We read in Proverbs
4:18 (KJV) that "the path of the just is as a shining light,
that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Children
need to learn that glory is coming, that their struggles aren't
forever. They are going toward perfect Christlikeness. Build hope
into your children! God calls it "the blessed hope" hope
for their eternal future, hope that will purify their lives.
children need unconditional Love, the same kind of love God
has for you. They need to hear you say, "We have loved
you; we do love you; we will always love you"
and to know without a doubt nothing will ever change that
commitment of love.
And at every stage,
affirmations are essential. All the way up to and including
adulthood, over and over again, your children need to be affirmed.
They need to know that you admire them. The naughtier they are,
the more they need to know that your overall feelings for them are
That's how your
Heavenly Parent treats you! He looks at you through Christcolored
glasses! He says, "I have provided My Son for your
righteousness, and I see you as perfect in Him." Then you
have the courage to grow up to what He says you already are!
And also, all along
the way, your children need to know where they stand, what the
rules for behavior are. There are times to stand up to them and
say a big no "We love you too much to let you get by with
this. You can't do it." At times, you must risk everything by
saying, "You may dislike us for the rest of your life, if you
wish, but you can't do it." That kind of "tough
love" may actually give a great deal of security to your
discipline is different at different stages. When your child is
two, give primitive, easy-to-understand directions: "You may
not run out into the street." Your eighteen-year-old
sometimes needs to hear your voice just as clearly: "You may
not sit in that parked car with your girlfriend." Discipline
only ceases when responsibility ceases.
Parents must be far more than just
their children's buddies. Sometimes they can't even be considered
friends. A nine-year-old boy feels the need for the
"group," and his mom and dad can't get into that club.
They shouldn’t even try. In a sense, he hangs
out a sign that says, "No parents allowed." That's a
good sign. It shows that the boy has other relationships that
fulfill other needs. He is learning what it is to be a social
animal. This may include getting a bloody nose. So be it. You
can't forever cushion him from the hard blows of life.
At other times,
your young ones may get bloody noses, or have other traumatic
experiences, because of disobedience or poor judgment. They have
to learn that improper behavior has consequences, and you must not
shelter them from the pain of those consequences.
When one of our
sons was about seven, he stole a toy from our neighborhood store.
Ray saw it bulging out of his pocket and asked, "What's
that?" Then Ray walked him back into the store to confess
what he'd done and return it.
Now Ray felt that
the clerk was overly tough on the little guy, but it was important
that he not interfere. Ray could have said, "Wait a minute!
He's just a little boy"-but he didn't. He let it happen. And
to our knowledge, our son never stole again.