The Vision of Faith
Sight is the function of the eyes. Vision is the function of the mind. What we don’t see with our eyes is eternal, while what we see with our eyes is temporal. Reality beyond physical sight is often difficult to imagine. Because we live in a ph...
Fri, 24-Nov-2017
Don't Forget To Warm Up!

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31

I have heard it said that one of the devil’s most effective tools, is to keep Christians so busy, that they lose focus on what is most important. I wonder how many reading this, are doing so in passing, ra...

09h30 - 19 Nov 2017
The Pre-Incarnate Christ
by Rev. Warren Watermeyer
Part 1
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Successful Parenting

By Sandy Woolard

Having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist. In order to be successful, we need to apply time, effort and total commitment to the task of child-rearing, remembering that the Bible tells us in James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him.”

The adventure of successful parenting is no longer a priority in society as many other pressing factors contribute to a failure in this regard. Parents have lost the plot but the big question is “Why?”

WHERE HAVE ALL THE VALUES GONE?

Life’s demands on parents have changed incredibly as values have changed. In most families, both parents work in order to pay the bond and put food on the table, and in order to have everything that opens and shuts. Material wealth (comfort) becomes a priority as people believe that if a child has “things”, they will be happy. This is one of the greatest pitfalls of society with regard to successful parenting.

ENERGY CRISIS

In order to provide such things as gadgets and games, name brand clothing and varied luxury pleasures, parents give their time and energy to the companies they work for (all in the name of doing what’s best for their children). They give every ounce of their day to secular employment, they save their best behaviour for office time, and they provide excellent service to anyone who needs them (including those they’ve never met before.) When they get home in the evening, they are sapped of all energy, grumpy, demanding, impatient, intolerant and often very unwise in how they discipline. There is inconsistency and exasperation due to exhaustion. An attempt at successful parenting is limited to a couple of hours perhaps on a Saturday morning, in between running errands and shopping for groceries for the week ahead. This scenario can be likened to owning an extremely precious jewel, only to spend nearly every moment of each day fussing about the box that the jewel was packaged in. We have to get back to the values of Scripture and sort out our priorities as parents.

PRIORITY AUDIT

The enemy of our souls is only too happy to keep us so busy that we cannot cement the lives of our children in the foundation of the Word of God. The Lord has clearly indicated that we have limited time to steer and train, nurture and instil values of eternal worth into our children. Many parents with good intentions will diligently pray each night for their children hoping that somehow their prayers will suffice without the necessary actions. Remember that prayers are vital and the Lord honours those who diligently seek His wisdom, but prayers should be supported by love in action and discipline and should not substitute these things.

SITUATIONAL SCENARIOS

What’s gone wrong? There are several major influential factors in our modern society that contribute to the downfall of discipline and balance in homes. Firstly, statistics reveal that one in every two couples are divorced, have been divorced or are in the process of getting divorced. This equates to huge life changes for both parents and children and the following situations may well arise:

1. It could mean single parenting that carries with it aspects of guilt that there isn’t a father figure or mother figure in the home. This results in compromise of rules and boundaries as a compensation which ultimately leads to more insecurity in a child’s life. Children not only need to know that you’re in control but they flourish and like to know that you are taking charge. What children say they want or don’t want is very different to what they may need or what is best for them.

2. Furthermore, there is a good possibility that a single parent has an element of sadness or self-pity about a certain situation and consciously or sub-consciously may use a form of manipulation to get their children to listen or respond to pleas for assistance. This is never healthy as children are still developing their emotions and should not be carrying any extra unnecessary burden worrying about their parent whilst they themselves are trying to cope. Being honest and communicating with them about the situation is good and necessary at times but never use the circumstances to play on their emotions because you may be tired after work and just don’t have the energy to follow through with instilling disciplinary measures.

3. Children should never become your only support system after a divorce, this being especially relevant when it comes to teenagers. What this really means is that you are off-loading and sharing way too much intimate information that adolescent minds cannot fully comprehend because they simply “are not there yet.” It saddens me to hear mothers in counselling telling me how close they are to their daughters having shared so much, and how their child has been a pillar of strength to them. You may think your child is wonderfully strong and oh so mature but on closer inspection you will discover a young person who has had to face way more than they should have, often resulting in depression that they cannot disclose because they are supposed to be “there for you.” They end up sacrificing important aspects of their childhood and natural developmental milestones. This is not good. No matter what you are facing, your children are “children” and you the adult. Parents should seek counselling from bible based professionals and allow their young ones to grow and develop without the burdens of life on their shoulders. These burdens are the result of wrong choices that the adults have made – it is not our children’s fault and should not be their burden to carry. As a parent you should be guiding, supporting, instilling values, sharing solutions and setting boundaries that will result in healthy, confident, secure, balanced and well-adjusted human beings.

