I have been thinking a lot lately about the topic of child rearing. I am raising little ones for the second time around. My oldest children being grown and in some cases have families of their own now. In my mid-40’s I was surprised and blessed with 2 more children. They will be ages 5 and 7 this spring.
I am finding that raising little ones at my current age is very different than with my older children. Yes, there are some similarities, but I find that I have much more patience. I am also more set in my own life. I have a firmer foundation to build upon than I did in my 20’s. One issue that has changed is that my husband and I are taking a Biblical approach to raising our 2 young ones.
Have you noticed that in general, parents are raising their children in a politically correct fashion? Many are more concerned with their child’s ego than with teaching them right from wrong. They are more concerned with making everything fair than teaching their children that sometimes, life can be seemingly unfair. They are afraid to discipline their children, worried that their child will hate them for it. They also have worry about what others might think if, heaven forbid, that actually punish their child for a wrong doing. What do these same parents think will happen if their child gets into trouble away from home? If they damage someone’s property, do they expect the property owner to be as soft in response as they are?
In raising children Biblically, you are not teaching them through discipline, as many would think. Instead, you are training them to behave properly. Just as you would teach a child not to touch a hot stove, you can train them to obey.
Many parents mistakenly think that they are training their child to do good if they are disciplining them when they do wrong. While you ARE teaching that there is a consequence to that behavior, you are not training them into doing good behavior. Training means working with your child. Even practicing situations that they have difficulty with. From the beginning, you establish boundaries and enforce them. For example, if your child is old enough to take a book off of their bookshelf, they are old enough to put it back properly. You show them how the first time or two. Then, you supervise them after. If they do not put a book away properly, you have them fix it.
Some modern thinking parents may wonder why you would want to fuss over something so minor. Okay, at what point in the bookshelf becoming messy do you find it appropriate to have the child clean it? If you wait too long, they end up having to remove all books to replace them neatly. On the other hand, if you address it right away with that first book that is not properly shelved, they only have to fix one book.
The training has to take place in all areas of the child’s life. Teaching them to do chores without grumbling or fuss, keeping their rooms neat, giving proper attention to their studies, and learning to obey without feeling the need to negotiate are all important lessons.
One that usually has people squirming is the idea of teaching children to obey without question. They mistakenly believe that you are expecting blind obedience. Well, in a sense we may be doing just that. Too many kids seem to feel that all boundaries, chores, or other responsibilities are up for negotiation. Sorry, to inform the uninformed, but you are a parent, not their best friend. They have peers to be friends with. What they need most from their parents is the instruction and guidance to help them to become the best person that they can be. If you are not teaching values to your child, then who is?
One thing that I have noticed is that the families who truly train their children instead of only disciplining them, end up having a much easier time raising their children. They also have much happier family life. Unfortunately, most parents seem to take the easier route and let society raise their kids for them.