A vital part of parenting is making certain that we do not discourage or frustrate our children.
Family Counseling Ministries -
Well-trained children seek to do the right thing in an
effort to obey and please the Lord, even when they are away from their parents.
In the 7th article of a 20-part series, Dr. Dunlap urges parents to
see to it that they do not exasperate and confuse their children, according to
Ephesians 6:4. He warns parents to be careful not to attempt to teach their children
biblical principles that they are unwilling to live by themselves.
Many Christian parents are gravely misinformed on the
topic of biblical parenting. They have embraced worldly child discipline
philosophies that outwardly appear to be more humane and enlightened than Gods
plan. In truth, however, these philosophies are dangerous and deceptive.
Perhaps the most prevalent deception is that parents have no
rights or obligation to instilltheir
values and beliefs in their childrens lives.
There are many dangerously deceptive child-rearing
philosophies that masquerade as enlightened and humane.
According to this mindset, parents should abdicate their
God-given responsibility for the moral and spiritual training of their children
to other people, for example public educators, Sunday School teachers and Scout
leaders. Our family witnessed an illustration of this ineffective child-rearing
approach several years ago when a Christian family was visiting us for the
At one point in the visit, my wife put out a tray of cookies
and fruit for the children (they had four children and we had three at the
time.) Their children had each eaten about 15 cookies when my horrified wife
asked their mother if she was afraid the children (ages 5-9 years) would get
sick from eating so much sugar (which, in fact, they all did later that day.)
To my wifes amazement, the woman answered, That is not
my responsibility. The children must learn to make their own decisions, and it
is their choice to stop eating the cookies, or get ill. All four children, of
course, refused to eat the dinner my wife prepared a couple of hours later.
The children ate so many cookies that my wife feared they
would be ill.
As my wife further questioned the woman and challenged her
thinking with biblical truth, the woman stubbornly held out. We dont even
instruct our children to act courteously and mind their manners, because we
dont want to prompt them to behave superficially, she contended. The adults
they relate to shouldnt think that our children have been programmed like
little robots. Then they would think that our children are insincere.
Well-trained children do not misbehave the minute they are out
of their parents sight.
The truth, however, is that God has a specific plan for
how parents should train their children. It is interesting to consider the
command found in Proverbs 22:6,
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when his is
old he will not depart from it.
Parents cannot claim the promise of this verse without
fulfilling the command. Children who are well trained seek to do the right
thing, even when they are away from the immediate influence of their parents.
They are aware that they should strive to obey and please the Lord, and they
are learning to reverently fear God more than they fear being punished for
A vital part of training up children is making certain
that we, as parents, do not needlessly frustrate and confuse them. The writer
of Ephesians 6:4 warns,
Fathers do not provoke your children to anger; but bring
them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
God commands parents to consistently teach their children
the principles of His Word. Further, they must see to it that their children do
not grow angry and bitter as a result of neglect or abuse.