21st Century Parenting

Recently, I heard a great message from our pastor, Dan Hunter, on parenting. He gave such great insight and applicable ideas to take and apply right away. The parenting pack in the LIFE materials has been the ongoing education we have needed in our life to help us become better parents. Here is just a few thoughts I know will help any parent wanting to know how to improve in the area of parenting!

As time goes on we seem to get further away from the truth about how to parent. The truth is that you can only find truth through the Word of God. But somehow our human mind thinks we know so much more than the very one that created us. The bible gives us the road map needed to raise our children.

3 Parenting Styles to AVOID:

Etch and Sketch Parenting:

Remember the etch and sketch game, where you turn the knobs and it draws lines and then you shake it real hard and the lines disappear. I can remember this game growing up before we had all the “techy” stuff we have today. When I didn’t like how it turned out, I would shake it and start over. So many parents today have not drawn permanent “lines” or boundaries in their way of disciplining and in their values at home. So many kids today have no idea where the boundaries are that their parents setup. So they continually test it and when it’s crossed their consequences are not consistent and the line is erased and drawn somewhere else.

As parents, it is crucial to determine what your boundaries for your children will be and to stand firm so your children will respect what they can and cannot do. If you always change the lines then your child will grow up to think the truth changes, and right and wrong is determined on how you feel.

Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”

Lifeguard Parenting:

At any local pool or water park,  you will see lifeguards perched on tall seats just waiting for the moment they need to jump in and save a child or correct one not following the rules. Now I am very much in favor of lifeguards at these particular establishments to ensure the safety of everyone there. But when it comes to parenting, too many are playing the lifeguard role and rescuing their children from consequences. I have struggled with this in my own life. There have been times in the past where Kirk and I did not see eye to eye on what discipline our child needed in the moment of disobedience. I have found myself acting as a lawyer for my child and trying to convince Kirk it wasn’t that bad. Oh wow did I learn a lesson!!

Enabling is anything that stands in the way of persons experiencing the natural consequences of their own behavior. If you rescue your child so they don’t experience the painful consequences of their irresponsible decisions, then you spoil their ability to see the world as it truly is. This can cause uncaring, self-centered and entitled thinking in your child.  A phrase in our home is you are entitled to nothing, everything is earned.

Proverbs 3:11-12a says, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves” And the scripture is clear in Galatians 6:7-8, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

Split Decision Parenting:

I grew up in a home where I saw a bunch of lifeguard parenting and split decisions. For instance, I knew in my house my mom would let me do certain things that my dad had already said NO to. And I saw my mom convince my dad it would be ok. Little did I know it would lead to more manipulating on my part to get my way. It obviously carried over into my own parenting. One of the biggest areas I have needed growth is showing my boys I respect Kirks decision in the correct discipline. Split decision parenting is so detrimental to unifying the family unit.  When the parents are un-unified, then the children will learn how to manipulate. Disagree in private, and agree in public.

Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

Disciplining and Correction are tough subjects because of the different views out there.  So again the best source to go to is the Word of God. In our home, it is our measuring stick. Here are just a couple of tips:

1) Never discipline in anger- The aggression you use is way more harmful than the method you use.

Send the child to his/her room and take a breather so you can think and seek to understand and gain wisdom from God on how to correct. Ephesians 4:26 says, “In your anger, do not sin.”

2)Discipline with instruction and reconciliation- Discipline is correction with love.

Show the love of God through correcting and then forgiveness. We like to say to our children, “I forgive you.” Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Reconciliation:

Discipline is something you do for your child, not to your child. Reconciliation and forgiveness are so key for a child to feel safe and loved.

Here is a way to reconcile and instruct the child for correct behavior the next time (because there will be a next time!).

1) Ask what did you do wrong? (This helps the child identify the behavior)

2)What are you going to do next time this happens? (This helps them have an applicable tool the next time they are in a situation)

Then, don’t bring it up again and reconcile! Aren’t you glad God does not bring it back up to us when we mess up?

Being a wife, homeschool mom, business owner, and a devoted learner, there are days I want to pull my hair out. I question myself, pray, worry (yes, I know you shouldn’t), and fight my inner doubts if we are doing the best job in raising our children. Are we being the example? Are we teaching the Word enough? The saying goes, “I can’t hear what your saying, cause I see what you are doing”, so am I living out what I am saying? Well, I will end on a story to encourage those parents who are wondering if what they do matters!

Just a few days ago, my son Luke came to me. He is 10 and is a very deep thinker, likes his space, and can be very strong willed. So there are many times I wonder, is this child of mine getting it? Well, I learned a great lesson from him. He came to me and shut my door and locked it, wanting to speak to me in private. He said he needed to tell me something that has been on his heart for some time. He spoke of a time several months ago where he was with his cousin who is much older and asked him to play a game called Grand Theft Auto. Luke continued to tell me he played the game for a few minutes. After playing, he looked at the cover and saw it was rated M for mature.

    He knew he was not suppose to play those games. So here we are several months later, he starts to cry really hard and tell me, “I am so sorry mom. I just need to get this off me, I have  carried it for too long.” As you can imagine, I was shocked but ecstatic! To see my child carry such a hurt, but a hurt that was battling his own character. A character that had been established through the reading of the Word and the lines and boundaries drawn in our home. A character so high for a 10 year old in todays world. All I could think was “Thank you, Lord.” I looked him in the eye and said, “Luke, God will bless you for your confession.” And, “I forgive you.” I will never forget the look on his face. His complete posture changed. He had been released from a wound in his character and now God could mend his broken heart.

May we commit as parents to raise men and women of character. May we stand strong in our convictions. May we discipline in love. May we not become weary in doing good. May we stand on what is right and not be blown over by the winds of a complacent world. Let us be the parents of a new generation, where children our respectful and accept responsibility for their actions. May we set the bar high as the 21st Century Parents!

God Bless and May God give us wisdom,

Nicole Porter