Parenting - Riverside Indonesian Fellowship

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Bible Study 2022
All of us have been given the responsibility to raise children, to be concerned for their eternal destiny. We work for the salvation of our children. We expose our children to gospel truth. We live our life before our children in such a way as to bring honor to Christ and make the gospel attractive. We engage our children so that they might be influenced by the things of Christ.

Deuteronomy 6:2 says, “That you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life.” Verse 7, “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.”

Parenting is the married couple’s primary responsibility. And our parenting is measured by how we raise our children. If a child is raised correctly, he will be a joy to his parents and everyone else. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he’s old he’ll not depart from it.” You have the opportunity to raise the child, and what that child becomes is what you raised.”

In this culture, you have to fight other influences that encroach on the parenting process, which means you have to guard and police the minds and souls of your children, or they will wind up being parented by some corrupted, sinful culture. Ephesians 6:1-4 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise:

3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” This is your most critical role not only in the culture, but also in the kingdom, to bring up your children in the nurture or the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Consequently, parenting is a full-time responsibility.

The inspired concepts in Scripture have been handed down generation after generation and are just as valid for the twenty first century as they were for our ancestors. Unfortunately many of today’s parents have never heard those ideas and have no clue about what they are trying to accomplish at home. Sometimes a child becomes a defiant little tyrant that only wants to do what he or she wants.

Some parents had read that the child will eventually respond to reason and forbearance, ruling out the need for firm leadership. The parents and their child were involved in a difference of opinion and the parents were being challenged and defied by their child. The real issue was unrelated to a particular circumstance. The actual meaning behind this conflict is that the child is rejecting the authority of the parents.

And the way parents handle these situations would determine the nature of their future relationships during the adolescent years. There are times when a strong willed child will challenge his parents, but he or she is not motivated by frustrations or inner hostility, he merely wants to know where the boundaries lie and who has the right to enforce them. We need to teach children how to set limits.

They derive security from knowing where the boundaries are and who is available to enforce them. There is security in defined limits. When the home atmosphere is as it should be, children live in safety. They never get into trouble as long as they stay within the limits that they know, there is happiness, acceptance and freedom. But it is the parent who sets up the boundaries, not the child.

And this disciplinary action must take place within the framework of love and affection. This is often difficult for parents who view these roles as contradictory. This discipline is not limited to confrontation, children need to be taught self-discipline and responsible behavior. They need assistance in learning how to handle the challenges and obligations of living in society.

They must learn self-control and they should be equipped with the personal strength to meet the demands on them by their school, by their peer group and later as an adult. Some people believe that those characteristics cannot be taught. They believe that young people should be allowed to fail. But the bible does not teach that. Children thrive best in an atmosphere of genuine love based on reasonable consistent discipline.

It allows God to be introduced to our children. It permits teachers to do the right things for which they were hired. It encourages a child to respect other people and live as a responsible, constructive citizen. But there is a price to be paid by the parents, which requires courage, consistency, conviction diligence and effort. A parent must dare to discipline in an environment of love.

Children should be taught ultimate loyalty to God. We should make it clear that the merciful God of love whom we serve is also a God of justice. If we choose to defy His moral laws we will suffer certain consequences. God’s spiritual imperatives are as inflexible as His physical laws. Those who defy His spiritual laws will be punished as well, for the wages of sin is death.

So develop respect for parents. This is important to Christian parents who wish to transmit their love for Jesus Christ to their children because they typically identify their parents with God. Show your kids that you pray before a meal. God has given us the assignment of representing Him during the years of parenting. That is why we need to teach kids God’s two natures, His love and His wrath.

So it is important that we as parents model love and discipline in our relationship with them. Respect is a useful guide to interpret your child’s behavior. Decide first whether their action is a direct challenge to you authority. So the form of disciplinary action should depend on your evaluation of your child’s action. Spanking should be reserved for kids between 18 months to 10-12 years old.

Spanking should be confined to the buttocks area where permanent damage is unlikely. Do not slap a child in the face. And do not jerk him or her by the arms, where shoulder separations are possible. It begins to introduce children to the realities of the world and the importance of listening to what you say. If parents disagree on the type of discipline, do not do that in front of the child.

When kids rebel against your authority you must be willing to respond immediately. It is not good to postpone disciplinary measures until your spouse comes home. Who is in charge here? If you do not answer your strong willed child, they will start other battles to ask that again. It is the paradox of childhood that children want to be led, but insist that their parents earn the right to lead them.

