Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Parenting Advice

Another Covenant pastor recently posted his advice on marriage on his blog. It inspired me to do something similar with raising children.

Discipline. And love.
The two are mutual--not exclusive. They have to go together. If you find yourself disciplining out of anger or any emotion, take a breather. Discipline only because you love your child and want them to learn to behave better.

Other discipline advice:
Be consistent. Don't give them a time out for a tantrum one time and ignore it the next.
Follow through. If you're counting to three so that your child does what you've told them to do, make sure it that it means something when you reach "three." Otherwise they just learn that "three" means nothing.
Be immediate. Don't delay. Yes, there are times when you might have to hold off the punishment until after you're home from the doctor's appointment (or wherever you're going), but let your child know that there will be consequences to their behavior right away , and let them know when it will happen.
Be firm, yet gentle.

Never connect their behavior with your love for them. It's easier said than done for us, I know.

Kids need sleep. I'm a big proponent of early bedtime. Most kids in early elementary school need 10-11 hours of sleep. Most parents need time without their kids around. I do know that my boys have more meltdowns on days they get to sleep later than usual.

Remember that your children are your responsibility. Schools aren't a place where we turn our children over to let them raise them. Neither should we turn the responsibility of spiritual development over to Sunday School.

Pray. Pray for them Pray with them. Our children know that before a meal, we thank God for the food He has given us. It doesn't matter if we're at home or out to eat. The kids know we do that. Before they go to bed we read some books, read a Bible story or family devotional, share something that we're thankful for and pray. Even if we're running late for bedtime, the kids know we will at least pray.

Love God. Love your spouse. Love your children. In that order. Make sure you let your children see how you love your spouse in appropriate ways. Let them see your arguments (so that they learn how to work through disagreements in appropriate ways); never let them (or your spouse) think that divorce is ever an option. Make sure they see how you love God as well.

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