children they weren’t meant to carry. Kids weren’t designed to carry the burden of getting their way all the time. Not only is it unhealthy, I believe kids want restrictions and guidelines. It’s another way we show them how much we love them.
  5. It makes them a challenge outside of home (school, church, etc). Enough said.

Refocusing our homes, centering them around Christ instead of our children isn’t easy. It takes consistent, hard work. And when our kids are begging for us to tell them what to do, we should hide in the bathroom. Or give them time to answer their own question.

Oh, and I found the perfect thing for my daughter to do. Her room has never looked better.

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Thank you! We really tried to raise our daughters with this way of thinking… In general we did ok… I mean they are both well adjusted members of society and even more importantly they both know and love the Lord. We had our moments… Christmas was has always been a weakness and I lived with the monsters I usually created around that time of year. The other sticky time was around sports… They tend to take over your whole family if you let them and you feel like the “bad” parent if you are not at every game, etc… That being said, I agree with you wholeheartedly and both my girls have fend memories of times we served when they would normally be the ones being served. It’s funny, at the time they would whine from time to time “why is it ALWAYS our family doing the work?” or “Why do we always have to be “part” of things instead of regular families who just get to go to them?” But now they look back at those times with fondness. They still joke about the consequences for saying “I’m bored” and the creative chores I came up with for them! You are doing a great thing for your kids!

    • 1.1

      Carolyn Elkins says

      Changing to a ‘Christ-Centered Home’ would not involve an adult (the care-giver and role model’ hiding in the bathroom, or finding ‘chores’ for her to do (punishment in her eyes, maybe–next time she’ll find something more pleasing, perhaps? Not more Christ-centered just more ‘feel-good’?

      I was thinking you were going to start talking about how you are modeling Christ-centered by doing kind deeds as Jesus did; modeling forgiveness; getting your daughter engaged in (age-appropriate) volunteer work like handing out food to homeless as either part of a church program already established, or establishing one yourself and getting the entire family involved.

      The Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5-7 does a great job–as do other ‘RED LETTER portions of the Bible–in conveying what ‘Christ-centered’ means.

      And you’re right, it’s hard, darn hard, in a world that doesn’t recognize that just not catering to children and hiding… or giving out chores is not the kind of redirect, or just plain Christian direction Christ wants us to give our children.

      I hope you keep working on what Christ-centered would mean for you as an adult Christian so you can model it for your children. Peace to you in Christ-Jesus, Carolyn

  2. 2

    says

    I am very thankful God led me to your blog while I’m in the early stages of parenting. Such good God-centered advice. It’s great to see someone give practical tips and experiences for those of us who are trying to teach our kids something different.

  3. 5

    Kristy says

    I am a new reader to your blog!! Thank you for being so transparent and showing where you are. I desire and my husband does as well to have a home like this…where do you suggest beginning or where do you suggest I start reading on your blog? I am just seeing as my kids are becoming more involved in things I don’t want to loose sight of seeing Christ in our everyday. Thanks for your help.

  4. 7

    says

    Well said. I think it’s hard to have anything BUT a child-centered home in the years when they are little. Our lives naturally orbit around them when they derive every ounce of care from us (as babies and toddlers do). But I too am seeing some alarming evidence of it as my kids get older and am determined to keep working on shifting the tides around here. Thanks for this, Kristen.

  5. 8

    Lindsey Swinborne says

    I wholeheartedly agree with your post! Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of adult women ignore or interrupt one another in conversation to listen to their toddler’s demands. It’s shocking and rude to me, but it’s just becoming the norm. I know, having 4 young children of my own, that kids demand time and attention constantly, especially when they are babies and toddlers, but I think women are going overboard on “being the perfect mom” to the point that they are not being attentive to their own friendships and etiquette. If a kid asks them to take them to the swings at the playground, they will get up in the middle of a conversation with an adult and go do it immediately.

    • 8.1

      Heather says

      Amen. I just spent a summer with family and friends where this was the norm. Every time a child spoke or had a demand (none were emergencies or something the child couldn’t have done her/himself) the adults were jumping up and running. We all looked like hummingbirds darting around.

  6. 9

    says

    I once looked after a little one who was raised in a child-centered home. She loved being in our home as long as my kids and I are were focused on her. As soon as we said no, though, wow. She finished her days here loathing every minute. I’m not a perfect mom and I admit that I give in too often to our own kiddos, but I agree with you. Setting boundaries, saying no as well as yes, and letting them learn to be bored is a good thing. And now I am off to check out that list of ways to serve as a family!

  7. 10

    says

    This is a wake up call for me, Kristen. We aren’t totally child centered in our home, but there are some areas where I just look at my kids and think “who ARE you?!”. And when they interrupt phone calls? Hell hath no fury. Thanks for the wonderful article and encouragement.

