Do You Want Your Children to Like You? Jesus Provided a Model.
Ann Bendall B.A., Dip. Psyche, Australia
The need for children to establish acceptable behavioural patterns is indisputable. The manner in which it achieved is critical to the well-being of the child. The Urantia Book explains the "family conference" method that Jesus utilized with his family, which is an excellent technique, currently encouraged as one of the better methods of family discipline by psychologists. However, for any method to be effective (including hitting the child over the head with a hammer to teach them not to be cruel), four critical pre-essentials are:
Realistic values and beliefs as to what a person is, a child is, and a parent is.
Acceptance of yourself, and high self- esteem
Appropriate ways of interacting.
A "storehouse of good will"
If a parent has not all of the above four, no method of discipline will be effective. Any deficiency of these attributes impacting during the child's early years, may quite possibly rebound on the parent with a vengeance during adolescence.
The Urantia Book points out a step by step way to acquire all of these essential prerequisites - simply model Jesus. Follow carefully how his parents handled his formative years to develop trust, love, respect, independence and decision making, etc. Look at the way they encouraged his inquiring mind. As parents, they were a psychologist's dream of the 'ideal.' They went through the tough period when their baby son was a walking question mark; perturbed by his expressions of independence and intellect at times, they asked his reasons and accepted, respectfully, his responses.
1. Realistic values and beliefs as to what a person is, a child is, and a parent is.
Go to Jesus; look at the young man, acquire his beliefs, values, attitudes to life, God, himself and his family, and his parenting strategies. His brothers and sisters were active all day every day. They were encouraged to have friends, responsibilities, and they were loved, respected and helped to develop as individuals by their father/brother. And all the while he was watching. How did he know when and where to assist in character moulding? Simply by playing with them, and playing with there a great deal. Then when it came to discipline, he was able to draw on his "storehouse of good will" and his discipline was effective.
2. Acceptance of yourself and high self-esteem.
If you don't accept yourself you will never accept another person, including your child. As a person with high self-esteem, by the pure fact that you are a very much loved child of God, you avoid seeking, from others that which you can only find within, through your Thought Adjuster..
3. Appropriate ways of interacting.
This is a whole area in itself. Good communication skills are essential.
You will need the acceptance of your children, as they are, who they are, coupled with excellent listening skills, empathy, and an ability to clarify whose problem is whose within the family. As you model your skills, so will your children learn them.
4. A big "storehouse of good will."
Right throughout Jesus' early life he was in the constant presence of either his mother or his father. He had his sand tray, his paper and crayons, and his parents ensured that he had lots of play-friends. However, the good will essential to enable parents to effectively discipline their children, and to carry effective discipline through adolescence, is established not from solitary play or play with friends, but through play with parents.
Jesus went for lots of walks with his parents, was read to, and was constantly in their company. He really got to know them--and they, him. He learnt from his mum, when he was eight, how to make cheese, how to milk the cow, and how to weave--which means they must have spent lots of time together. With his dad, he played in the carpenter shop, probably "pretending" to be a carpenter--and his father played along, with him.
We are told that, in manhood, Jesus ensured that there were bricks and sand in the corner of his shop to entertain the little children who loved to visit him at work; and how they so loved it if he stopped and told them stories which made them laugh. It appears he was actively encouraging, supervising and participating with the kids in their play pursuits. This is the critical ingredient which amasses good will with children.