When parents fail to take charge, they create for themselves a potential lifetime of heartache. Parents often fail to understand how love and respect interact to influence the attitudes of a child. These two aspects are not opposites. They are two dimensions of the same quality. Disciplinary actions are not an assault on parental love, they are a function of it. Appropriate punishment is something done for him or her.

We need to be tolerant of childishness, and be reasonable on most issues. If they are late they should explain the reason. If they do not do their home-work, agree on a future action. But react when they are disrespectful. Punish them and the momentary pain does not diminish their self-worth, but they need to know that parents need to be respected. The meaning of the event is what mattered.

Understand that respect is unilateral, it must run both ways. Parents cannot require their children to treat them with respect if they will not do the same thing in return. Parents should be gentle with their child’s ego. Do not belittle or embarrass him or her in front of friends. Discipline should be administered in private. Do not laugh at them if it makes them uncomfortable.

Their requests or their feelings, even if foolish, should be given an honest appraisal. They should feel that their parents ‘really do care about me’. Self-esteem is a fragile attribute in human nature. It can be damaged in minor incidents, and its reconstruction is often difficult and takes time. Do not be sarcastic and quick to criticize your children. Revenge often will be sought in adolescence.

The best opportunity to communicate often happens after a disciplinary event. At that moment you can hug him or her and talk heart to heart, you can tell the child how much you love him or her. You can explain why the child was disciplined and how you can avoid it next time. Parental warmth is essential to demonstrate it is the behavior, not the child itself that the parents rejects.

Teach a child to say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’. Tell them that being polite and having manners says a lot about what kind of person they are. Appreciation must be taught and this instructional period begins with fundamental politeness. This is not a world where you can get something by just saying give me this and that. Children need to show that they understand that.

Having control without repeating it constantly. Yelling becomes a habit and it is not effectual. Have you ever screamed, “This is the last time I’m telling you!” Parents often use anger to get action, instead of using action to get action. There are many approaches that bring action. The use of rewards is a positive reinforcement. But minor pain or a negative reinforcement can provide results.

I remember my mother twisting my ear to get me to do something. The pain is temporary and causes no damage. Forewarn your child that he or she has for instance 15 minutes left to do whatever. After the time is up, you can quietly tell your child to take a bath, if he or she does not respond just squeeze his shoulder muscle. Your child will learn there are unpleasant results and he or she will move beforehand.

When a child knows that there is no threat behind all those words, he stops listening. But the most important limitations of those verbal commands is that the user often has to resort to physical punishment in the end. It is likely to be severe because the adult is irritated and out of control. So instead of controlled discipline, the parent is out of control. So the child has a choice to make, and obeying parents is much better.

Don’t give your child too much stuff. Commercials on TV are made to entice your child with a lot of electronics. Parents feel selfish because they themselves are using those. Don’t make your child feel that he is entitled to get whatever he or she wants. This will make them less appreciative of everything. Anything that is obtained cheaply is of little value, regardless of how much it costs.

One after another expensive gifts are tossed aside at Christmas time or in birthday celebrations, with little more than a glance. Show your child the thrill of temporary deprivation, it is more fun and less expensive. Anytime a child can save up and dream of a particular thing, it becomes much more valuable when the child obtains it through temporary deprivation.

Rewards need not be material in nature. Anything that is considered desirable can serve as a reinforcement for behavior. Some children would rather receive a sincere praise than a ten dollar bill. Children of all ages seek satisfaction of their emotional needs, including the desire for love, social acceptance and self-respect. Additionally they hope to find excitement, entertainment and pleasure.

Balance your Love and Discipline. The interaction between those two variables is critical to a formula for successful parenting. We know that infants that are not touched, loved and caressed will often die. Studies indicate that the mother-child relationship during the first year is vital for the infant’s survival. But the opposite is also true, some parents are over protective of their children.

There are parents that are afraid of the known and unknown dangers that could threaten their child. And the slightest threat produces anxiety for the overprotective mom or dad. Unfortunately the children are often the victim too. He or she is not permitted to take any reasonable risk which are necessary for growth. So prolonged emotional immaturity is a frequent consequence of overprotection.

Verbal reinforcement should permeate the entire parent-child relationship. Too often parental instruction consist of a million don’t do this. We should spent more time rewarding your child for the behavior we desire, even if our reward is just a sincere compliment. Remember, children need to feel accepted and have self-esteem. So only compliment a child for good behavior.