4. Another scenario families find themselves in that can be daunting is where remarriage occurs. As a biological parent, it is totally normal and instinctive to be protective over your children, and there are all kinds of emotions involved with step-parent intervention. Often biological parents will be extremely defensive of discipline by a step-parent especially if it involves smacking or physical discipline. There are several ways to address this problem and I will document just a few:

a) Make sure that you discuss your methods of discipline and your expectations with your spouse in private, out of sight and hearing of the children. You need to speak with “one voice” and always be seen as a team. Any defaulting on this must again be taken back to the “board room” in private and sorted out there. Do not argue in front of the kids, as often the situation will become explosive and irrational. Biological parents should never, ever humiliate their partner by overriding their authority – this can be degrading and often leads to serious conflict in the marriage. The child then feels that they have a certain power to control and will play one parent against the other to get what they want. Understand each others expectations before applying the principles of discipline. That way the methods and standards are set beforehand and everyone has a fair chance at contributing positively to the well-being of the whole family system.

b) Step-parents need to fully understand the responsibility they take on when uniting with someone who has children from a previous relationship. They can expect to be seen by the kids as an intruder and “not to be trusted.” Developing bonding takes time, NOT money. Trying to buy the favour of your prospective new family will not strengthen the bonding process because kids have an incredible knack of seeing through this kind of superficial strategy. You will be judged and assessed mainly on how fairly you treat them and how consistent and stable you are in your disciplinary methods. They will grow to love and respect you as you treat them with love and respect. Disciplinary methods should be firm but fair and should never leave a child feeling degraded and demoralized. It takes years to build a strong, solid bridge of trust, and just one irrational outburst to destroy the work. Constant communication is vitally important and this needs to be on a regular basis. Parents should be easily accessible to talk to their kids, far more often than what they are.

c) It amazes me how people study for four years to get a degree before entering a career and yet expect “parenting” to come naturally. Well it doesn’t, but there are excellent resources available to families who should not be too busy to seek advice through literature and research and even make time for a casual chat with ministerial advisors and counsellors before they encounter problems. Your input into the children’s lives you have been called to protect and raise, whether your own or not, could mean the difference between heaven and hell for them. The Scriptures are clear that we are not to offend little children and that we should “train them” well so that they will not depart from the truth. How sadly and horribly wrong we’ve gone as we look at our present society and see the heartache and tragedy of child-rearing out of control.

PARENTAL ROLES IN THE STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT

0 – 7 years 7 – 14 years 14 – 21 years
You are a protector You are a provider You propel them to make the right choices
You are their commander You are their coach You are their counsellor
You are seen as a
figure-head You are seen as a
fuddy-duddy You become a friend to be trusted

CHILDREN – BURDEN OR BLESSING?

It is often the case to find that most undisciplined children are the result of undisciplined parents, who for whatever reason do not follow through with instructions given and they allow their children to override their authority at all times. Therefore the burden of such undisciplined children can largely be blamed on the mismanagement by parents. Words are never enough to make an impact and as parents we expect our children to listen to us when we speak and like little angels, quickly attend to what we are requesting they do. This has never and will never be the case. Human beings, whether younger or older learn through “consequence” not just spoken words. Therefore once the boundaries are set and the consequences experienced, you are more than likely going to have the attention and response you require from your children, and this is an ongoing learning phase. Yes, they will continually try to push the limits and you can’t afford to be manipulated or inconsistent. As hard as what it can be, if you don’t budge, they soon will stop pushing you.

It is extremely difficult for children to learn the values of life when they are not seeing these values being lived out in the home. Parents have no idea how influential their decisions and attitudes are – far more so than any lecture you give them could ever be! If you tell your child how much you hate lying and that you won’t tolerate it, don’t expect them to take that phone call from someone you don’t want to speak to and say “sorry, my parents are not here right now.” Your child will lose respect for you and will think that it’s O.K. to “bend the truth.” Your word is your honour in big things and little. Never forget that children learn through observation and the following quotes will help to illustrate this point:

“Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn’t have said.”

“Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners.”

The only true goodness that we can teach our children comes from knowing God’s goodness. If children are brought up in an unchristian home, the chances are that they will lose the plot completely along the way as they will be trying to survive without knowledge and wisdom from the true Source of life. Many parents try to steer their kids on the right path but if you don’t know the biblical principles of parenting you are at a huge disadvantage to begin with. There has to be a balance between unconditional love, tough love and always consistency in disciplining. One thing is certain, it is impossible for us to trust our kids with their own lives. We can only do what God leads us to do and trust Him. Obeying and trusting the Lord is the only way to enjoy the process of letting go and watching them grow, ultimately to go out on their own.

