Dennis Prager made an interesting observation last Friday on his radio program. He said that coddled children grow up to be fearful. What does coddle mean? It means “to treat in an indulgent or overprotective way.” One woman in the chat room responded, “That makes sense. My siblings and I were extremely coddled growing up, and we’re all pretty fearful. Now, that’s a huge burden I carry with me and have to fight hard to work through. I don’t think I would have made that connection before. I think I tend to coddle my kids. I’ll have to be very diligent to make sure I don’t do that anymore. Luckily, I have a husband who doesn’t coddle them”
We didn’t coddle our children. We loved them deeply. We were affectionate with them. We disciplined, trained, and taught them the ways of the Lord, but we didn’t give them everything they wanted. We taught them self-control. We taught them early in life that the world didn’t revolve around them. We taught them that pain and suffering were a part of life. Yes, we comforted them in their pain and suffering, but we didn’t overly pamper them about every little ouchy.
Parents who coddle their children aren’t doing their children any favors at all. We live in an indulgent culture. Anything anyone wants, they get. They spend money they don’t have. They buy their children a bunch of plastic toys that were made in China. The children play with these toys a few times and then are bored with them. It’s so much wiser to let your children use their own imagination and creativity in their play. They come up with far better things to do than can be manufactured in China.
Many in the gentle parenting movement coddle their children. They never say “no” to them. They never discipline them. The parents’ lives revolve around the children. The children get to decide where to sleep, when to sleep, and what to eat. Instead of telling their children they can’t climb on the highchair, they move the highchair up on the table when not in use. The children rule the roost. They will have a rude awakening when they grow up and are told “no” often. They will be ruled by their emotions and feelings rather than by doing what’s right, since they have no self-control.
If you indulge your children and hover over them constantly, when they grow up and are in the real world, they will be fearful. They will quickly find that life is not all about them and their desires. They will find that life is full of things to be fearful about. They were never taught how to suffer through hard times nor how to handle difficulties. Their parents protected them from all of this. Women, don’t coddle your children. Raise your children to be strong soldiers for the Lord!
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.