Paul's Passing Thoughts

Child Centeredness: The Silent Killer

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 29, 2014

Nothing wreaks more havoc on society in general and the family unit in particular than little Johnny as god. The only justice in the sordid affair is that it will eventually kill Johnny as well, but rarely until Johnny has left his unique brand of scorched earth on his sphere of existence. In many instances, it is a silent killer of marriages because both spouses are equally invested in the worship. They wrongly interpret their misguided priorities as a good marriage. Johnny is the only tie that binds. Even in the bedroom, does the good sex flow from an intimate friendship, or because Johnny won the spelling bee?

Things happen for a reason, and people do what they do for a reason; always. Whenever you hear of a couple getting divorced after say, 35 years of marriage, it will almost always be in conjunction with empty nest syndrome. Both spouses will end up knowing little about each other, but will be experts on Johnny’s every want and need. Is your dinner with the Johnsons awkwardly silent? Start a conversation about little Johnny and the dinner will soon take on the excitement of a drunken orgy.

One of the most errant ideologies known to man is the idea that children “complete a marriage.” In contrast, it is the marriage that is to be “one flesh” between two people, not three, four, five, and for damn certain, not 19! Dominion theology doesn’t make a biblical marriage—that is completely messed up. Little Johnny is to “leave and cleave” when the time comes, and unfortunately, many marriages are a Three’s Company sitcom between newlyweds and mommy.

So, child centeredness is a major cause of dysfunction within the family, and will spread throughout the family tree like gangrene, and also affect society at large. Two parents who have made a child the center of their life send a clear message to that child that he/she is also the center of the world. They have grown up in a sphere where they are the center of all priorities, and when they go out into the world, they will assume the same. We have all worked and gone to church with such. And nothing pictures a doomed marriage destined for divorce or mere coexistence more than four or five miniature narcissists sitting between a husband and wife on a church pew.

Strong marriages make a strong family and strong contributors to society at large. This is a short food for thought post, but let me close with some basics. You should NEVER know your child better than you know your spouse. NEVER invest more in your children than your spouse. If you do, as you grow further apart from your spouse, the children themselves will fill the void and a downward spiral of marriage-death will occur.

You should NEVER model anything in the home that represents a flawed view of how society works. Child-centered parents will often display a propensity for not holding their children accountable. I can also tell you this if I know nothing else: the primary cause of teenage rebellion is the realization by the teen that they are able to drive a wedge of disagreement between parents. The teenager recognizes that he/she can obtain a perceived want by pitting one parent against the other. This in and of itself often leads to divorce, and then the child actually uses the parental guilt in regard to the divorce to further the same agenda. I have seen this at work firsthand.

Children must see an ironclad marriage that is the primary priority. I understand that this is a vast body of applicable wisdom, but are there some simple principles that can help us stay in a mindset that will continually cultivate a marriage-first environment? Yes.

One time, I was invited to a Southern Baptist pot luck dinner. When it came time to get in line for the buffet, the front of the line was populated with the children, followed by the dutiful parents, and the back of the line was populated with seniors, many donning walkers and canes. Need I say more? Are we so saturated with a child-centered culture that I would have to expound on this picture further? I hope not. I will only say this: the clueless seniors in the rear, smiling, were the parents of the clueless parents behind the homegrown narcissists in the front of the line.

All in all, marriages don’t have a life of their own, you must feed them. Family relationships must be in proper perspective in order to have a healthy family.