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How to launch your kids into the world

I was driving down the highway toward Tennessee with Estie (now 22). She was talking about styles of parenting and how Karen and I have conveyed a sense of responsibility to her and to her siblings. “You guys used a phased approach to launching. You gave us doses of independence in stages. You e…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I was driving down the highway toward Tennessee with Estie (now 22). She was talking about styles of parenting and how Karen and I have conveyed a sense of responsibility to her and to her siblings.

“You guys used a phased approach to launching. You gave us doses of independence in stages. You encouraged us to save money. At 13 you made me buy my own clothes. You sent us on mission trips. You helped us to feel competent by giving us miniature experiences prior to launching us.”

“So all that prepared you to be more independent?”

“Yes, it not only gave me the chance to not be shocked at leaving home when it was time to go off to school, it also prepared your hearts as parents to release us.”

“How does that compare with your friends?”

“Well, one friend of mine has to call home to process every decision she makes. Another friend’s mom calls her up every day just to talk. That shows how much control the daughter has over the mom. They’re typical of my generation. Parents are way too obsessed with their kids.”

“How else do you see that?”

“So many parents I’m around talk about their kids’ grades or accomplishments way too much. And they do it in front of them. It’s not healthy. It gives the kids an inflated sense of their own importance.”

“But don’t you want to encourage your kids?”

“Yeah, but you would give us feedback one-on-one, for example, not in front of people. You didn’t stifle our talent and you validated us. We put on little shows for guests. But you didn’t let our egos to get too big. Mom knows us really well. She knows what makes us tick, what discourages us, and what to do when we’re down.”
 *   *   *   *   *   *
Kids get to be adults and then parents before you know it.  We worked hard to make sure Estie and her siblings could stand on their own two feet.  It’s great to know that the work has paid off.  No remedial parenting required.

Comments (7)

  • Wow, good one! As a Mama working on raising a boy, soon to be 7 years old, I welcome all the good tips I can get.

    Put myself up for “Worst Mother of The Year” award on a regular basis, as I guess a lot of mothers do. Wish kids came with an individual instruction manual! Often wish I was a different person and had more love, kindness and patience inside me. The impatience and anger spills out way more than I wish. “Out of the fulness of the heart the mouth speaks.”

    Guess my most common words are “sorry son” and “Lord have mercy on me and give me wisdom!” “Change my heart O God” is never far behind either!

    Hope I can do anything like the good job you guys obviously have. Well done indeed. That one-on-one feedback tip especially helpful……

    lol Carol xx

  • Of all your family Seth, I have only met you and Estie, She is a special gal!!! You and Karen have done a fine job raising her and I’m sure all the others!!! You are blessed!!

  • Thanks again. God’s really been working in me on how can I do a better job breathing life into my three kids for the few years I have until they are out of the house. This is a great help and encouragement.

  • After spending significant time with ALL of your offspring, many of them living with me for a month at a time – I have to say you have gone over the top when it comes to raising them with Godly values, life lessons and focus! When I grow up I want to be just like you Barnes!! Brilliant!

  • We will be venturing into parenthood soon and I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of parent that I want to be. Thanks for the encouragement that we don’t have to fix everything and that it’s okay for kids to experience hurt and disappointment sometimes. That is not the message being broadcast by our culture, and it’s nice to hear someone say the truth.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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