  8. 11

    says

    Great article! I couldn’t agree more. It’s SO hard to articulate this concept well, but I know it to be SO true. And you’ve done it! I will definitely be sharing this article with my friends and fans. Thanks!

  9. 12

    April says

    This is my first time to your blog and you have me hooked with this one blog posting. I couldn’t agree more. I believe that allowing your children to dictate EVERYTHING (letting our children choose every now and then is perfectly fine) that happens at home only causes problems at home and outside of the home. Bad manners are accepted, whining is a way of life and raising independent children goes out the door. I do believe that raising your children by making them the center of everything is a big part of why our society has declined as much as it has.

  10. 13

    says

    I agree completely with this post. And it even made me think about how I am self focused! My hope is that I show my kids how to be other focused in their lives in a healthy, Christ centered way. An important first step is making sure our family isn’t t so focused on itself that we forget others.

  11. 15

    Sylvia says

    Great post. As a 7th grade public school teacher, I live with child centered parenting every school day. You are correct in saying that sooner or later these kids will find out that they are not all that and a bag of chips. In my amateur psychologist opinion, the child centered parenting is a factor in kids doing more and more outrageous behaviors in an effort to be noticed. Sexting, for example. Oh, and don’t get me started on self esteem. Kids today need to develop self respect not self esteem. Yes, my ideas go over like a lead balloon with most of my colleagues.

  12. 17

    says

    Wow!! This whole scene played out here last Friday as I was on a call in the bedroom and my 4 year old continued to ignore my numerous indications that I was on the phone, and she was to be quiet!!! I laughed at your description and resulting exile to the bathroom! Today, in preparation for another VERY important call, I went through my list of threats should anyone (I’ve got 3 kids) dare bother mommy while conducting business. You truly opened my eyes! Coming across your blog today for the first time is also timely after having a wake up call with my soon to be 13 year old who nearly went to bed hungry last night after grilling me on precisely what I had cooked and when to determine if it was what he wanted to eat, or ask for something else after he came home late from swimming with family friends. After losing it at his audacity and attitude, I realized my husband and I have clearly failed here and he needs a reality check. Your blog post totally enlightened me: we are child-centered and out of sync. Our family/home needs an adjustment back to Jesus-centered!!!! Thank you so much! I am a new fan/reader! Can’t wait to read your other posts!

  13. 19

    Tam says

    Thank you for another thoughtful and “spot-on” post! I think the fact that families are smaller can play into this problem of child-centered homes. I grew up as one of five children; it was nearly impossible for any one of us to have center stage for any length of time, just by the sheer number of us. One household income meant “no” was frequent and pretty easy to enforce; there was no money for frequent restaurant visits or purchases of “stuff”. However, we only have two kids and it is much more of a battle than we ever realized it would be. Grandparents (wonderful people!) wanting to give them things, other (well-meaning!) parents asking us why we haven’t signed up for yet another sport or activity, and kids growing more anxious by the minute because, as in your post, they have a moment where no one is telling them what to do and panic sets in. It’s up to us parents to keep the focus where it needs to be.

  14. 20

    Cuivre says

    Excellent article!!! I see so much of this “child centered home” mentality. Let kids learn disappointment, failure, boredom as well as the good things in life. It is all about balance!

  15. 23

    Dianne says

    Serving does WONDERS for kids!! My two are now 26 & 27 and they “get it”!! When they were in elementary school I volunteered at a local food ministry and I was allowed to have them work along side me. My daughter helped bag the groceries and hand them out, while my son helped carry the bags to vehicles for people using walkers, oxygen or had their hands full of babies. We didn’t have a lot ourselves, but my kids saw that others had less and they, as kids, were able to help. To this day, they are appreciative of what they have and are willing to share / help others whenever they can.

    Boundaries are very important. Just as we have to learn to freely give, we have to also know how to protect. By this I mean that I don’t let people push me for more than what I can realistically give or make me feel guilty / shameful for not giving more. I will freely give rides home from events even if it is a bit out of the way, but I don’t run them all over creation to do errands when they only asked for a ride home, just because I agreed to the first request… and don’t ask me for something in the middle of me helping to which I have already said “no”.

  16. 24

    says

    This blog post is a great wakeup call. I was thinking about it, though, and how to apply it in my family, and I started getting a little frustrated. My oldest child is 7, and my youngest child is 2. There are very few service opportunities that we can take part in as a family. I have taken our oldest to Feed the Hunger at our church, and he serves with us once a month in the church nursery, but our lives are marked by a lot of day to day caring for the youngest ones. I’m wondering how possible it is to have a largely others centered family when most of your children are really young. I don’t want to feel guilty about what I can’t do because this season in our life has some very real natural limitations. It’s hard to know how to balance it all, I guess.

