Biblical Advice on How to Raise Children

Writer Author  Sylvia Huffnagle
Christian Article : Parenting  - Fiction  No

Christian Author Writer I read a book by a famous Christian psychiatrist in the 80s. It’s purpose is to counsel parent in how to raise their children. I must critique it, so here goes…

Much of what he had to say was good, but on the parenting section, I found these exceptions:

He recognizes the power struggle between children and parents. He then establishes that parents are supposed to be in authority, but in this book he does not empower them to follow through as the authority.

He talks about children’s wrong emotional reactions--why they do bad things--but he does not want parents to declare that their actions were wrong--the parents are not to assert that these rebellious acts are sin.

(I believe that we were much better off back when we did not fear our children and followed biblical teaching on how and when to discipline them. The plan was to be consistent and effective in discipline and we knew that children who remained rebellious were no longer teachable, at that point, and were left to hang themselves so to speak. The hope was that they might learn the hard way and come home as the prodigal had done.)

We used Scriptures such as:
Lev: 20:9: For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him

Deut: 21:18-20: If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20: And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

1Cor: 5: To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

In the Bible, the children’s hang-ups and sins were not laid at the feet of the parents. They were responsible for not reprimanding their children, but in God’s sight, they were not responsible for their malfunctioning.

Speaking about parental obligations, I believe there is an imbalance here and I must cry, “Parent abuse!” I’m referring to all the teaching and conversations I’ve heard and read concerning child rearing.

I never hear the teachers and speakers coming down heavy on the children for their disobedience, nor for not honoring their parents, though God’s teaching in the Bible lays more demand upon the children to obey their parents than it does on parents trying to be perfect parents and there is no mention, in the Bible, of parents having to tiptoe around their children.

These instructors are very understanding when it comes to children and criminals’ misbehavior, after all they don’t know any better. But the responsibility to be a good parent is treated as imperative. The parent is under a heavy and impossible responsibility.

This is not balanced. In truth, the parent is to follow the instructions in the Bible and leave the results to God. He is able and He gave the freedom to choose to all mankind--meaning children have choices to make and the parent is no more empowered to make them make the right choice than God is to usurp people’s free will.

Parents are people too. They were raised by imperfect parents and taught be imperfect teachers and live in an imperfect world. So the same excuse goes for them. They do not understand and they weren’t raised right.

I’m calling for balance. We should glean all the wise, loving, and helpful things parents can do and teach them, but it would be better as a counseling class for both parent and child where the children are also made to see their responsibilities. YES, SUSSESSFUL CHILDREARING IS A CORPORATE ENDEAVOR CALLING FOR COOPERATION FROM BOTH PARTIES.)

The Bible is balanced and correct. I gave you some scriptures about dealing with rebellious children. Below are scriptures about how to teach and discipline, and scriptures to temper it all with loving-kindness.

Prov: 20:11: Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

Prov: 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Prov: 22:15: Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Prov: 23:13: Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

Prov: 23:24: The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.

Prov: 29:15: The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Prov: 29:21: He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.

Below are the scriptures for tempering and the guide to successfully handling children. Here is the balance between disciplining, chastising, and nurturing your children. Put it all together and always weigh the offense and correction, and weight the need to teach the child and the need to love the child. By following the Bible teachings you will have the balance. Walk in love toward your children and be a good parent.

1Cor: 13:4-8: Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5: Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6: Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7: Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8: Charity never faileth:

Gal: 5:24-25: And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Eph: 6:1-4: Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2: Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3: That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 4: And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

1Tm: 3:12: Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

So what are the parents to teach the children? God’s teachings and precepts, which are the official guide to a successful, happy, healthy life. I know that one can live by the Word and still get sick or run into major difficulties, but I also know that if one sticks with God, they will win, whatever the challenge is.

God’s teaching and wisdom are true, but two and two is four and if other values get in there, it is no longer four. That’s why it can appear that one is doing everything right and yet the outcome was not the one God said would happen. Back to the article…

He says God never motivates us by fear or punishment. He is using God’s dealings with us as a role model for how we deal with our children and that is good, but he is in error again about what God does. Jesus talks about eternal life, damnation, and hell fire a lot. Why? Because He doesn’t want us to go there. But He is using the fear of hell as one means of convincing people to get right with God.

Matt: 5:29: And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Rev: 2:21-23: And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22: Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23: And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

Secondly, God does chastise His children:

Heb: 12:5-6: And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Rev: 3:19: As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

So the writer, all through the book, tells us to deal with children the way God deals with His obedient children and I have a problem with that because parents aren’t consulting doctors about how to raise an obedient child. The problem is how to deal with a rebellious or self-willed child.)

His main theme seems to be that God’s love means we are accepted and worthy just the way we are and that we should convey this to the children.

But no one is accepted and worthy with God until they repent and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The main theme of the Bible is that God has given us Jesus to meet all our needs and that we are accepted and worthy as we abide in Him.

Eph: 1:4-7: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6: To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

1Jn: 2:28: And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

The writer ignores the enmity that is between God and our carnal nature. This same enmity is the problem we have with our children and he’s right we should deal with our children as God deals with us. In this case, God calls for us to be reconciled back to Him by repenting and receiving His Spirit--being born again of His Spirit--being made spiritually alive as Adam and Eve were before the fall.

Rom: 8:5-7: For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6: For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7: Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8: So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Therefore the answer on how to deal with children is to work hard at getting them to see things from God’s perspective. It is not to manipulate them and that is what a lot of this new way of handling children is. Manipulation is taught in Christian circles as witchcraft, so how come it’s the best way to raise children?

He then goes into teaching that parents must be flexible and understanding. I think that this admonishment is responsible for a lot of parents’ double-mindedness which causes them to be indecisive and ineffective as teachers for their children. But if the parents use the Bible as their guide on flexibility and understanding, they will be rightly influenced in their decisions.

The Bible teaches us to walk in love and be led by the Spirit. The guideline for when to be flexible is when the question of what is the purpose of this rule and will that purpose be violated if I back down on this, is answered. Then you will know when to stand firm and when to give in.

Mk: 2: 23-28: And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. 24: And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? 25: And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? 26: How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? 27: And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

The reason the Israelites were not to eat the shewbread was because God had established it as a holy item to teach the people to reverence that which is holy and as a symbol of the bread of life--Jesus, who to be reverenced. Therefore when the men needed sustenance more than a lesson in the holy, the Son of Man who was led by the Spirit of God could judge this action acceptable.

The question of what is the purpose of the rule and will the purpose be violated by the breaking of the rule is answered--no, the purpose is not violated because a greater law superseded it--the law of sustaining life was greater than obedience to a law meant to teach a lesson. And the law was not done away with, merely waived in that case.

I hope this helps parents solve their dilemma about where to insist upon the right way, the best way, and the compromised way.

Sylvia Huffnagle

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