*Devotion - The "P"'s of Parenting*
Talk about the "Pís" of Parenting today with a brief comment about Peace
Let me comment about what being a Parent is:
In order to define Parent, we must first define Man: Websterís says that Man is a creature at the highest order of animal development. Parent is defined as: Any organism that produces or generates another. Nowhere does it say that parents should be friends with their children. It doesnít even mention that they should not necessarily like you most of the time. Your role is to turn those children into well-adjusted, responsible adults. To do this, you must "rear" your children. Websterís definition of Rear is: to take care of AND support to maturity.
When our children are small, we all have dreams of what they will be when they grow up. Doctors, Lawyers, Firemen, Policemen, etc. What are you doing Today to form that child into someone who could be what you dream of? What morals or values are you instilling in that child? This is your responsibility. If you donít want them around when they are 40 years old because they have not gained maturity, you need to Form them while they are young.
You have also signed onto the "Once a parent, Always a parent" club. You have determined that your child(ren) Must always come first. You have to put YOUR selfish desires and wants aside. You know, it is hard work to raise a child. You MUST always put what is best for your child(ren) and NOT what is easiest for you or makes you feel better. You canít sit on the couch watching TV, and use the excuse that you are tired, and then yell at your children because they are misbehaving. There are times when "Tough Love" must be done. It might break your heart, but remember, you are doing this for the childís own good, not your own. I can remember sitting and crying for hours because of a Tough Love decision. You have basically 9 years to instill into them the values and morals they need for adulthood. That is half of their life with you. If you have not instilled in them what was needed by the time they are 9 years of age, you might as well forget it. The only thing you can do then is to instill the fear of wrath and intense punishment into them. There is a book called "How to get Children to do What you Want Without even trying." In this book, it tells you to do two main things. (1) "Never say anything you donít mean" and (2) "Only say is once". An example given was:
The author says he did something wrong, and his mother said if he did that again, she was going to throw him out the window. He says he just had to do it again. So he did it again and his mother threw him out the window. Good thing it was open and on the ground floor. He learned that day that his mother meant what she said when she said it. No more counting to 3. No more "If I get up from here". One time and then action. The book is great.
Another part of child rearing is the spirituality or moral portion of their upbringing. By bringing your child to church instead of taking them and leaving them, you show them that you support the way the church teaches. It canít hurt you either. You might even learn something. A Christian home where the Bible is read and prayers are heard and the child hears praise and encouragement each and everyday is always the best. Arguments between Mom and Dad should never be within earshot of the child(ren). I know that canít always happen, but the argument should then be in the form of a discussion instead of a heated confrontation. Always, remember, children love to imitate. What are you showing them? What would you feel if you knew they were watching you and imitating you? They are following your footsteps.
You bring your child(ren) to their basketball, baseball, football, and soccer games. That is great! Kids need praise, support and encouragement. Kids also need hugs and kisses and to be told, "I love you" many times each day. We all need that from time to time. In Acts 3:8-9, the crippled man praised God. After Jesus was resurrected, the disciples praised God. Besides the Praise, There are other things that kids need. They need just enough losing, just enough criticism to let them feel the need for competition. Kids will have to deal with competition as an adult in job hunting, job promotions, and many other areas of adult life. Basketball, Baseball, Football, all types of physical games give the children competition. Upward Basket Ball is one game that is without the criticism. If we didnít have competition, why should we bother to even try? We would just settle for something that is not our best. Also, hug and kiss them all you want to and all they will let you. As they get older, they will not necessarily want your smooches and hugs. But you should cherish each moment you have with them, cause they will be gone sooner than you think.
Without Punishment, praise would be useless. Punishment is needed to let them know that some of what they do, is not acceptable behavior or language or action. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 to "Rear up a Child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it". Proverbs 13:24 says, "He that spareth the rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chastens him betimes". This does not give you permission to beat the child senseless. That does no good. It only terrifies the child and harms the mental image the child has for itself. Remember a child learns what he/she lives. But an occasional spanking is not detrimental to the childís health and can do a world of good. We must also remember that Jesus himself said in Mark 9:42 that "Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea." After the punishment is over, always hug the child and let them know you love them.
