Insights Into Rearing Children Biblically
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
The biblical "family" is becoming an endangered species. Selfishness is the primary reason that children end up in foster care. A recent study discovered that the primary reason most children end up in foster care is not divorce, death, or lack of finances; but, simple disinterest on the part of the parents. They simply do not care about the welfare of the child!
Christians, be reminded Ė "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate." Psalms 127:3-5
Believers must NOT follow the world in the rearing of their children.
Letís look at several Insights Into Rearing
Turn in you Bible to Ephesians 6:4 "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
While this verse is addressed to fathers, it is good advice to mothers as well. The idea is literally donít exasperate your children. A wise father and mother will not by carnality or immaturity provoke his children through unjust, unkind, or foolish use of parental authority.
That brings us to the question that naturally follows Ė How do parents provoke children to wrath?
Children should never be made to feel that they are "unloved," or "unwanted." As I read to you at the beginning, children are a gift from God. They should sense and hear that the parents are happy and thankful to have them there. Further, a parent should not vent their frustration by calling the child names "stupid, idiot, " or anything else derogatory! Children who sense that they are unloved or unwanted are headed for trouble. (Titus 2:4).
There is nothing wrong with having realistic expectations for your child for his or her age. You should teach your child obey you to do his/her best. However, remember that children mature at different rates; they have different mental abilities and different gifts and talents. Not every child has the ability to be an "A" student. Not every child can be a concert pianist or a star athlete. You must be cautious that you do not constantly apply pressure on your children, expecting more than they are able to accomplish. And, parents please remember that you should not try to relive your childhood through your children.
Sometimes it is a hard to decide whether you are giving a child too much responsibility or being overprotective. If you overprotect your child that often leads to the child being fearful and unable to make decisions. Allow your children to make decisions equal to their age and maturity.
While it is impossible to make everything "fair" and "equal" in the context of a family, parents must not play favorites in the family as Isaac and Rebecca did with Jacob and Esau. That builds up resentment in children. (Genesis 25:28)
Itís OK for children to act as children. Problem is that too often, parents expect their child to be more mature then they are. A parent should not give the responsibilities of a 21 year old to a child who is 9 years old.
We should not love our children only when they are good, and withdraw our love when they are bad. Children should know they are loved unconditionally all the time! But how do you accomplish that? When you children are bad, assure them that you love them, but you dislike their sinful behavior. That is our Lordís pattern. Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Children should not be punched, kicked or beaten up. That is physical abuse. Yet I do believe in spanking. But remember, donít use a cannon to kill a mosquito! Further, as we mentioned earlier, there is no place for berating, cussing out, belittling or verbally abusing a child. (Proverbs 29:15)
All of these things provoke children to wrath.
Letís move on to the next pointÖ
Ephesians 6:4 "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
Families are in trouble today because with both parents working there is little time to educate, train and pass on values to their children. According to a recent study, A typical working parents spend just 19 minutes a day looking after their children. The startling research shows the devastating impact that working full-time has on children who hardly see mom or dad.
With less than 20 minutes spent with their parents every day, this is only enough time to eat a quick breakfast together or have a couple of bed-time stories.
Another study broke it down further, focusing specifically on the dad. It found that on the average a father only spent 7 Ĺ minutes a week focused specifically on their children. It takes more time than that to "nurture" a child.
The word "nurture" has the idea of
"the whole education of the child." It refers to the
daily practice of verbal instruction in the ways of life and
the ways of the Lord. Parents are to see to it that their children
learn all that they need while they are under our care. Then, when
they leave the nest and enter the world, they will be prepared for
the things they will face.
The word "admonition" means "counsel,
encouragement, and discipline." The word refers to the
act of guiding children toward maturity. There are times when we
must give them direction (Proverbs 4:20-27) in life.
There are times when we must give them encouragement
(Proverbs 1:10). And, there are times when we must give them
discipline (Proverbs 22:15). All of these things are done by
the wise parents, in the right measure, to help their children
become the men and women God designed them to be!
This nurture and admonition
we have looked at is to be "of the Lord." We are to
set the childís "moral compass" with the Word of God, not to pump
them full of our opinions, preferences and prejudices. When we train
them in the things of the Lord and help them to see their need of
receiving Jesus Christ as their Savior. I can tell you from
experience rearing children is a BIG task! But, that is what parents
are called to do.