Parenting is a serious responsibility. Christian parents must learn to do it the way God wants it done, so that children will be raised up in the fear of the Lord.
In this article, we'll talk about how we should raise our kids.
We all have had imperfect parents who, in one way or another, affect how we see ourselves and how we treat others.
Many parents who came from dysfunctional families with irresponsible or absentee parents are likely to have difficulties raising their children. After all, they don't have good role models.
Thankfully, because of Christ's atonement we are given the opportunity to live with an ever-present and complete Father who will never treat us wrong. Because we are God's adopted children through Christ, we have a Father who can teach us how to be good and Godly parents to our own children.
Here are some things the Bible teaches us when it comes to raising our kids.
1) Realize that everything we teach our kids will stick until they grow old
Do we want our kids to be stubborn, irresponsible and selfish adults? I'm sure we don't. If we don't want them to grow up that way, we better teach them what is right and pleasing to God, even as kids. Proverbs 22:6 tells us,
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."
Everything we allow our kids to learn as children will grow to become lifelong attitudes, mindsets, and habits. We must be careful to teach them good morals and Godly virtues while they're young.
2) We must let them grow according to how God designed them
Proverbs 22:6 still applies in this point. The verse teaches us to "Train up a child in the way he should go." This is very important.
Oftentimes we raise children according to how we want them to be like when they grow up. In some cultures, parents even decide on what their kids are going to pursue as they grow -- whether it's to be a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, an engineer, and the like.
Kids are molded to follow what their elders want them to become, or what their parents hope for them to be.
This kind of approach might sound like the parents are very caring and thoughtful, but in essence they have made their children as their personal projects, youngsters who will fulfill their parents' dreams.
Sadly, this approach effectively shuts down God's plans for the kids.
Proverbs 22:6 tells us that we should train up our kids "in the way they should go." I believe this means in the ways and wisdom of God according to Scriptures. However, it may also mean raising them up in the way God had destined them to become.
We must seek God and try to discover our children's gifts and aptitudes. These may not be what we are expecting, but this is how God designed them. And we should encourage our children to pursue Christ, not our own dreams.
3) Raise them in the admonition of the Lord
Proverbs 22:15 tells us that we should discipline our kids when they need it:
"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him."
As we raise our kids in discipline, we are warned not to overdo it to the point of exasperating them, especially if we discipline or punish them without a right cause:
"And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4)
Rather, we must teach our kids to fear the Lord, like how the writer of the book of Proverbs tells his son to fear the Lord (see Proverbs 1:7, 28-33; 9:10; 10:27; 14:27; 15:33; 19:23).