Christianity · Culture · Family · Religion · Self and Society

The Family: Biblical Parenting and Godly Children

We began this discussion of the family dealing with the husband’s duty to his wife. We followed up talking about the wife’s duty to the husband. Now, I want to focus on the parents’ duty to their children.

There are several variations of homes represented throughout our culture, and many of us have or are trying to have children. Some of us work with children in church, at work, or among friends and family. Hopefully these principles can be applied in the nursery, Sunday school, or as the children are enjoying toys in a playroom.

THE BIBLE ENCOURAGES HAVING CHILDREN

Psalm 127:3 tells us that “children are an heritage of the Lord.” Heritage is an inheritance or legacy.

Psalm 127:5 says, “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.”

Matthew 19:14 reads, “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Luke 17:2 warns, “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”

It is clear that children are beloved by the Lord. Those who do not want or cannot have children should still realize the love and importance that God places on children and we all should work for the wellbeing of children in our presence. Whether you are a parent, a caregiver, a guardian, or a “fun aunt” or uncle, your role in socializing a child is fundamental to their development.

PROPER PARENTING

According to research, one of the primary factors of deviant behavior is the home. A home with a mother and father represents the highest protection against deviance, but a single parent can be successful – though it can be quite a struggle – and it is easier when applying biblical principles when parenting.

There is a strong inverse relationship between religious attendance and crime/deviance, especially when the husband/father attends. A family with strong religious conviction is the greatest deterrent.

Children need love AND discipline – Deviance occurs when at least one is missing. Love manifests as support, availability (emotional and physical), and sympathy/empathy. A child who is neglected, never learns how to properly navigate social interactions with others

Discipline is also a form of love. We will discuss this more later, but discipline should be a means to correct behavior, not abuse a child.

When there is NO CONTROL in the home, the child becomes uncontrollable outside the home.

Other influences that parents should always be aware of include peers, teachers, and entertainment/media. We must be cautious with whom we allow our children to associate. BE INVOLVED.

We must guard their sensual “gateways” – taste, hearing, smell, touch, and especially sight.

Be aware of what entertainment – movies/books/tv/video games/social media – that your children consume. Guard them from foul mouthed friends and family members. Discuss with them why they shouldn’t communicate with vulgar (evil) communication. Avoid the “appearances of evil” – what/what/where/with whom we watch, drink, eat, say, and do.

Those are the practical applications, but what does the Bible say?

Biblical Parenting

Proverbs 22:6 speaks of training up children. This is a job for parents, not school, tv, video games, babysitters, grandparents, or church members.

Never take your influence for granted. You are the first and primary influence on your child, beginning in the womb. Most lifetime habits are formed in adolescence. Sleep, diet, exercise, entertainment, reading, education, and church attendance are learned and performed when parents are monitoring behavior at an early age. The earlier and more consistent, the stronger the training takes hold – so begin and reinforce good habits as soon as possible

Keep in mind that each child is different. What works for one, might not work for the next. Keep your principles rooted in the Bible, but be prepared to adjust your training methods.

Ephesians 6:4 says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

“Provoke not your children to wrath” does not mean “don’t make your kids mad at you,” because that is impossible. It means don’t raise your children in a way that leads them to a path of destruction – often through abuse.

To “bring up in the NURTURE and ADMONITION of the Lord” requires discipline.

Proverbs 13:1a gives the importance of a father’s instruction. “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction.” A child who does not listen to their father is a fool. And, of course, if no father is present, the mother’s instruction should be heeded instead.

Proverbs 22:15 tells us that, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; But the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” The “rod of correction” is vital in childrearing. Discipline should be stern, immediate, and consistent. It’s okay to spank, but not abuse. This means the “rod” should not be used  across the face, chest, or sensitive areas/genitals. I like the quote, “apply the ‘board of education’ to the ‘seat of learning.’”

Also, the “rod” should be applied in love. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (Proverbs 13:24). Do NOT spank in anger.

Another important reminder is to make a spiritual application when disciplining a child. Explain why punishment is deserved. Some people say to ALWAYS spank if you said you would, but I would say to use your discernment and demonstrate grace – SO LONG AS YOU EXPLAIN GRACE.

As I said before, discipline is necessary for correction. Love is necessary for demonstrating God’s grace for us as His children. There is only so much we, as parents or guardians can do, but we should do all we can for our children. That being said, our children also have a duty to fulfill.

A CHILD’S DUTY TO HIS/HER PARENTS

This is what we should expect from godly children:

HONOR parents (Exodus 20:12). This means that godly children should treat parents (and most adults) with dignity and respect. During my time as a case manager at a public middle school, this attribute is sadly lacking in today’s youth.

LISTEN to parents (Proverbs 13:1). This does not need much explanation. Godly children open their ears and actually listen and pay attention to their parents.

OBEY parents (Ephesians 6:1). As the old song says, “trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.” Obedience requires trust. As a parent, your job is to be trustworthy. A godly child should obey because they trust that you have their best interests at heart.

If children are not meeting these expectations, we must correct their behavior through discipline and grace.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Now that we have gone over the relationships and duties in the home, next time I am hoping to put it all together and look at how we make a godly home.

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