  17. 25

    Mandie says

    I’m currently stuck in a child centered home. I know I “did this to myself” but I don’t know how to change things. I know you said make the home Christ-centered but at this stage I need a more concrete action plan. When I try to take my focus off the kids I have horrible guilt, but them being “in charge” is really straining my marriage and my mental state. Thank you for sharing and encouraging that a child centered home is NOT how things should be. It gives me the courage to shake off the guilt, and get started pursuing change.

    • 25.1

      says

      And Mandie, remind yourself that the guilt? It is not from God. Also, your marriage comes before the kids. Loving and respecting your husband trumps making the kids happy.

  18. 26

    Lewis says

    Your post is spot on for the most part. However Im in shock at the one point where you let your child continuously and rudely interrupt your conversation on the phone. After the second warning, I would have asked the person on the phone to politely hang on for a few seconds, then I would have walked over and lit that behind up, hard. A child should come and politely and respectfully stand by when an adult is in the middle of a conversation till the adult finds an appropriate time to turn and ask the child what he/she wants.

  19. 27

    says

    Thank you for this great article! People forget that it is actually hard on the child to be the center of everything and to get their way all the time. It’s hard on them in the moment and it’s hard on them later too.

  20. 28

    Kelli says

    My index finger and mad face seem to have also lost their power. I’ve gone to “talk to the hand” and taken to hiding in my closet.

  21. 29

    says

    I’m 67-years-old and I have been generally appalled by child-centered homes. I cannot believe the number of kids who run the household while contributing nothing. When one of my sons was around six he got mad at me for something and told me I was no longer his friend. It hurt. However, I bent down, looked him in the eye and told him I was happy about that. I was not his friend. I was his mother. He looked me steadily in the eye for a moment and said, “I get it.” He ran off smiling and playing. My kids got a lot of attention but they knew not to interrupt me or expect me to entertain them every minute of every day. They grew up to be respectful adults. I had no problems with them when they were in their teens. You’ve hit on a good way to raise your children and I applaud all who are doing the same.

  22. 30

    says

    There are pros who are involved in this sofa that might be capable to tell
    you the best you are able to get on your company offices or home.
    You’ll like to have holiday guests, however when you use a
    sleeper sofa that’s so an easy task to use, you will want overnight
    guests year-round. This is simply because you cannot order for
    any sofa that wouldn’t contain your living area or even leave you with little space.

    Recliner sofa is additionally well known for supplying you with high a higher level comfort
    by providing you with foot rest to place feets up.
    Now that you know some guidelines when it comes to getting a good sleeper sofa bed, you’ll be able to
    always be certain you always get a fantastic buy.

    However, the key part of one’s essay could be the body which must contain all information. While most Business
    schools are very clear relating to cut off regarding GMAT scores,
    these are not very clear relating to requirements for GMAT essay scores.
    Sleeper sofa chair what – https://grab.zendesk.com/entries/44731659-How-Routine-And-Ritual-Can-Result-In-Riches, Aside from that,
    reading a large amount of materials allows EAL student to learn more about
    the world they’re into, thereby enabling to adjust more
    to their new environments. He wouldn’t notice, over a conscious level, Henry’s appearance,
    the tables or even the polished bar.

  23. 31

    says

    gps tracking device

    This article has some fine elementary writing prompts
    which can increase the writing skills with the elementary students to your great extent.
    Creative and artistic writing ideas possess still
    demanding marketplace in customs that could draw further
    visitors. Gps tracker gps tracker app for iphone m seeking intimate
    apparel for my spouse, or a fantastic pair of jeans
    for my casual nights out around the town. If the spouse had a close relationship using the deceased, you need to address the letter to both.

  24. 32

    says

    28 grams = ounces

    When you write with an academic tone, you’re meeting the expectations in the academic
    genre. This is performed by taking a photo, placing it upside down,
    and covering up all but somewhat portion of the picture.
    important (essentiallyjuiceshop.zendesk.com) 100 grams of flour to cups You’ve got the master plan, focus
    on writing your Intro, this certainly will tell the various readers what this article is about,
    and possibly a review of points you’ll cover. You will become familiar with how to discover
    story ideas, how to arrange stories and the way
    to handle quotes.

  25. 33

    says

    Fruits and seeds are delivered to relieve abscess, asthma, earache, epilepsy and
    hysteria. It may be easily pulled before it’s
    well-established on account of its shallow roots.

    The great things about acai as a weight reduction solution do understand and bring promising hope for those in search of reliable ways for reducing weight.
    As to be with her role within the film, Halle explained, “This was definitely a challenge, but being an actor it is one of those challenges that you just relish.

