Default Parents

Some parents give default gifts. They give their child what is popular without considering whether it will be the most helpful.

A couple we know bought their child a TV to put in her room. The only limits placed on that TV viewing are time limits; no limits to guide what is watched. This same child has posters on her wall of a famous female singer who dresses and sings in a sensual manner.

Now those two activities, having one’s own TV and making a rock star one’s idol, may not seem out of the ordinary to you. Both actions are considered popular and common in our culture. However, those parents failed to think through what they are actually giving their daughter through those popular actions. What kinds of messages is she receiving and accepting as normal from the TV shows she is watching by herself? What is that rock-star idol teaching her about success, appearance, and relationships?

Most parents who give default gifts, don’t even realize they are operating by default. They don’t think about it.

“No family vacation this year,” remarked one mother, rolling her eyes. “You wouldn’t believe how much money we’re paying each month to put our son through college!”

“Oh, really? What is he studying?” I replied.

“He’s not sure yet. He chose that college because of its (fill in the sport) program.”

Unfortunately, that scenario has been repeated on several occasions during the past few months. It is accepted, by and large, as “the way things are”; but that doesn’t mean it’s the way things should be.

Parenting by default happens when you don’t make intentional, well-thought-out decisions; instead, you just do what everyone else is doing. You parent according to the way you were brought up or the way the media tell you to. In a sense, you let them make your decisions for you.