There are two keys involved with successful parenting. As a parent, you can be proactive in mothering (and fathering). The success is not determined by how your children turn out, but in how you raise them. With these two keys, your children will most likely turn out the way you desire them to be. If you implement just one key, your child will turn out the opposite. The secret is using BOTH these keys… RULES & RELATIONSHIP.
Proverbs 22:6, “Start children off on the way they should go, and when they are old they will not turn from it.”
1. RULES & DISCIPLINE
I’m a firm believer in discipline. Once your baby or toddler understands what is being said or explained to him/her, discipline should begin. The earlier you start on the child in the toddler years, the easier things will be as they get older. Allowing your 2 or 3 year old to get away with certain behavior, but you wanting it to change a few years later- GRACE TO YOU! Difficult times will bound to arrive. The child can get confused emotionally and be even more difficult to handle when they are older. Chaos can arise in the home with no discipline. Children need to know there are consequences in wrong behavior. They will not naturally learn on their own. They are born with a flesh just like you and I. They need to know that certain things are unacceptable. They need to know where “crossing the line” is.
One thing that should go hand-in-hand with disciplining is CONSISTENCY. If you put all this work into disciplining your children, but are not consistent with when and how you do it, it’s hard work that won’t produce much fruit.
Stick to your words. If you say you are going to take something away for a certain amount of time… STICK TO IT! If you don’t, your words have no credibility. Your child will think, “What’s the point in being obedient if mom never does what she says she will do.” Don’t use the words, “never, EVER will you do this if you don’t obey.” Don’t threaten to not go somewhere (somewhere fun for the child) if in reality you won’t not go there. Stick to your words.
Stay calm. Don’t react out of anger (this is one that I slip a lot in). I realized for myself, that if I handle the situation right away, before letting the situation rise up, I can discipline with control. However, if I allow the situation to rise up and get more intense, then my emotions also rise up and I react in a lack of controlling my words and actions. My children respond to me in a respectful way if I’ve treated them in a respectful way. Me raising my voice leads to my children raising their voices. A constant reminder of myself to… stay calm.
Stay consistent, be strict, and keep your cool while disciplining. This will give you incredible power as a parent. The Bible says discipline will bring peace in the home:
Proverbs 29:17, “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.”
We cannot focus only on the discipline in parenting. If we did, our children would grow up to be rebellious. There are two KEYS in parenting, the second…
Your relationship with your child needs to exceed the amount of discipline. If you spend a lot of time disciplining your child, you better be spending an extra amount of quality time with your child in what they love to do. If you are super strict and have no relationship, this is where rebellion can rise up.
Pursue your children. Take the time to do with them what they most enjoy. Hold your child. Read to him/her. Don’t just send your children outside, go out with them and play ball with them. Ride bike with them. Take them to an ice cream shop. The five love languages are: Quality Time, Serving, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, and Gifts. Figure out what each of your children’s top love languages are and pursue them in that. Pursue your child.
The more time and energy you invest into your children, through discipline and building your relationship with them, the more they will feel loved and valued. Discipline puts boundaries on children which leads them to feel protected and loved in the home/family. With no boundaries they can feel fearful, scared or lost. Spend time with them and don’t just tell them what they can or cannot do all day long.
With these two keys in parenting, you should have responsible and respectful children- not perfect ones, but ones who respect you as a parent. And ones who feel love and protected IN AND OUT OF THE HOME.
What other keys would you say are very important in raising children?
Here is a great article from Parenting with Humility, on Biblical Discipline.