There are many places today that parents can find “expert” advice on how to raise children. Parents have the option of turning to professional books, magazines, doctors, online research or asking their own parents for parenting tips. However, where can you find the BEST advice for parents to raise happy children that has a 100% success rate? I’m sure you’ve guessed it,😊 the bible.
Parents, Show Your Children Affection (Matthew 19:13-15)
Showing affection for children may not be as easy as it sounds for some parents. To be honest, not every child grows up in a loving, kind, positive and encouraging household. A close friend of mine told me that his mother showed him affection, but his father had a difficult time showing his emotions.
My friend grew up in a strict household. Parents telling their children “I love you” was something he only saw on tv. In fact, he told me that he thought to get hugs and kisses was something made up, for storybooks and fictional movies.
In some societies, it is normal for men not to show their emotions. Fathers are sometimes taught that they must be “tough” with their sons so that they can grow up to be strong men. What does the bible have to say on this popular viewpoint?
Jesus always showed empathy to his disciples. In fact, prior to resurrecting Lazarus, the scripture at John chapter 11 verse 35 says that,
Jesus wept. (New International Version)
Jesus knew he had the power to resurrect Lazarus and that he was going to do so. However, seeing Lazarus’ sister Mary weeping caused him pain. This is an excellent lesson for parents, including fathers. Our children may be going through something that is distressing to them. We should never dismiss their concerns and feelings. Instead, we should show compassion towards them.
Showing sympathy for them does not make you weak in your children’s eyes. Instead, it makes you strong. It also teaches them how to show empathy towards others as they grow up.
As parents, you can also learn from the way Jesus treated children while he was on earth. In Matthew chapter 19 verses 13-15 Jesus demonstrated exactly how he cherished children:
13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. 14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. (New International Version)
What points can we gather from Matthew 19:13-15?
- Jesus placed his hands on the little children: parents should never withhold healthy physical affection towards their children. When young ones learn the right ways to show affection, they can do the same for their children. This results in the continuation of the loving family cycle.
- Jesus prayed for the children: parents should not only pray for their children but with them. Asking for guidance and direction from the perfect and ultimate father, God, is the most powerful source of instruction and help.
- Jesus found time for the children: the disciples believed that Jesus was too busy and important to spend his time with the little children. Jesus corrected them by saying that the kingdom belongs to these.
The last point teaches us two things. First, that you must be humble like your children. Second, no matter how crazy your life gets as a parent, you must find the quality time and energy to spend with your children. You need to train them in what the bible says so that they can also grow up imitating Christ.
Parents, Help Your Children Reason on Bible Principles (Hebrews 5:13, 14)
As a parent, you may be unsure as to when you can begin teaching your child about the bible. Is there a specific age to begin doing this? Not at all. I remember my mom reading bible stories to me before I was old enough to understand the meaning of them.
I can distinctly recall my mother showing me illustrations of the Garden of Eden, Noah’s ark and the animals, Jonah, and the whale and other bible stories.
Do you need to read to them Isaiah’s prophecy at age three? Teach them about the book of Revelation at age five? Of course not. As the scriptures bring out, “solid food is for the mature” (Hebrews 5:14 New International Version)
Parents should use discernment when it comes to determining what their children can understand. We all begin with the “milk” of God’s word. These are basic bible principles that young ones can comprehend. Eventually, through deep bible study and research, we mature spiritually and can handle the “solid food” found in the bible.
Why is moving from milk to solid food important? Hebrews chapter 5 verse 13 notes:
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. (New International Version)
The same way a baby growing into an adult cannot do so on milk alone, we need to progress spiritually to benefit from bible teachings.
Once again, you can examine how Jesus reasoned with his disciples on bible principles. Then you can determine how you can practically follow his example in raising your children. For example, Jesus disciples had many questions. They wanted to know what they needed to do to be saved, how many times should they forgive someone that wronged them, when would certain prophecies be fulfilled, just to name a few.
Jesus did not give them the answer outright. He asked questions and allowed them to connect the dots to come up with the correct conclusion. He also used illustrations, examples, similes, and metaphors.
How can you imitate Jesus teaching style to help your children reason on bible principles? What if your child were to ask you: why are you always reading the bible? How would you respond? How about asking them if they would spend a lot of time reading a book that isn’t helpful. You can then use an illustration to help them reason on why they should also spend time reading the bible.
For example, you can ask them what they would do if they got lost. Would they continue to wander around completely clueless or ask for help? They could either ask for directions or look at a GPS. You can then compare the help they receive to examining the bible. The bible can guide us when you feel lost with life’s problems and show you how you and your family can be happy.
As your child grows older, you can train them on how they can look up scriptures and find bible answers to help them. Soon they will be able to reason on bible principles with their schoolmates and eventually their own family.
If you need help coming up with ways to implement bible training for your children, you can look at Brian Tracy’s Maximum Achievement Goal Planner below. Check it out to find out more info!
Parents, Be Balanced in Your Children’s Discipline (Colossians 3:21)
Each parent has their own method on how they should discipline their child. My mother’s motto has always been simple: don’t discipline your child when you are upset.
My mother believed that sometimes parents regret the harshness of their discipline when they are deeply emotional. She preferred to wait until she was calm before sitting us down, discussing what we did wrong and coming up with our punishment.
Whatever disciplinary action you take, make sure that it is aligned with how Jesus corrected his disciples. There were many occasions when his disciples had to be corrected. One example was mentioned earlier when his disciples tried to stop parents from letting the little children come to him to be blessed.
How did Jesus correct his disciples? Did he shout at them? Used harsh language? Strip them of their dignity? Make them cry? Discipline them physically? Not at all! He corrected their wrong thinking and actions with mildness and patience. How can you imitate Jesus in this area of child rearing?
Jesus had a balanced view of discipline and so should parents today. Children will mess up, they will make mistakes. That’s a fact of life. How you react to them will determine how they respond to you in the future. It will also determine how they will raise their own kids.
The last thing any parent wants is for their child to hide their mistakes from them for fear of how you will react. They should always feel comfortable coming to you when they are in trouble. As Colossians chapter 3 verse 21 instructs:
Fathers (or mothers), do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. (New International Version)
Discipline should be used properly, no matter the situation. Depending on the age of the child, the degree of the offense and the understanding of the wrongdoing, punishment is executed differently. In some cases, a loving but stern warning is given. Other transgressions require more than words.
You may decide to withhold something from them (phones, tablets and games are the popular choices), cut off their allowance, ground them, restrict their freedom in other areas, double up on chores or be creative. In every case, parents should explain to their children what they did wrong, why it was wrong and ways to not do it again.
Parents, You Can Successfully Imitate Jesus Qualities in Raising Your Children!
Parenting isn’t easy. We all need help to raise our children with the right values. There is nothing wrong with seeking help. It doesn’t mean that you’re not a good parent. In fact, it means that you are a good parent. Even Jesus turned to his father in prayer when he needed help and God provided help in different ways.
In another post, I share four ways that husbands can imitate Jesus qualities for a happy marriage. This will certainly contribute towards happy children as well. When children see that their parents are happy following bible principles, it will encourage them to follow scriptural gems as well. You can read more here: 4 Simple Ways Husbands Can Imitate Jesus Qualities for a Happy Marriage.
Remember that whatever parenting sources you use, include the bible as your top resource. It can help with any problem you and your child will face. If you imitate the three ways Jesus treated his disciples with your children: the way he showed them affection, showed them how to reason on bible principles and how he lovingly disciplined them, you will successfully raise happy children for a happy household!
Thank you for digging into these scriptural gems with me! Which bible principles do you use with your children? Please feel free to share in the comments below!