I recently read a post about a startling, unbiblical parenting paradigm — Family physician, psychologist and author Leondard Sax says parents are “raising kids wrong.” You can read the entire post here, but here’s an excerpt:
“Parents are incapable of speaking to their children in a sentence that ends in a period…Every sentence ends in a question mark…Some parenting experts told adults that they should offer their children choices instead of telling them what to do and parents believed them…The hierarchy of parent over child no longer exists…Instead of parents exercising their authority because they know what’s best, they are focusing on making children happy and boosting their self-esteem…They now see their job as facilitating whatever a kid wants to do…”
He’s right. That’s wrong. Constantly giving a child their own way while failing to provide instruction and correction is an act of neglect by us as parents and an injustice to the child. The Bible is clear that much of our role as parents is that of loving, guiding, disciplinarian. (Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 19:18, Proverbs 22:6, Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 23:13-14, Proverbs 29:15, Proverbs 29:17)
BUT–we are also warned not to exasperate our kids (Ephesians 6:4) or cause them to grow bitter toward us (Colossians 3:21)! How do we do both??? How do we act as the disciplinarians to sinful hearts (like ours) and at the same time keep them from hating us for fulfilling our role??? Well, there’s no short answer to that question. But we know it includes experiencing God’s corrective love and grace in our own life. The closer we are to God, the more instep we are with our Heavenly Father, the better we’ll parent. But what about some practical steps, some “how to” tips for scenarios that many parents face? I heard what I thought was a great radio program on this subject this morning from Focus on the Family and Psychologist and author Dr. Henry Cloud. One phrase that stuck out to me was “be hard on the problem, without being hard on the child”. You can listen to the episode here: Raising Kids With Healthy Boundaries (Part 1 of 2) It’s well worth your time!
Also, here’s a link to some helpful Focus On The Family Apps that you might be interested in downloading.