While sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room recently, I overheard the conversation of two ladies sitting near me.  One of them, the mother of a twenty-something son, was complaining to her friend that her son was still on Mom’s car insurance and was refusing to make even a partial payment. According to Mom, her son has a good job and lives with his girlfriend. But he has a new truck with a hefty monthly payment, so he is refusing to pay his parents for his share of the auto insurance, evidently feeling the burden of both payments would be too much for him.

The lady sitting with her, though she was commiserating and trying to encourage her irate and helpless friend, nevertheless, had no real help to give to her. It was probably a good thing that no one asked me what help I would have offered to that Mom, because I sat there in disbelief for a little while, and then I became furious. Why? Because the parents of that “boy” have kept their little darling son from becoming a man.  Chronologically, he is no longer a youth, but he is still very much a child in his thinking and in his desire to take responsibility for his own life as an adult.

 How does that happen? Most of the time because of the parents who have unwittingly trained their child to remain just that….a child.

Folks, it seems that we have become so preoccupied in our country with rearing our children with a happy childhood that we have neglected the God-given task of making men. Loving parents, who want so badly for their child to be happy, to have everything possible, and to never feel “lesser than,” have neglected the most important part, by far, of being a parent…rearing your son to become a responsible mature adult.

May I suggest some Biblical principles?

  1. Teach responsibility. Do not do everything for your son. Give them chores or work that only they are responsible to finish, and make certain there are actual consequences when they don’t. To not insist on consequences or simply doing it yourself when the task is left undone, is enabling him to stay a child.  Parents, if you do not teach this crucial part of their growth, you are crippling your child and therefore maiming them when they hit adulthood.
  2. Hold them accountable. Let him know that it is him alone who is responsible for his actions in life. It is not the coach’s fault, or the teacher’s fault, or your fault when your son comes up short.
  3. Let him learn the lessons of consequences. Teach your son that for actions there are always results. For example, if he doesn’t make a truck payment, he will not be having a vehicle very long.  And if he refuses to be responsible for his own auto insurance, you will not be bailing him out of his predicament.
  4. Quit making it your obligation to rescue Junior. Force him to deal with his bad choices and the consequences that always follow those kinds of choices. His baby if he fathers a child – that is his responsibility in life, not yours. His bad credit if he refuses to pay his bills – not your responsibility to fix his financial life. His choice to have to walk, if he chooses to not make payments on his vehicle.
  5. Break his plate. “If a man doesn’t work, he doesn’t eat.” Our primary job as parents is not to make life easy and pleasurable for our son, it is to prepare him to leave home as a real man and to be able to succeed on his own.

Mom and Dad, do the truly best thing for your son and make him grow up.