I believe it's in every well meaning parent to desire the best for their children, and one of the ways we assure that they only receive the best is to train them up in the best way that we can. But so many parents make the mistake of turning child training into a bootcamp. Many times I can be guilty of this.
Rules and boundaries are important, but so many times we focus on it too much thinking that it's what's most important when raising kids. It's not. There are so many other things that matter more than maintaining a list full of laws to keep. So if training up kids is not all about rules and regulations then what else is it about?
It has more to do with what God tells them to do
Many times, we train and discipline children with the goal of making them like us. Training up children has very little to do with teaching them to be like us and has more to do with teaching them to be like Christ. For that to happen, we must teach God's ways and God's laws with very little room to add and subtract to it.
Speaking on God's ways and laws, Deuteronomy 11:19 says, "You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." When we teach our kids God's laws and not just ours, we are one step closer to better parenting.
It has more to do with what they see you do
Sure you can tell your kids to not eat too much junk food and to not drink soda, but if all they see you eat is junk food and all they see you drink is soda, you can be sure that your kids won't respond well to your rules and regulations. More than just giving rules, we must live by them as well.
So many households are in shambles because they are led by parents who cannot live out the same expectations they ask for in their kids. Ephesians 5:1-2 says, "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
It has more to do with how you do it
Sure you discipline your children, that's good. But what is in your heart as you discipline them? Are you led by anger, frustration and a refusal to be embarrassed? Or are you led by a heart that overflows with love for your children such that you discipline and correct them with love and gentleness?
Talking about correction, Galatians 6:1 says,"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted." The same principle can be applied to how we raise our kids. When we raise them with love, gentleness and affirmation, we will watch them be trained up in the way they should go.