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Christian parenting is different because it teaches us as we teach our children. Our children become a mirror and an educator. As we love our children when they are exasperating and disobedient we learn a bit more about how God loves us when we are like them. When we feel overwhelming love for them, we get a taste of what the Lord feels for us.
Through our children we see what is good and not so good in us. They expose our playfulness and selfishness, our lack of patience and our determination, they show us that we can love beyond anything we had imagined and be pushed beyond our limits.
If we are willing and we are looking, the Lord will use them as our instructors. What they teach us we can then take to the Lord for Him to change and grow. Christian parenting grows us all.
It probably is not drastically different than any other family life. There is spilled milk, homework, driving the kids all over creation, chores undone, crayon on the walls, giggles, dirty hands, argumentative teenagers and tired parents in most homes. What is different is the presence of Christ.
Christian parents have Christ Himself there to help and guide and joy in the family. At any moment a parent can close their eyes and step into the presence of Christ to calm, to encourage, to talk with.
In a Christian family most everything can be a teaching moment. Meals are opportunities to talk of the diversity of foods God has made and how He provides. Nature -
For this reason many Christian parents choose to homeschool, to live life alongside their children and use those teachable moments. Read more about Christian homeschooling here.
I'm not sure how we got here but our nation is raising a whole crop of brats. It is as if we have forgotten that we are the parents and in charge of setting boundaries and teaching them to be decent human beings that don't think only of themselves.
Kids at the grocery store, at church, in the schools are no longer as respectful and obedient. And parents seem to fear their kids and allow them to be defiant, demanding and contemptuous of anyone that does not cater to them. Yuck.
If your children will not respect you, follow your direction, and believe that you have their best in mind even when you say "no," then how do you ever expect them to do that with God?
"Discipline" means to disciple. It is not about punishment but about teaching. Discipline has a bad rap in our current culture, but think of it this way. In order to have the freedom to play any type of music on the piano you would have to go through the discipline of hours and hours of practicing scales and fingering exercises and playing less difficult pieces.
Discipline leads to freedom. If we discipline (teach) ourselves to save money every month, then we have freedom to take a great vacation. If we teach ourselves to eat healthy and exercise then we have more energy for play and daily living. If we learn to study then we have a mind that can think through every issue that presents itself.
Our mandate as Christian parents is to disciple our children to know, love and follow Christ and we do that through the small, daily opportunites on every level.
And FUN is part of that. Christ went to parties, he hung out and had meals with those He met. He taught and He played. He joked around with His disciples and gave them nicknames. Christianity is not about being dull and boring it is about having the freedom through discipline to truly enjoy life.
Has your Christian parenting been less than you wished? That's okay. Today is a new day and you can relearn new ways to be with the kids.
First, go to the Lord, ask for forgiveness where necessary and help.
Second, learn whatever you need to, in order to be the best parent you can be for the kids God has given you. There are tons of great books out there and here are two sites (listed to the left) I suggest for more information on raising great Christian kids.
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This is just a fabulous site! I highly recommend it and believe you will enjoy it too.
This site is specific to child behavior and has good information on raising your kids at every stage.