Preacher’s Kid Syndrome

My daughter is up for a promotion, and has a lock on it. I’ve failed to accomplish what I wanted to in any number of areas, due to laziness, procrastination, or any number of excuses, but I’ve always been totally proud of her, and of knowing that no matter what I didn’t do well, I was always a good parent.

Was never sure what I did right. Then I started looking around. So many parents have huge problems with their kids, always worried about them getting into trouble. Some kids just seem to grow up wild. Why? There is what is known as “Preacher’s Kid Syndrome” because the children of extremely religious people always seem to grow up wild. It could also be called Policeman’s Kid Syndrome, for the same reason. The more you try to discipline your kids, the more they seem to do the exact opposite.

There is a reason for that. Kids don’t need discipline. They need something far more important. They don’t need money. They need something far more valuable than money or what it can buy. They need our attention. They need our time. With most parents having to work, with fewer brothers and sisters to take up the slack, most kids end up lonely and starved for attention. So they do whatever it takes to get what they need to survive. They do what is guaranteed to get your full and undivided attention…whatever that may be.

You want to giet your kid to grow up so you never have to worry about them? Spend ten times as much of your time finding out what they are doing right as you spend noticing what they do wrong. Spend ten times as much of your precious time rewarding them for good behavioor than you spend punishing them for bad behavior.

Is that the way to teach them how to be better kids? No. It’s how to teach yourself how to be a better parent.

And that’s the end of today’s Gospel.


2 Responses to Preacher’s Kid Syndrome

  1. ombudsben says:

    Good point about giving them your time; agree with you about finding the things they do right, too.

    My father is/was a preacher’s kid and still rails against his old man. he doesn’t see that his emotional fervor is the same, he just replaced the Assemblies of God church with science and a frequently angry agnosticism.

  2. Walter says:

    I enjoyed reading your story. Please join our minister’s kid community at!


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