Who really knows what goes on behind closed doors? There are families that create an ‘inside the home persona’ and another for outside of the home. Children are told that what happens inside the home stays there (a sort of Vegas home model). Fake news is the new social media headache and one that can be very harmful because its premise is lies. So it might be similar when children are told that once they leave the house they are to smile and never let on what is happening at home.

Now, the fear of being exposed and admitting we have problems keeps us from receiving the help we may need. Hopefully, you have a marital relationship and children that are a credit to you. Maybe your family could be used as an example for others to learn from. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Some of us are gifted in being able to hide our true feelings and our failures. Some of us are great mask wearers. None of us want the humiliation that goes along with being found out.

The strange thing is that sometimes those that do hide what’s really going on come across as really nice people, and they may be most of the time. You may get some insight into the problems being faced in someone’s home and you hear people say, “Oh, no. That can’t be right. They are such nice people!”

Then there are the nice people who make their children the center of their universe and the child can do nothing wrong. The kids may get into trouble and the parents try to bail them out without waiting to hear the findings. The children never get to face up to their responsibilities. Even in adulthood, if something goes wrong, the parents bail them out. This never allows the person to become a responsible citizen in the real world.

Effective discipline in the home is essential. I know numerous nice people whose kids run wild because the parents fail to understand that boundaries, discipline and consistency is essential if their children are to turn out to be the amazing people they can be. Sometimes I’ve had to ask the question, “Who’s in charge, you or the kids?”

We are so blessed at Percy Priest with the fact that we have very few discipline problems to deal with because most of you are doing an amazing job and your children are a credit to you. I am aware, too, that some of you are struggling with different issues. Life happens. Relationships are under stress and our society is under change.

We understand that raising kids and maintaining a healthy spousal relationship is not always easy. Mary Twitchel and I are available to talk with you confidentially should you wish to discuss anything you are going through that affects your child. There are also numerous professional counselling organizations in our community that can help.

My wife and I also have a parenting organization called Forefront Families. We have a website with hundreds of pages of free help for parents. You might want to browse through that and find articles when you want answers to many of the things you will face while raising your children. The web address is: www.forefrontfamilies.org

Written by Brian Burgess, School Counselor, PPE, Nashville, TN (These are just my opinions and not those of PPE)