    When an author uses different words to refer to the same concept in a very technical article. They position themselves intentionally so so it isn’t too tough to discover them at the same time as have become watchful to safeguard their reputation. Phytolacca berry tablets fify (https://nerdherdinc.zendesk.com/entries/49042280-Phytolacca-Dioica-Seeds-Features) Often institutions will
    ask for more than one article, and every one should be an absolutely
    different image of who your pupil is as being a
    person. For said, examples are announced, declared or whispered.

  26. 35

    says

    does garlic salt go bad

    With countless jumping in the self-publishing waters, one with the
    issues some confront is whether or not to make use of their own name, or go by the
    pen name. One from the easiest solutions to draw people in your website is usually to use SEO Content Writing.

    Do breaker switches go bad consider
    Regularly putting away little windows of your energy to reveal these
    areas gives your head a wonderful possiblity to steer
    itself in the upwardly happy direction. Once the author or sports
    person carries a clear vision products they want, they
    can then start writing the body of training and go from there.

  27. 36

    says

    side bed caps

    Your Linked – In profile is really a marketing piece ‘ not only a biography or perhaps a r.
    Don’t move to point B then refer back to information in point A.
    around (https://pmm.zendesk.com/entries/51975754-BSF-Baby-Grace-Baby-Cribs) co sleeper guard rail for babies Convert popular terms (which aren’t very competitive) to the article topic ideas.
    It is extremely important which you learn what it
    really is that you simply are offering for a customers
    including,product features,capabilities,limitations and specifications.

  28. 37

    says

    There are many types of tiles available nowadays.
    The method of tile cleaning will depend more on the tile
    type. However there are couple of things to be followed to add
    the sheen and glow of the tiles.

    Do the regular floor cleaning
    Clean the spills as soon as they occur

    It is very crucial to clean dirt and water too as soon as they are split to prevent the
    stains. Place a doormat which helps in reduction of mud or dirt entering through footsteps.

    There are basically following tile floors where in one will use the tile and grout
    cleaning process, types of tiles are as follow –

    Ceramic
    Porcelain
    Stone

    Porcelain Tile cleaning

    Porcelain tiles maintenance is not difficult if the surface is cleaned regularly.
    The surface can be vacuum cleaned every day or just sweep it.
    The wet mopping is required once in a week. Use of
    mild floor cleaners will do for the mopping. One can make
    it at home by mixing vinegar and water.

    Ceramic Tile Cleaning

    The rule is followed here as well; remove the dirt as soon as
    possible. Vacuum clean the tiles every day or a simple broom can be used.
    Plain water or the special ceramic tile cleaners can be
    used for the wet mopping.

    Stone Tile Cleaning

    One need to be careful while cleaning the tiles made of stones as they are natural minerals.
    Never use harsh floor cleaners. Sweep or vacuum clean. After
    using any floor cleaner use a dry mop to soak any type of liquid residue.

    Grout Cleaning

    Along with the tile cleaning it is very important to regularly clean the grout, i.e.

    the lines between the tiles. Hence tile and grout cleaning goes simultaneously.
    Grout is porous in nature and attracts dirt, grease etc.
    The surface looks shabby if the grout is unclean. It can also be a cause of mildew or mould in the damp areas like bathrooms.
    It is best to have a seal (colour or clear) on the grout which will not only
    protect the surface but also acts as an anti-fungal agent.

    Many a times it gets difficult to maintain the floor due to hectic
    working schedules. Hence we come in picture and provide the tile and grout cleaning services to our clients at a very affordable price.
    Moreover the price depends on the type of the tiles, number of tiles
    and size of the tiles to be cleaned.

    Following steps are followed for the tile and grout cleaning after you contact us-

    Pre inspection of the tiles and floor.
    Shifting of the furniture, if any, from that space.
    Dry Sweeping of the surface
    Application of the suitable cleaning solution.
    Cleaning the surface with a soft pad.
    High pressure cleaning
    Mopping and drying the surface.

    We have our experts who carry special tools to do the tile and grout cleaning; the grout sealing is
    also done if ordered.

    Look at my web blog tile and grout cleaning service Las Vegas NV

  29. 38

    says

    Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!
    Very helpful info particularly the last part :) I care for such info a lot.
    I was seeking this particular info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  30. 39

    says

    gluten free recipes for breakfast lunch and dinner

    Write an essay on your best friend describing his likes, dislikes and looks.
    Offer it for review on forums or writing groups
    and request for feedback and reviews to publish on your site.

    Gluten free food whole foods presumably (https://mobilenationhq.zendesk.com/) Many
    will deny this comment if you brought it up inside a conversation, nonetheless it.

    If you cannot wish to publish a letter, sending a sympathy card by
    mail, putting a post on Facebook or broadcasting a Tweet, can be acceptable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>