Be the example you want your children to follow
Although not a promise there is a strong possibility children, because they are very malleable and impressionable, will continue in the Christian way if they have been consistently taught from childhood (Prov 22:6; 2 Tim 3:14,15). Self-worth and confidence are either built up or destroyed by the attitudes, words and actions of the authority figures in their lives. It is also important to teach them life skills as they develop so they will become citizens who can contribute to society and in turn pass on a Godly legacy. Humbly pray, “Teach us [Lord] how to bring up this child” (Jdg 13:8).
It is the parent's responsibility to provide for the physical and emotional needs of their children besides guiding and consoling them through trials (2 Cor 12:14). For children to grow up to be mature responsible citizens, they should not continually be rescued, they must learn there are consequences to not listening to advice and over-stepping boundaries, nor should they be controlled for that leads to rebellion. Walk with your children through the events of life.
Children obviously will have different tastes and interest to what the parents have – don’t let it be a cause of conflict but rather an opportunity for each to learn, appreciate each other’s viewpoints and maybe even participate in what the other generation finds enjoyable, thus breaking down any barriers. Each child has a different personality, needing individual tailor-made guidance, training and encouragement to develop its unique gifting and interests. Spend time having fun with your offspring, being involved in their lives, continually developing a growing relationship and keep the communication lines open so you can speak into their lives to provide support and encouragement by being a friend as they become adults too.
Deposit a Godly foundation in your children’s lives
growth in desirable ways – when administered in love and not in anger to vent frustration (Prov 13:24, 16:32, 22:15, 29:15-17; Eph 6:4). There must be clear instruction given why the discipline is warranted and what Biblical principle has been violated. In countries where physical discipline is against the law correction must still be applied through other means, such as extra chores around the home. Learnt behaviour patterns are the result not only of unpleasant consequences for wrong but reinforced encouragement for what is right. Boundaries need to be established which provide security and guidelines for the harmonious functioning of the family unit with both parents united in their approach and views on numerous issues otherwise the children will play one parent off against the other, creating friction and frustration. Be fair and show no favouritism to your children. Own up to them when you have made a mistake, they will respect you for being honest, humble and human.
Becoming a parent is the easy part, living like one is hard
because of the breakdown in the family unit, for to a large degree it is in the home environment we are both prepared and trained so we can carry this positive influence into the wider community or adopt the dysfunctional habits that can have a profound negative effect unless seriously addressed.
Respecting our parents brings a blessing as we love them for who they are, not necessarily for what they do or how they have treated us – forgiveness may need to extended to them (Ex 20:12; Deut 5:16; Mal 4:5,6; Col 3:20). Throughout life, there should be a continuing bond between parents and children regardless of age, while increasingly in later life the parents may need practical help. While our love for God is paramount, we are not to overlook our responsibilities – the grace of God must be first outworked in home life, before any ministry or service to others (Mt 15:3-7).
As sinful traits can be passed down to succeeding generations what an incentive to walk uprightly so no bad habits with their consequences are passed on through our family line (Ex 20:4,5, 34:7; Deut 5:9,10). Through renouncing the sin of our ancestors and honouring our parents we can break generational curses (Gal 3:13,14).
See also: ancestors, boundaries, children, discipline, example, family, favouritism, genealogy, god parents, grandchildren/grandparents, guidance (divine), instruction, relationships, single parenting, training.