Q: Why should Christians care about being good parents?
A: Parenting is one of the most important responsibilities that an adult can have. God, as our primary spiritual parent, has gifted men and women to be good stewards of the children that he gives them. Additionally, there is an important level of responsibility that comes along with being a parent, and God expects us to lead our children to a knowledge of Himself and His purposes for their lives. Christians should remember that the primary purpose of parenting is not that our kids would be “good kids,” stay out of trouble, and think we are great. The primary purpose of parenting is stewarding our children for the glory of God.
Q: How do I know if I am being a good parent?
A: First of all, there are no perfect parents. Additionally, the best measure of whether or not you or in line with God’s desire for parenting is whether or not you are raising your kids to know and trust God. This does not mean that your children are perfect all the time, and it does not mean that there is no conflict or strife within your house. It does mean that when those things do happen, you lead your family to turn to the Lord and to His Word to repent, forgive, and reconcile with one another.
Q: How can I best raise my kids to help them have a relationship with God?
A: The best way to try to ensure that your children know and love the Lord is to be heavily involved in a local church. There is no better place to raise children, receive help and instruction, and be surrounded by a supporting community than in the church. Additionally, you can and should pray with them, read Scripture with them, encourage them to create relationships with other Christian young people, and consistently be involved in their life, asking them meaningful questions and putting the character of God on display.
Q: Should I discipline my kids?
A: The Bible mentions, many times, how it is loving to raise and discipline your children, particularly in the ways of the Lord. Additionally, the purpose of discipline is not to penalize or pay back children for the wrong that they have done. Rather, discipline means applying appropriate consequences to encourage a child to make better choices in the future.
Q: What methods should I use in disciplining my children?
A: Regardless of the method, the Bible's word on discipline clearly demands that parents be responsible and diligent in spanking, but strongly prohibits physical abuse of any kind. Obviously, the biblical approach is balanced, reasonable, and controlled. Additionally, the goal of discipline is always to produce repentance, which leads to Christ-like character. Discipline should always be done by a parent who is in control of his or her emotions, regardless of whether the discipline is done with words or not.
Q: How should I discuss controversial issues, such as drugs and alcohol, with my children?
A: Most Christian counselors recommend that when dealing with these issues, it is best to start early, and stick with it. Of course, you need to communicate at an age-appropriate level, but being able to explain issues like these to your children before others have the chance to is extremely beneficial to you as a parent. As far as method goes, briefer messages that are worked non-threateningly into everyday conversations typically works well.
Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
Proverbs 23:22 Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old.
Mark 7:10-13 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
2 Corinthians 12:14 Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
Colossians 3:20-21 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Proverbs 22:16 He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches, And he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty.
Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 5:16 Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.