This is a "P" that shouldnít need any explanation. This is what makes the punishment affective. Another word for this is Consistency. They go hand in hand. Children need to know their boundaries. They want boundaries. To know just how far they can go. The more freedom they get, the more they push our buttons. When you sit on your couch and say, "If I have to get up from here", they learn that they can do what they want until you say those words. When you use the count to "3" routine, they learn that they can do what they want until after you say 2 and, depending on your actions at #3, they might be able to wait until you say #3 before they do what you are telling them to do. They need to know what their place is in the family. They will push until they know what their place is in the world and their own family.
As mentioned above, praise and punishment are what is needed in a child(ren)ís life. But you need to be involved in their lives. Know what they are doing. Know how they are doing. In school, in church, at play, every aspect of their lives you should know what and how they are doing. By doing this, you know them so well, that at the slightest difference in how they act, do or say, you know that something might be wrong and can take steps to change it early on before it really becomes a problem. It could be something as simple as growing up, but at least you can still catch it and know about it really early. It might be something that you, as a parent, must change in your behavior towards that child. I used to spank my children until, the boys, would catch my hand and tell me they were too big to be spanked any more. I didnít get angry or upset. I just said "Fine". That is when I started my groundings. My oldest was driving, so grounding him from the car was disastrous.
You, as a parent, are charged with preparing your child(ren) for the world they must be part of once they leave the "Nest". You must raise them to maturity. This doesnít mean until they are 18. Maturity means being able to think and act for yourself using input you gather from whatís around you. People will always try to manipulate others into doing what they want. Being mature is knowing this will happen and be ready to deal with it. Maturity is also knowing what having a "Job" means. Too many of todayís young adults think they can get a job and get paid without doing what that job entails. My youngest daughter tells me she is constantly sending young people home for refusing to perform parts of the job they were hired on to do.
You just cannot successfully raise a child without prayer. You need prayer just to get through the day. How many times have you said, "Lord, keep me from killing this child?" Pray without ceasing is what the Bible says. We need to be in constant prayer to make sure we are rearing our children the way he wants and desires. Constant prayer is not on your knees, "forgetting everything else prayer". It means that you need to be in a constant prayerful mood and in contact with Jesus always. The disciples asked Jesus, "Teach us to pray". So, in Luke 11:1, we read "The Lordís Prayer". James 5:16 says, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. When you feel stressed, stop and pray for relief from stress and to give you knowledge as to what to do or say. Philippians 4:6 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God. I had a child that was very contrary. When she was being really stubborn, and I could feel that I was losing control, I would grab her, bring her close, and give her a great big hug and tell her I loved her. Most of the time the stubbornness would end, and we could talk. It was good for me also. It gave me time for my stress level to go down and to remember the love I had for this child. As she grew older, she learned that when she was in that certain mood, she would just come and tell us, "I need a hug".
Patience is not something you are born with. As a child, you want something "NOW". You gain patience through trials. You need to remember that phrase, "Be careful what you ask for?" If you pray for Patience, you will get many trials. To ask for any good quality or value means going through the fire to get it. Patience is one of the many virtues mentioned in the Bible. James1: 2-5 tells that patience is proved by trials. We need to pray for wisdom. Remember the patience of Job. He went through more in just a few days than we do in a lifetime.
There will always be problems. No child comes with an instruction manual, so no matter how well we do the above, something will always come up that throws us for a loop and we have to sit back on our heels for a while and pray and study and hopefully use our maturity and wisdom to solve the problem(s) at hand.
This is something we can look back on and see how our problem solving with all the above "P"ís paid off. There is an old saying, "An ounce of Prevention, is worth a pound of Cure". We can see how what we did in raising our children with Godís help prevent many problems along the way. If we raised them with the above "P"ís with along with Wisdom, and with God as our example, we will be able to look at them as adults and be Proud (another P) that we can see the maturity in them as adults. Ready to face todayís world with all its many sins and evil desires.
For a parent, there is no such word. We are each an individual with individual needs and desires. As a parent we need to recognize that each of our children are individuals and are as different as night and day. You may have one very well behaved child and the next be constantly into something. Treat each child on an individual basis
I will close with this;
If you will keep Jesus in your heart and bring him into your everyday life taking him with you wherever you go, you will find great peace in your life. John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid. As you pray, you will find yourself more peaceful and less stressed, because if you are talking to Jesus, how can you be angry? Philippians 4:7 says, "And the Peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds though Christ Jesus. When you find peace, you feel it, your husband feels it, and your children feel it. The whole day goes better. After all your children are grown and gone, and you can see that they are all mature adults, you can sit back and have peace in your heart that you have raised your children to be responsible, mature adults.
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