Children In The Fishbowl

The pressure our children feel by always being watched and judged for everything they say or do is excruciatingly painful to them. We as their parents need to protect our children more from our congregations expectations..and make sure we ourselves do not fall prey to our congregations idealistic views of how our children should behave.

I know for myself my two older children (now grown adults) felt highly pressured by my husband and I to always be "on"...you know...always smiling, cheerful, attentive, listening to anyone and everyone's criticism about anything and everything they said, did or wore.

Back then we played into our congregations expectations because were young in the ministry and so wanting to 'do it right'. ugh! NO ONE is perfect, not our children, not us as pastors and certainly NOT our congregations OR THEIR CHILDREN.

We are now nearly 30 years into this. We had a baby later in life and I vowed to not put him through the rigors or feeling he could never make a mistake.

While he still lives in the fishbowl..as we all do as leaders, we have taken control of said fishbowl! lol

In the 15 years of his life we have planted a church, worked as Associates in 2 churches, worked in the UK as missionaries and now Sr Pastor again. Every where we have gone I tell our congregation, and demon..errr..deacon board ;) "do not put my child on a pedestal or I will put yours there as well." We have also at the onset of taking a new position have told our congregations that we will not put up with congregation members trying to "teach" or "discipline" our child. They have been instructed that if they have a problem with our son's behaviour they should come to us directly.

Funny...its been really quiet with this child compared to his siblings! lol
LynnLee828 LynnLee828
46-50, F
4 Responses Nov 28, 2012

That happens in all churches that pastors kids always look on..
My son sings at church and he got picked on sometime, ...I guess it comes with wanna do something good.....

When my offspring was just a few months old, we attended a social function connected to a religious event. A sweet congregant who had been very helpful while I was pregnant decided that I had been much too selfish with my baby in not allowing the offspring to be passed around for all in the congregation to hold and oh and ah over. (It was a small congregation and so any birth was a big event.) She picked up the offspring while my back was turned and started taking the baby around to show off at the tables. In no time at all my little darling was wailing inconsolably and was brought right back. I would have loved sharing the offspring with so many aunts-and-uncles-by-proxy, but I needed to protect him first of all.

My congregants did not understand my parenting except that it seemed overprotective and hysterical. My offspring was on the autism spectrum right out of the womb, so the instinctive extreme attachment parenting was actually the perfect approach--but it caused friction. We left soon after to find an area with better resources for our child, which in the end was just as well.

Its crazy how they think they should be the KNOW ALL and END ALL to our lives sometimes.

We have pretty much trained our new church...or so I hope. As soon as I write this, something will come up! lol *knock on wood*

can you feel free on EP and not feel the pressure of the fish bowl,,,

Absolutely! EP is a great relief for those of us who live in the FishBowl..We can share our deepest secrets, and hurts with anonymity.

yes, i am very happy for you and it's a good thing to have a person online you can share them with , a open minded, non- judgemental person you feel comfortable with,and able to enjoy yourself with,,,and be set free from the fish bowl effect

Very true, we do get heavyly invloved in singing ministry and EP is a relief to just be myself.....and not being judged!

Children definitely feel the stress too. Fortunately mine are reasonably well behaved and no one in any church we've been in has done or said anything negative to them. We have actually been complimented by total strangers in restaurants and stores.

But you mess with my kids I'll go fifty shades of crazy on you,

My children have all been amazing kids as well and my two older ones now 29 and 27 both went to Bible College and serve in churches. We have never had to deal with "wayward preacher's kid syndrome" Thank you Jesus.

Thankfully they never rebelled. But..when my son went through a phase about 12 growing his hair long "expressing himself' he caught literal hell from people in the church and we did as well for letting him. It was ridiculous.

Little girls would be jealous of my daughter and make up stories about her and we always felt pressured for her to apologize for lies that were told about her to keep the peace. We never would call the liars for what they were...just keep peace. Im much smarter momma now!

About a year ago someone started telling my "baby" their opinion, chastising and correcting him on wearing his hat in church. I went to 2 people personally and told them our thoughts about it and asked them to leave him alone. They did not. So..it go addressed from the pulpit. Its quiet now. :)

I like that '5O shades of crazy"! haha Im going to use that one day!

Mine are 9 and 10. I pray they stay just as sweet and good as they are now. The teen years are coming though. Ugh.