Being a parent can be one of the most rewarding relationships in life. But between taking the kids to school, work, and managing a household, let’s face it: It can be overwhelming. And knowing how to parent in today’s technology-driven world can be terrifying. So, here are some tips on how to parent from a biblical perspective.
- Appreciate the value of play.
Play is a child’s work. Play is critical to all aspects of a child’s development, but most do not see it as a valuable tool. Play can prevent discipline problems, offers a natural way for children to learn, and is essential in forming a positive relationship between parent and child (See Ephesians 6:4).
- Talk with, and listen to, a child.
It’s essential for one to make eye contact and use a gentle touch when communicating with their child. Give clear and consistent instructions – but not too many at once. Remember the importance of non-verbal communication, and be sure to hold a child for comfort or share smiles and hugs (See Proverbs 1:8-9).
- Build a child’s brain and body.
Provide healthful meals and snacks and model good eating habits. Encourage exercise by being active with a child and limiting time in front of the television or playing video games. A parent can support their child’s efforts in school and provide opportunities to learn and explore by visiting the library, museums, zoos, and other places of interest (See Ephesians 5:29).
- A parent must be their child’s first source of information.
Encouraging children to ask questions now makes it easier for them to ask questions when they are older. Answering questions from a child with honesty and openness can create a relationship of mutual trust and respect that can prevent a child from developing unsafe habits or taking unnecessary risks (See Proverbs 1:2-4).
- Learn how children develop and know their unique talents.
When it comes to a child, the real expert is their parent. So, a parent must know all areas of their child’s development – physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and moral. Every child needs exceptional help to progress at their own best rate (See Proverbs 22:6).
- Cherish a child’s individuality.
Parents must support their child’s interests and talents. Try to spend time alone with each child every day. Praise their unique qualities and avoid comparing them or asking why they can’t be like someone else (See Isaiah 11:6).
- Set up a household for success – make it work for the whole family.
Model and teach good safety habits and establish routines. Discuss and enforce family rules that work for the household – for example, putting toys away after play (See Deuteronomy 6:1-9).
- Parents must take care of themselves.
If tired, ill, or just worn out, a parent cannot be as effective. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and take occasional breaks from parenting. If possible, enlist the support of family, friends, and neighbors when things seem overwhelming (See 1 Corinthians 6:19).
- Make time for family activities.
A sense of belonging is enhanced when families engage in everyday activities such as having meals together and sharing tasks and responsibilities. Use the family time to discuss needs and feelings, solve problems and promote cooperation (See Mark 5:19).
- Teach a child right from wrong.
A child’s understanding of right and wrong develops slowly. They must be taught a code of moral conduct and lay the groundwork for developing their moral guide. What they learn as a child will guide them for the rest of their life (See Proverbs 22:6).
Need help finding a counselor who specializes in parenting? Call 800-NEW-LIFE and find a counselor through the New Life Counseling Network.
by Shay Bilchik