Willie Spears

Willie Spears

Win At Home is a series of opinion articles written by author and keynote speaker Willie Spears. Be sure to catch the Win At Home Podcast in January 2022 and order the Win at Home devotional for leaders now at www.williespears.com.

I often hear people say, “Children are different today.” There is a sentiment young people today are not as polite, driven, respectful, or patient as the previous generation. Some believe children today are entitled, soft, spoiled, ungrateful, unprepared, unaware of social norms, and lack respect for authority. I believe we all do what we are allowed to do. I do not believe children are the issue. Have children changed? Yes, they have, but only because we have changed.

Adults have changed, and that is why children have changed. Remember when your parents would say, leave the room, grown folks talking. That meant your young ears were not mature enough for their adult conversation. These days, we allow children to hear every conversation, witness every transgression, and share our vises with them by normalizing unhealthy behavior.

Scientists believe the rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so. Recent research has found that adult and teen brains work differently. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part. This makes processing adult information difficult for young people and makes it hard to raise children if they become young parents.

There is no data to support this hypothesis, but rationality is the number one factor in raising children. I have worked with young people for over thirty years. I believe my generation did not appreciate the struggle; therefore, we have created a path of least resistance for our children, thereby molding them into what they are today.

My father is seventy-one years old, and when his mother would ask him to take out the trash, he did it without hesitation. When my father asked me to take the trash out, I did it, but not with a sense of urgency, and I thought to myself, why can’t he take it out.

When I ask my son to take out the trash, he continues playing a video game or watching Tik Tok videos on his phone and asks if he must do it now. I believe we all do what we are allowed to do. I believe parents either teach it or allow it. We could blame absent fathers, unwed mothers, single-parent homes, or a change in societal norms, but those things are a constant.

I can show you in the Bible where most men had several baby mommas, if you will. Those are excuses. Whoever is raising the child is responsible for the child’s behavior.

Here are some ways to win at home with children:

Set the bar high. Children will meet your expectations.

Be a good example. Do as I say, not as I do, doesn’t work anymore.

Tell your children something they did well every day. What gets recognized gets repeated.

After chastising or getting on to your child, do something to make them know you love them within 24 hours.

Treat each child like they have the potential to be the next Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or Colin Powell.

Have a plan for their life regarding faith, failure, finance, fitness, family, and their future.

Try to raise your voice when praising them and lower your voice when they misbehave.

Do not give idle threats.

Do not disrespect their other parent; you picked them.

Treat them like children until they are no longer children.

Let them know you are honored to be their parent, often.

Three ways to Win At Home:

1. Lead by example.

2. Hold children to a high standard.

3. Leadership is ownership, take the blame, and change.

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