This past week Judy & I got to watch two of our grandchildren (Ellie & Evan) while their parents went on a trip. We were reminded of the difficulty of rearing children. Don’t get me wrong – we LOVED it! But it is definitely work.
Being a parent has always been challenging, but today’s society makes it even more difficult to be a godly parent. I think being a Christian parent is the toughest job in the world.
I was fortunate to have wonderful parents. However, many today are trying to be moms and dads and have a very distorted understanding of what they are supposed to do because of what they see on TV, movies, and even growing up.
I have collected a few suggestions for being a godly parent. I hope they may help you or someone you know in the responsibility of being a godly parent of godly children.
1. The rules should be clearly defined at an early age.
Let children know what they can and cannot do as early as possible. Well defined expectations will help children live in a secure environment. One of the problems of school children today is lack of structure at home. This carries over into the classroom and in society in general.
2. Expect rigid adherence to the rules.
If the curfew is 11:00 pm, don’t allow your teen to be home at 11:01 pm. It is very confusing for children and teens to live in an environment where the rules are sometimes enforced and sometimes not. One hint: James Dobson of Focus on the Family suggests making fewer rules, but making these rules absolutely enforced.
3. Strict punishment should be given when the rules are broken.
The punishment should be worse than the reward is good. A child should always be taught that doing wrong is a bad deal and the punishment should always make the fun for doing the wrong not worth it. If a teen can stay out an hour late and get nothing but a scolding, he will decide that another hour with his girlfriend is worth twice the scolding. However, if being an hour late keeps him from going out with his girlfriend for a week, he will be on time from then on.
4. Keep the communication line open between parent and child.
It should always be understood that the child can talk to the parent. Questions about life should be directed to the parent. The child should feel that Mom and Dad are always interested in his/her problems and always willing to talk about them. I found that just before bed is a good time to listen. Children are wanting to stay up past bed time and are willing to talk to stay up a few minutes later and talk. In addition, the days events seem to come to our mind as we end our day. Just sit at the end of the bed of your child/teen and see what conversations come out.
Now that my children are out of the house, I am comforted to know that any of my children can come and talk to me about anything. They want to visit us and want us to visit them. It wasn’t always that way growing up. Being the parent is not as fun as being the friend. But if you will be the parent when the children are in the house, you will become their closest friend when they are out of the house. I should know – when I got married I asked my dad if he would be my best man. He was the one man I loved and trusted more than anyone.
What lesson have you learned about being a godly parent?
See other article: What does the Bible says about spanking?