Psalms 127:3 declares that children are a heritage from the Lord. Parents may be hard pressed to remember this when their preschooler is pushing the limits of their patience. The relationship parents have with their children is multi-faceted. There are many emotions involved including love, pride and anger. Most parents and children experience the highs and lows of family life. There is happiness and tranquility, then turmoil and conflict. A family seeking to live by God's principles can find wise advice in the Bible. Both the Old and the New Testaments contain verses that address most situations families will face at some time. These scriptures are comforting and reassuring but also convicting. Since there are no perfect parents or children, many may think that their mistakes cannot be overcome. However, the Bible teaches that the adult-child relationship can become stronger in spite of human error.
1 John 3:16 says, " Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." This certainly applies to parents and their toddlers and preschoolers. God makes this promise in Psalm 103:13: "As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him." Both love and compassion are unconditional and are the basis for maintaining a strong relationship with each other as the children get older. As the Bible says in 1 Peter 4:8, "Love covers over a multitude of sins."
Parents are their child's first teachers. They set the boundaries for behavior and instill their morals and ethics. This is a Biblical precept. God gave explicit directions to parents in the Old Testament. He instructed them to teach their children the commandments He gave them. This teaching was to be intense. In Deuteronomy 6:7, God says, "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Parents today may not be able to do this literally, but should strive daily to impress the importance of God's commandments to their children.
Most parents know that providing for their child's needs is one of their major responsibilities. A child's perspective may be different as she confuses needs with wants. It is the job of the parent to help their children understand that basic needs are important, but anything extra is a blessing from God. Jesus assumed that good parents would provide for their children without question. In Luke 11:11-12 He says “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?" "Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?"
Scripture refers frequently to discipline. The book of Proverbs has many references to the parental duties of training and correcting their children. Probably the most well-known is found in Proverbs 13:24: "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him." Corporal punishment is a controversial topic, and Christian parents are not encouraged to whip their child for offenses. They should, however, not leave misbehavior or the resulting consequences unaddressed. Later in Proverbs, a father is told to discipline his son, which results in peace and delight. Parents are obligated to admonish their children but not to the point that their child is embittered and discouraged. Like most aspects of parenting, discipline is a balancing act. God's word teaches parents how to correct their children in love.
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