God has given you an awesome task! When you became a parent, God not only gave you an amazing creation of life, He also gave you the most important responsibility of your life. God has entrusted you with this child and you are now accountable to Him to train, guide, and shepherd this gift according to His ways. He chose YOU for this all important job – thank Him, praise Him! It’s not an easy job – it’s probably the toughest job you’ll ever have – it takes lots of dedication, commitment, and hard work, but your efforts will not go unnoticed and you will reap the reward.
I’m not going to pretend that I have all the answers and I am not a child training expert. After 10 years and 7 children, I am still learning, still growing, still changing in regards to child training. I’m simply going to share what I have learned over the past 10 years of parenting from faithful mentors, wise authors, and personal experience with a list I compiled – The ABCs of Child Training.
Authority – God has granted us the position of authority over our children on His behalf. God has called us to do this and it is our duty to serve Him in this manner. As parents, we are under God’s authority and we are accountable to God for the obedience and training of our children.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Bible – The Bible is the only parenting book you need. There are countless books on the market that will tell you all the how-tos of parenting, child-training, and discipline, but the Bible is really all you need to guide you through the journey. It has all the answers you will ever need. Trust it! Trust Him!
Consistency – I’m sure every parent has heard this advice when it comes to child training and discipline – Be Consistent! But it’s true! Make sure your rules are clear and never let your child disobey without dealing with the offense. Also, make sure you and your spouse are on the same page – if there is not consistency and agreement between the two of you, it can create confusion and further disobedience in your child.
Discipline – A part of child training is discipline. God commands us many times in the Bible to correct and discipline our children. Disciplining is an expression of our love.
Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.
Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
Proverbs 13:24 (NLT)
Example – Be an example for your children – model Godly behavior. Children learn a lot more from our actions than they do from our words.
My son, give me your heart,
and let your eyes observe my ways.
Proverbs 23:26 (NKJV)
Follow Through – Don’t give empty threats. Follow through with punishment and discipline – just threatening doesn’t work. It goes hand-in-hand with consistency and will just cause confusion, disobedience, and manipulation of your authority.
God – He is the child training expert. Turn to Him for all your parenting questions.
For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds,
and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Humility – We can’t train our children on our own. We need God’s help and His grace. Once we humble ourselves to this fact, we will have great peace and comfort.
God opposes the proud,
but favors the humble.
1 Peter 5:5
Immediate – We are to expect immediate obedience from our children. When our directives are met with delay, that is a form of disobedience and is not acceptable. When a child is told to do something, or not to do something, they are to obey without delay.
Jesus – We need to train our children to be like Jesus – to be Christ-like. They need to shine Christ to this broken world and possess the same character qualities that Jesus Christ did.
Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
1Corinthians 11:1 (NKJV)
Kids – Your kids are a blessing from God; they are a heritage of the Lord. Heritage from the Hebrew means “an inheritance which is given not according to hereditary rights, but is a gift from the freewill of the donor.” Your children are a gift from God – raise them and train them as such.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Love – Training our children is a way of expressing our love. Train, discipline, and correct with love, never in anger.
Mentor – Seek out a wise, prayerful, and faithful child training mentor that shares similar views on parenting. Or pray that the Lord will lead you to one. It could be someone in your church, a relative, or even someone you have connected with online. Likewise, if you are a seasoned parent, pray that the Lord places a young parent in your path. A mentor is a wonderful source of encouragement, support, and wisdom during the child training years.
The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior,
not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things –
that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their
children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their
husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Titus 2: 3-5 (NKJV)
Now – You should start child training now, whatever the age of your child! It is never too late to start and it is never too early.
To discipline a child produces wisdom,
but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.
Proverbs 29:15 (NLT)
Obedience – Obedience needs to be expected every time. It is mandatory, not an option for your child. Therefore, you need to correct disobedience every time.
Patience – Child training will require A LOT of this! If it’s something you struggle with, pray about it, and have your spouse pray too.
Quality & Quantity Time – Time is one of the biggest investments we can give our children. The time we spend with our children needs to be of good quality – training them in God’s ways; and we need to do this often!
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.
Responsibility – Not only is it our responsibility as parents to train our children in the way they should go – God’s way – but we also need to train them to be responsible as well. God places many responsibilities on believers and we need to prepare our children to fulfill and live out these responsibilities as they grow.
Spanking – Spanking is Biblical. When a child disobeys, he needs a spanking. There is a right and wrong way to spank a child – never spank in anger; respect your child’s privacy and dignity; make sure the child understands the offense being punished; only spank on the bottom, and never spank a bare bottom. After the spanking, hug and kiss the child and discuss, once again, why they were punished and that you being obedient to God by giving the punishment.
A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness,
but the physical discipline will drive it far away.
Train – This is our duty to God – to train our children in His ways. The training of our children should be willful and planned; we need to be committed to it and take every opportunity to educate and train our children. If we do not train our sinful children, they will develop sinful habits throughout life that will be difficult to break.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
Understanding – In order to train our children, it is important that we understand the child’s nature. Children are born sinners – we all are. They have a sinful nature; we need to recognize this instead of thinking of our children as innocent little cuties in order to be successful at child training.
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world.
Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone,
for everyone sinned.
Romans 5:12 (NLT)
Victory – When we train our children in God’s ways, we will have victory over the enemy. The enemy wants to destroy and the first place he looks to do this is the family unit.
Wisdom – Impart wisdom to your children. Teach them to make wise decisions. Don’t make all their decisions for them; instead, teach them and show them how to make wise choices. As we train our children in the ways of the Lord, we are training them in the ways of wisdom.
My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
lend your ear to my understanding.
X’s and O’s – Give your children lots of hugs and kisses as you train them – show them love and affection.
You – God chose YOU to train and shepherd your children! What a blessing! He has prepared you for this journey with all the grace, strength, and wisdom you need. No matter where you are in your parenting and child training journey, YOU can do it, with God’s help. He is right there with you every step of the way!
And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you.
He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you;
do not fear nor be dismayed.
Zeal – Take on your child training with zeal. Be diligent, be determined, be devoted, be passionate. Also, have a zeal for your relationship with the Lord – your child will pick up on your passion. Be on fire for Him and to serve Him!
Sarah is the JOYful wife of Jorge, the JOYful mother of 7 blessings – ages 2 months – 10 years, and a JOYful servant to the Most High God. She has been JOYfully homeschooling for 6 years using an eclectic approach – a little of this and a little of that. You can find her blogging at My Joy-Filled Life about the joys of big family living, her faith, homeschooling, homemaking, and whatever the Lord lays on her heart. In her free time (what’s that?), Sarah enjoys baking (but not the clean-up), dabbling in photography, and running. You can also find her on Pinterest and Facebook.