Anecdote: Today I stopped at McDonalds with the children. Deciding to forego drinks and eat the food at home, I nibbled a few french fries as I put the bag on the seat beside me and pulled out into traffic. Laurel asked politely for her food, and I told her we were eating at home.
Before I could offer her some fries, she burst into tears. She stopped when I told her to, but then she said, “I want to eat NOW.”
At that moment, I noticed two things:
- First, that as much as I wanted to give her some fries, to do so would be to reward her tears and demanding attitude. It would be unwise at best, an example of what we mean when when we say “child centered parenting.”
- Second, that as much as I wanted to eat some more fries, since I was just as hungry as she, I should not do so, since that would be insensitive to my daughter’s genuine hunger and state of mind. That [ehem] difficult decision was made completely because of my child, but I do not think it unwise, “child centered,” and thus to be avoided. I think it was loving.
Moral: Before I discuss “child centered” perhaps I should consider what the biblical terminology is. At the least, I should consider what is meant by the words, “child-centered” since a godly parent loves his child by giving to [sacrificing for] them. If we mean “making a decision completely for the benefit of my child” then I’m not sure we can biblically avoid the practice.