Sometimes parenting can seem overwhelming.  A woman once shared her frustration with me.  She said, “I don’t know what I’m doing.  I just pray every day and beg God to help!”  Maybe you can relate.  The demands and duties of raising children can be tough.  Thankfully, Scripture teaches that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).   Through His Word and His Spirit, He has given us all that we need to do His will (see 2 Peter 1:3).  The realm of parenting is no exception.  In the Bible, we find eternal advice for everyday life.  Consider four things Scripture says all kids need from their parents.

Attention

Have you ever come across attention starved kids?  Some are clingy, others are awkward, and most are irritable.  The absence of parental affection affects children negatively.  Even in prosperous, seemingly well-to-do homes, the basic display of nurturing love is sometimes missing.  Scripture affirms that parents should comfort their children by giving them the attention and affection they need (see Isaiah 66:13).  If you want to raise healthy children, spend time with them.  Talk to them.  Play with them and listen to them.  They are designed by God to be relational beings, and their relationship with you is of foundational importance.

Instruction

No child is born innately equipped for the demands of life on planet earth.  They need specialized training and instruction.  Modern parenting movements seem slack on this concept.  I’ve known parents who prefer to let their children learn on their own.  They don’t want to be too authoritative.  Sure, we want to avoid overly repressive forms of parenting, but Scripture urges us to teach them the ins and outs of life (see Proverbs 22:6 and Ephesians 6:4).  If you are negligent in this area, draw up a plan.  Set goals for the spiritual, relational, technical, and practical things you would like your children to learn before they leave your house.

Discipline

Discipline of children is scoffed at by many.  Examples of harshness and abuse often fill the news.  Parents are sometimes afraid to exercise any form of correction.  Some seem concerned that a firm “no” might damage their child’s ego.  We should avoid inordinate and illegal forms of supposed discipline, but we shouldn’t neglect our God given duty to correct our children concerning right and wrong (see Hebrews 12:7-11).  Black and white boundaries actually help build confidence and self-worth in children.  Much confusion and frustration arise in the hearts of children when they aren’t given a moral and spiritual compass.  In the future, such kids will struggle in life, as they seem uncertain and unconcerned about basic moral standards and social mores. 

Example

Lastly, children need an example.  The Lord has designed mom and dad to emulate the way children should think, act, and relate to others.  Most of us learn things visually, not just conceptually.  Kids are the same.  They need parents to show them what to do, not just tell them what to do.  Parenting is ultimately a leadership relationship, and good leaders know that they must actualize what they desire their followers to appropriate.

Dr. Patrick Latham 
Pastor

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