What Your Child Really Needs to Survive

The rod and reproof give wisdom; but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29″15

A few years ago, I suggested parents instill certain important beliefs in their children. Along with a strong belief in God and His love, I recommended parents also instill a strong belief in their ability to cope and to overcome. They were:

  1. I believe… I am capable. The Lord and I will overcome.
  2. I believe… I am significant. God made me special.
  3. I believe… I am not helpless. I and the Lord can affect what happens to me.

Now I will add four more skills suggested by S. Stephen Glenn.

1. Self-discipline

“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls” Proverbs 25:28

A goal of any parental training program must be to instill self-discipline into the future young adult. A desired skill is to impose just enough external control early, and then knowing when to lift the controls as the child assumes responsibility for his own behavior.

It is a sad thing to see a person who has never been disciplined as a child and has no self-discipline as an adult. It is also troubling to see parents withdraw external controls during the adolescent years when the child looks mature physically but is immature emotionally and spiritually. And lastly, it is disheartening to see a parent keep the lid on their child on into young adulthood and watch what happens when the lid finally comes off.

Never forget that the word discipline comes from the same word meaning ‘to disciple’. Discipline is not punishment (it has the restraint component – yes) but it must also have the training component in order to make it effective. For a child to internalize discipline, it must be done in love and bring positive rewards to the child.

2. Interpersonal Skills

“A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.” Proverbs 18:19

Getting along in this world depends a lot on getting along well with others. This starts early as children play with other children. Parents must teach the skills of sharing and caring for the rights of others.

Most adults who are fired from their jobs are let go not because they do not have the skills, but they are let go because they cannot get along with their supervisors, their fellow employees and customers. I have heard it said, “Everybody likes friendly attention and cooperation–we always get it if we give it”.

Fighting is the greatest problem I had on the school playground. When the guilty were sent to my office, invariably they would tell me that their daddy told them to defend themselves. When I called the Dad he would confirm this, “I tell my son to stick up for his rights.” Parents are more concerned with who threw the first punch than the violence and the injuries that ensued. A black eye is a rewarded trophy when he gets home.

Parents are too ready to jump in and defend their child instead of allowing their child the right to work out his/her problems with his friends as well as enemies. Children should be taught to respect teachers and all authority, and to reject violence.

We must teach our children the skills of negotiation. They must learn to accept the views of others. Jesus never taught us to “stick up for our rights.” He taught us to do the right and accept the persecution from others who did not understand us.

3. Responsibility

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” Proverbs 22:29

Commitment and responsibility are so needed today. We are raising our children to be become successful Christians, adults and parents – this takes commitment.  The second largest reason for people losing their jobs is that employees are not faithful, not committed to being on time and then not carrying out their responsibilities.

The skill of responsibility is so important to your child for we all measure ourselves by the responsibility we successfully shoulder. It gives us all a feeling of worth.

We teach the skill of responsibility to our child by giving him duties and making sure that he carries through. Responsibility without accountability brings no result. If the child shirks the responsibility and there is no consequence – we have taught them a lesson promoting unfaithfulness.

Too often we cover for them and ‘bail them out’. It is easier to do it ourselves than to undergo the strife and stress of making sure the child completes the assignment. If you assign it, mean it and make sure it happens.

4. Judgement

“My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.” Proverbs 5 1,2

I read about a little guy who asked his father, “Dad, what do they mean when they say a fellow has horse sense?”

His father replied,   “He can say, ‘nay’ son.

Judgement is easier ‘caught’ than taught. This skill is learned mostly by watching what the parents love, value, watch and spend their money on. In other words: Parents should know the way, go the way and only then can they show the way.

On the other hand, in the studies that show what keeps kids away from drugs, alcohol and sex, the number one deterrent is: Parents who talk to their children about the consequences.

Parents, we have to take time to talk to our children, passing on the wisdom and understanding of God.

In closing, our children do not need Nike shoes and designer clothes. They need you and your training. Remember, what is cute as a child may not be appreciated when they become adults.

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