Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him. Proverbs 22: 15
God placed certain people in leadership roles over children and named them parents. God has ordained parents to be the leaders in the home.
Children need both a mother and father. Unfortunately, fathers are often physically or emotionally absent. It is estimated that 40 percent of American children are being raised in homes where no father is present. These children have more physical, emotional, and behavioral problems than children whose father is present, and it is more likely that they will be incarcerated.
Raising children is a high calling that God has given to parents. We must not take this position lightly.
We must recognize that as a parent, we have been given authority over our children. In other words, we have been handpicked by God Himself to assume the leadership role in the raising of our children.
Dr. James Dobson says that our role as a parent is to work ourselves out of a job. While we never really stop being a parent, our role changes as our children grow and mature. Ultimately our role becomes less and less active and we serve more as an advisor or friend to our adult children.
Just as bread needs yeast to rise, children need certain ingredients to reach the potential that God has placed in them. Three of these ingredients are love, discipline, and guidance. While the ingredients will be required at all stages of parenting, the actual amount of each required at various stages in the parenting process will depend on the age and maturity level of the child.
Children need hugs, physical contact, words of encouragement and affirmation, and quality time—all of these communicate love. Love also helps break down barriers and walls that we can’t see with our eyes.
Keep in mind that adolescent children are very aware of appearances and may not want to be hugged in front of peers.
Sometimes, especially in adolescence, our children can feel like our enemies, but in reality they are simply learning how to think and act on their own. A certain amount of rebellion is normal.
As a parent, you are to love your children even when it is undeserved. That doesn’t mean you accept everything they do. Love and acceptance are not synonymous. It does mean that you remind them that you love them even when you disagree with or are heartbroken by their actions.
The Bible cautions fathers not to discourage their children (Col. 3: 21), but it also says that those who love their children are careful to discipline them (Prov. 13: 24). Discipline, unlike punishment, always envisions a better future for the child.
Balance is the key. As a parent, you must discipline and train your children, but you should not discipline as though you are running a boot camp.
Too many parents try to reason with their youngsters instead of simply delivering on the consequences that were threatened. If you say the child must go to his room if he “does that one more time,” and he does it again, you must follow through with exactly what you said.
Consistency is king. The actual consequence is less important than the consistency of having consequences when children misbehave.
There are three rules that may help to serve as guides in disciplining your children.
–The KFC Rule: KFC stands for kind, firm, and consistent.
–Granny’s Rule: This simply means that, first, the child does what the parent wants and then the child gets to do what he or she wants. For instance, the parent might say, “If you want to go swimming, then first you must do these chores.”
–The Millennial Rule: This simply means that if you allow your child to get away with something, it may take a thousand times of correction to retrain him.
As a parent, it is in your job description to teach your children about life, guiding them in all areas, especially in God’s Word (Deut. 6: 4–9).
Guiding your children may also mean allowing them to make mistakes. When a mistake is made and the principal or police officer calls to inform you of the situation, understand that as the parent you are about to walk through a crisis with your child. Be prepared to be disappointed with some of your child’s choices and behaviors. Do not make the mistake of too readily helping your child get out of difficulties he or she is experiencing because of his or her choices and behaviors. More growth takes place through a crisis than at any other time.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127: 3
For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord. So they worshiped the Lord there. 1 Samuel 1: 27–28
Parenting is demanding and rewarding. Many people prepare and study for years to enter a chosen profession, but for parenting we usually receive on-the-job training. The goal of parenting is to let the children go eventually; to work yourself out of a job; to raise your children to be independent.
You’re not alone. Seek the Lord’s wisdom and counsel in parenting your children. He is there and ready to assist you.