Parenting tips is a monthly blog post to encourage those of you who are parents to think Biblically about parenting.
PARENTING TIP # 1 – “What is the Goal of Parenting?” According to Ephesians 6:4 the goal of all discipline and instruction is maturity. This is what the phrase “Bring them up” means. It is a continuous ongoing process which as parents we must be about. Maturity involves a right view of God and themselves bringing about self-control, wisdom, and responsibility.
PARENTING TIP #2 – Helping Your Child Towards Maturity
A strong self-will ruled by the craving for self-indulgence is the greatest mark of immaturity in children. Self-indulgence is the drive which demands the satisfaction of one’s wants and desires.
- a self indulgent person rarely says “no” to themselves.
- they do whatever they feel like, or are so used to having their way that they think they should have whatever they want.
- the satisfaction of their own will is foremost in their life — others are considered second, if at all.
- their desire for gratification rules them, affecting all their decisions and actions.
- Self-centeredness so rules the self-indulgent person that they live as if the world revolved around them — life is interpreted by how it affects them.
So a child who is self-indulged will expect to have their own way, be blatantly irritated when desires are thwarted, is seldom happy, complaining and whining the majority of the time, complains about the food set before them, expects life to be exciting all the time, demands entertainment, is often bored, shows impatience and demands parents immediate attention, thinks he has rights to personal decisions, is disrespectful of adults, unappreciative, seldom thankful, resents work or anything that requires self-discipline, is lazy, does the bare minimum requirements, and rolls their eyes when assigned a task.
We must teach our children that life is hard and they won’t get everything they want in life. This may mean depriving them of a simple pleasure even when it is available, or you can afford it.
PARENTING TIP #3 – Parental Oversight
Why must parents exercise their God given authority in the home?
- If there is no authority being exercised by the parent then there is no submission being required of the child.
- God holds parents responsible to have their children under control – Speaking of church leadership Paul says, “He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),” (1 Timothy 3:4–5)
- The optimum success of any training requires that the will of the trainee be subject to the trainer.
- One who is used to pushing and getting their own way has greater difficulty in submitting to authority.
- One who has learned to willingly submit to ones parents will find it more easy to submit to God.
- Consistently required obedience requires definable boundaries which in turn bring a sense of security and peace.
- Children who lack boundaries, who are allowed to get their own way by whining and pushing, who a quick to voice their own opinions about discipline, personal duties, and family decisions are actually being permitted to assume responsibility for running the home – a task committed to parents not children. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4).
- The stress from constantly pushing their weak willed parents and testing the inconsistent boundaries, causes a child to have a generally unhappy disposition.
- Failure by parents to require first time obedience is in fact the training of our children to a life style of disobedience.
Parents, let us not reward our children’s rebellion, and strengthen their wills to disobedience, by forsaking the responsibility today to parent by the God given authority we have. Yet let us do so in grace and love.
Parenting Tip #4 – A Child Run Home
A child run, or child centered home is one in which all the decisions are made or influenced by the children. Every time a parent attempts to exercise authority, but gives in to the resistance of the children they subtly send the message that the child has the ultimate authority and not the parent. As parents we often function out of their own insecurities and unconsciously allow their children to share in their authority. Often the parents need for love and approval gives the child the power to intimidate them.
Here is how to identify a child run home. You will find yourself saying things like:
- “My child just won’t put up with that….”
- “She refuses to…”
- “He just won’t eat…”
- “We just can’t go and do such and such …. he gets bored.”
- “We can’t go because she just doesn’t do well in those situations.”
- “We will have to find a new church because Junior just doesn’t get along with one of the boys in his class.”
- We need to change schools because little Jane doesn’t enjoy Mrs. So and So.”
- How can I get my children to …?
All these sayings and many more like them indicate that the parent has given up their authority and put their children in control of the home. This leads to the child having no respect. When a parent shares authority with a child and then attempts to take it back the child will despise this. To regain respect the parent must take back their God given authority completely – once and for all.
Parenting Tip #5 – Intimidated Parents (Based on “Child Training Tips” by Reb Bradley)
Instead of exercising their God given parental authority many parents find themselves intimidated by their children. There is a prevailing fear that governs many a parent who on top of their fear feel inadequate or overwhelmed by the process of bringing up their children in the discipline and instruction of God (Eph 6:4).
- look for their child’s approval
- dread making their children mad at them
- are subconsciously saying in their heart; “Please don’t hate me.”
- will often seek to gain their child’s approval and permission before administering chastisement, by a process of detailed explanation and apologizing for the disciplinary action
- conclude parental commands with the question, “OK?”
- do not chastise for rebellious behavior but instead try and defuse the anger with distractions or the offering of treats
- hastily lavish affection on the child, rubbing their little bottom immediately after a spanking
- says things like, “My child just won’t do such and such.”
- have shared their God given authority with their child.
If you find yourself exasperated from nagging your child to comply with your directions, or you have made yourself accountable to them (always feeling you have to give them a reason for what you are asking, and fearing they will become angry), or your child speaks to you with the same low level of respect he/she gives their peers (corrects you, rolls their eyes, calls you names, sneers or huffs at you, stamps their feet, tells you no, or leave me alone), then you can be sure you have given your child a measure of parental authority that they should not be given. Why because they are the child and you are the parent. They will not give an account for how your family turns out, but you will.
Parents don’t be intimidated by fear instead walk by faith and do what the Lord has called you to do, and that is bring up your children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord.”