Parenting is the process of raising and educating a child from birth, or before, until adulthood. The goal of parenting is often debated, however, concensus centers upon parental figures providing for a child's physical needs, protecting them from harm, and imparting to them an understanding of social skills and cultural values. Most importantly, to reflect Jesus in the life of their child. This process continues until a child reaches legal adulthood.
This is characterized by a child-centered approach that holds high expectations of maturity, compliance to parental rules and directions, while allowing for an open dialogue about those rules and behaviors between the parent and child. Authoritative parents encourage the child to be independent, and although demanding, tend to be warm and responsive. Authoritative parents are not usually overly controlling, and tend to allow their child to explore more freely, thus having them make their own decisions based upon their own reasoning. However, authoritative parents set defined limits and demand maturity, but when punishing a child, the parent will always explain his or her reason for their punishment. Their punishments are measured and consistent in discipline, not harsh or arbitrary. Consistency is key. Parents who are consistent will set clear standards for their children, monitor the limits that they set, but yet also allow their children to develop autonomy. They will be attentive to their children's needs and concerns, and will typically forgive instead of punishing if a child falls short. In other words, a child becomes aware of what behavior is acceptable and what is not acceptable. They also understand/perceive the rewards or consequences of their behavior.
The time we spend with our children is very important. We realize that they need quantities of quality time with us, even if what we're doing is as simple as talking, reading, or playing board games. It's these simple day-to-day activities that "fill up their tanks" with love and make them feel special and important to us. When we do these things, they are more calm and at ease with themselves and their surroundings.
"We have a choice: Either we teach our children good values or we abandon their future to chance" ~Jerald Aust
Consistency. You've heard it a thousand times, but consistency truly is the key to successfully teaching and molding your children. As children grow up and become more mature and 'worldly-wise,' being consistent in what is acceptable and unacceptable becomes even more important. During the early elementary years, parents can find themselves falling into the trap of 'multiple warnings.'
During these years, children begin to respond to a wider variety of consequences for their actions. Losing privileges means a lot to children this age. Usually, by five or six years old, a child is showing a preference for certain activities. Maybe your child prefers reading above all else (mine does, believe it or not!) or perhaps he prefers sports, video games, playing outside, riding his bike. You know your child. What does he like best? For serious disobedience, losing a favorite activity for a few days or even a week can be a memorable consequence at this age.
The key to successful parenting is building a strong relationship-not corporal punishment. Spanking your children should be a small part of your parenting. If your main parenting tool is spanking or other forms of punishment, you will fail! The following are some simple tips for you to consider:
- Be a part of your child's life.
Do things with him/her
- Focus on the positive and build your child up.
'Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.' (Ephesian 4:29)
- Listen to your child.
'He who answers before listening - that is his folly and his shame' (Proverbs 18:13
'My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry' (James 1:19).
- Speak with love and respect.
'The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked' (Proverbs 10:11)
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.' (Proverbs 10:20).
'A Word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver' (Proverbs 25:11)
- Do not spank in anger.
'Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently' (Galations 6:1) Spanking is not for all problems. It is usually best only to spank for willful disobedience. It is also advisable not to spank infants or children over ten years of age.
Above all else, keep the following in mind when disciplining your child:
- Discipline in love (Galatians 6:1).
- Usually use short-term punishment. Study "Successful Christian Parenting" and read Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21.
- Teach, do not simply punish.
An understanding of the Bible and of salvation, are of great importance when raising a child. Proverbs 22:6 says, 'train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they shall not depart from it.' In other words, whatever a child is instructed in when they are small, will stay with them for the rest of their lives. One question to ask presently would be: 'what are you instructing/training your child in?'
A child's mind is very impressionable and during their younger years (especially) they will intake a great deal of knowledge from the people and things that are displayed around them. Nothing leaves as great an impression on a child's life as parental example does. Love, kindness, long-suffering, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control are all fruits of the spirit of God and are all positive examples of actions that a child should learn from. The opposite actions and emotions: hatred, destructiveness, abuse of any kind, short temper and foul mouths are just some examples of the opposite characteristics of Jesus. What example are you giving your children? What are you instructing/training your child in?
A second question may therefore be: 'Do you teach your child about God's word and the active life of salvation?' This is not an airy-fairy gospel message void of power; this is a Gospel message that is lived out daily through thought and deed, allowing the power of God a place to dwell. This is not a legalistic Gospel message void of fun and laughter. The Gospel must be demonstrated to children in a way that allows them to see the awesomeness of God and the freedom they have in Him; freedom within the bounds of healthy parenting and loving discipline.
The following are some ideas to instruct/teach your child in the ways of Jesus:
- If you are able, read a chapter a night to your child from a Children's Bible.
Food and Nutrition
- Make sure that your child is regularly attending a children's church that is a good balance of fun with his/her peers and instruction in the word.
- Pray with your child. Instruct them in the power of prayer, the authority of the name of Jesus and the power of the blood of Jesus.
- Always speak the truth. Your child will need to see the truth in action.
- Position your child socially so that they are able to help others. eg, serving food at a homeless shelter, cleaning a local community of trash, assisting a nearby school with any needs they may have, etc.
Society today is vastly centered around convenience and instant gratification. Ready meals are available at the tip of a hat, especially if you happen to live near a drive-thru restaurant, or a vending machine. But is such a diet especially good for you? More to the point, is such a diet nourishing for your child?
Studies have shown that good diet and nutrition have an effect on the way children behave, their thinking processes and their physical growth. For further health and nutrition ideas, please go to Kids Health
Focus on the Family
National Center for Biblical Parenting
Parenting Help and Advice