What are the hardest test you remember taking? Raising my children has been the hardest for me. Decisions like knowing what to do when they’re feeling down or when to put them on a punishment as opposed to spanking them.
Through trail and error, I’ve discovered that one method of parenting didn’t work on all of my kids. For instance, I could raise my voice at my boys and that would motivate them to do what I was trying to get them to do, but trying that on my daughter would only make her coil up and withdraw.
So what are the best ways to raise a child? I found that the Bible has many instructions on this life long process.
THE PAIN AND THE HOPE
Having my first child at the age of 16 was very painful for me because it was hard for me to accept reality.
Caught between the opportunity to play college football or to stay home and raise my son caused me many headaches.
Confused, I went to my coach and my mother for advice, but they both told me that would be a decision I would have to make for myself.
I remember crying in my bedroom praying to God, asking “Why me?” At that time I did not go to church nor did I have a personal relationship with God, but I always believed that there were a God.
I understand now that God reads our hearts and He knew that my prayer was from the heart. I turned my life around because of my first child and it was all part of God’s plan for me.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groaning that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. (Romans 8:26,27)
LEARN TO BE A GOOD LISTENER
Being an active listener lets your child know you are there for them mentally and emotionally.
Children don’t always want advice or criticism when they get the courage to open up to their parents.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:7, there is a time for being quiet and a time to speak up and in James 1:19, it says be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. God will give you the wisdom to think and listen before you speak or act. Doing so will let your child know you are available when they’re ready to talk.
LEARN TO REMAIN CALM AND RELAXED
Remaining calm is just as important as active listening, because it teaches your child to have self-control. Some children is afraid of their parent’s possible reactions more than any thing else.
Remaining relaxed has not always been easy for me because I’ve always reacted by shouting or cussing and that never helped. As a matter of fact, it caused them to fear me and hesitate the next time. But by praying first, biting my tongue, and making a conscious effort to stay calm, I have learned it make all the difference in the world to a child who needs to share their feeling or thoughts.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Ephesians 4:31
LEARN TO BE CONSISTENCE
Children know their parents better than their parents may give them credit for. They are skillful in picking up on how long it’ll take before you give in to them.
For example, let them know that your “No” really means “No”, and not, “not now”. When you are consistence and true to your word, you will be less predictable, your child will respect what you say more, and they’ll be less likely to act out to get his or her way.
They will know your “Yes” means “Yes” and your “No means “No”
Just say a simple ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Your word is enough. To strengthen your promise with a vow shows that something is wrong. (Matthew 5:37)
TRAIN UP A CHILD
We know that God works through people, so it’s important for your children to see God in you.
You must act in ways that reflects your close relationship with God. What good is reading the Bible and going to church if you don’t practice what you learn?
No matter how bad your child has been or how hopeless his or her life may seem, God wants you to come to Him. Don’t forget the best way to show your faith is to live it. Our children may question what we say, but its hard for them to question what they see us do.
The most important part of being a parent is by training up our children to live a godly life, by our actions.
Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it. (Proverbs 22;6)
God is a better father or mother than any one of us. He has given us clear instructions on how to raise our children in the Bible. He knows what our children need more than we do. The power of Jesus is for everyone including our children. The Bible isn’t just spiritual, it’s practical.