WHAT BOUNDARIES???

Why do we as parents have such difficulty taking a stand on important issues when our children say “but all my friends are allowed to” or “everyone in my class can listen to that music” or “it’s the latest fashion and everyone is wearing this!” Since when is the standard of morality or proper Christian values set by a class of teeny boppers or teenagers? It is common knowledge and history has proved this time and again that people are like sheep with the blind leading the blind. Secular society manufacturers and producers will deliver whatever sells best – they don’t care about your child’s mind or future, they just want sales. We need to teach our children to take their blindfolds off and set a new trend of doing what’s right, standing up for what is morally sound and protecting their minds from all the terrible evil found in movies, DVD’s, music and on play-station games. The following guidelines are essential if you hope to save your children from the horrendous effects on their minds, lives and eventual outlook:

1. Don’t be afraid to stop them from listening to music that is destructive and has lyrics that will condition them subtly (violence, promiscuity, bad language, immorality or demonic). They do not know how to draw the line, YOU do! So what (!) if they don’t talk to you for a week – protect them at all costs!

2. Listen to what they are listening to as often as possible. Get the names of the latest bands, artists and song titles and look them up on the internet. Read the lyrics and listen to parts of the music so that you are in the know. Do this regularly as there are at least three or four new hits every month. Ask them what movies they are watching and research the content and story line. It is NOT alright for our children to be watching sex scenes, disgusting language, extreme violence and filthy sexual innuendos. Your children are precious and need to be protected. Many parents say that their children have to grow up and therefore need to be exposed to these things in order to be better equipped. Well, this is a total contradiction of what the Lord tells us in His word. The Bible tells us over and over to protect our minds, think on things that are pure and wholesome, to take a stand for righteousness and flee from all wickedness, even telling us not to associate with those who are not interested in truth. Nowhere does the Word say that it’s O.K. to experience evil in order to know more about it. This is extremely dangerous and the consequence of this thinking by parents can be seen in the youth of today – they are desperately seeking purpose and meaning whilst heading towards destruction!
3. Do your utmost to offer alternatives and not just condemn their choices. Find things that you can do together, encourage them to read good books, watch good videos or DVD’s with strong morals or a good storyline. Plan ideas together that will show your children that you do care very much about them and although they can’t listen to certain music, you still want them to have a life and enjoy good times.

4. Many parents allow their children far too much time in front of the T.V. or playing play station games. Limit this to reasonable amounts of time and be very well informed of the content of what’s being watched or played. Too much adrenaline released into their little bodies is having an adverse affect on their concentration at school. This topic is vast and needs to be taken very seriously as not only can violence and spiritism affect their minds but biochemical changes may take place and should not be overlooked.

OUR BLESSED CHILDREN

The Lord has given you the most precious gift of life in your children. They are little souls who deserve the very best from you emotionally, physically and in their basic needs. They will be who you mould them to be. They will do as you say if you stick to your word and they will love you unconditionally even when you break your promises and let them down. They are very sensitive and don’t know yet how to handle certain conflict or emotional situations. Don’t expect them to know unless you tell them, teach them and train them. These things don’t come naturally, you the parent must make time to explain.

The following guidelines will help as you start setting ground rules, teaching your children how to “earn” their freedom:

1. Freedom of choice and responsibility will come in steps, not leaps.
2. Never take your “freedoms” for granted or you’ll lose them.
3. As a parent I have the right to find out if you are abusing the freedom you’ve been given.
4. To get more freedom, think before you act. Prove that you can govern and discipline yourself.
5. Remember that if you falter and lose your freedoms through irresponsibility, you can reverse this by adhering again to the rules and showing that you have learnt from your mistakes.

IN CONCLUSION

Love your children, listen to your children, laugh with them and have fun with your children. Don’t just lecture them on what is right, show them by your own example. Make every effort you can to understand where they are coming from before jumping to conclusions as perhaps there is something behind their defiant behaviour or their dramatic outburst!
Make time to read or quote verses from Scripture to your family – this is your authority. You can’t relay to them what was a norm in your day and expect it to be the same today – it’s a whole new era with new challenges, new technology and new pressures. Don’t try to live out your lost dreams through your children – they are entitled to their own dreams and goals in life. Don’t spoil them with material possessions because you grew up in poverty – always find the balance regardless of your experience as a child. Be honest and if you go wrong and make a mistake, admit it and ask them to forgive you. Pray with your family in times of distress, anxiety or blessing – the Lord needs to be acknowledged as an integral part of the team.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
How will our children hear, unless we teach them?

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