There is another unfortunate circumstance in homes where the father and the mother represent opposing extremes in control. The father is heavily involved in his work and when he comes home he is real tired and doesn’t want to be bothered. So his approach to child management is harsh and unsympathetic. Mother is supportive but feels she should compensate for his sternness by being permissive.

Permissive means the absence of effective parental control, resulting in the lack of boundaries for the child. The word represents tolerance of childish disrespect, defiance, and the general confusion that occurs in the absence of adult leadership. Discipline for teenagers should involve lost privileges of phones or laptops, financial deprivation, and related forms of physical retribution.

So the two parental symbols of authority act to contradict each other and the child is caught somewhere in between. The child does not respect either one because each has attacked the authority of the other. These opposite forms of authority can create a time bomb of rebellion in the child that shows up when they become teenagers. The most hostile teenagers come from this combination.

Should a parent force a child to eat? No, the dinner table is often a battlefield. I know that parents in Indonesia often go around and feed the child while he or she is doing something else. In America mothers do not go around to feed children, they eat together with their parents at the dinner table and they are taught that that is the time to eat and if they don’t want to eat they will be hungry the next time.

The way to deal with a poor eater is to set good food before him or her. If the child claims not to be hungry, just wrap the plate and put that in the refrigerator and send him on his way. He will be back in a few hours. God has put hunger in his tummy. Simply retrieve the earlier meal, warm it up and serve him the same meal. If he refuses, send him out to play again until the food begins to look good.

How do I deal with a teenager who is lazy? Laziness is a fact with many teenagers. Their apathy has a physiological origin. Their energy during adolescence is being redirected into rapid growth. And glandular changes require physical readjustment. Find out what your teenager likes as an incentive. An allowance is a motivator. Formulate an agreement based on a point system to reward good behavior.

Teach your teenager that actions have inevitable consequences. Irresponsible behavior eventually produces sorrow and pain. Unfortunately some parents still ‘bail out’ their teenagers long after they are grown and live away. This overprotection produces emotional cripples who often develop lasting dependency on their parents and have a kind of perpetual adolescence.

Begin by letting your child experience a reasonable amount of pain or inconvenience when he behaves irresponsibly. When your child misses the school bus, let him walk to school and be late to suffer the consequence. If your child loses her lunch money, let her skip a meal. Expect your children to learn what is appropriate for their age and taste the bitter fruit that comes from being irresponsible.

At the core of immorality is the moral catastrophe that influenced the families. We have forgotten God and disregarded His holy ordinances. Today ‘safe-sex’ advocates are very effective. They promote homosexuality, abortion on demand, sexual relationships among unmarried people, etc. And this is taught to our teenagers. To date there are twenty sexually transmitted diseases among the young.

When have you heard anyone tell teenagers that it is to their advantage to remain virgins until married? They are not told the facts and there are tragic consequences. Condoms can fail at least 15.7 percent of the time. They fail 36.3 percent in preventing pregnancy in young unmarried minority women. As far as disease prevention, HIV measures .1 micron and in condoms there are channels open of 5 microns.

There is a growing trend for all aspects of education to be taken from the parents. This is wrong, particularly in sex education. The best approach is beginning in a young child that extends through the years, according to a policy of openness and honesty. Only parents can do that. An ideal approach is a gradual enlightenment that begins at the fourth year of life and ends shortly before puberty.

Planned Parenthood own data says that the number one reason teenagers have intercourse is because of peer pressure. Condom distribution do not reduce the number of kids exposed to the disease, it radically increase it. It is a popular myth that teenagers do not understand that saving themselves for marriage is best for them. Almost all high school females under 18 are virgins.

In a time where there is widespread drug use, immorality, sexually transmitted diseases, vandalism and violence, we must not depend on hope or luck to teach these crucial attitudes we value in children. Permissiveness has simply failed as an approach to child rearing. When properly applied loving discipline works. It stimulates tender affection made possible by mutual respect.

So when you are defiantly challenged, win decisively. When your child asks, who is in charge, tell him or her. When he asks who loves me, take him or her in your arms and give him or her a lot of affection. Treat your child with respect and dignity and expect him or her to do the same to you. And then begin this process of competent and loving parenthood with God’s help, Amen?

© 2017 Ferdy Gunawan

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Denver, CO 80211

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