We are continuing to look at 10 principles of effective parenting:
Let your kids know often that you love them just as they are…“Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God” (Romans 15:7).
Remember the story of the Prodigal Son in the Bible? The real focus of the story should not be on the son but rather on the father who waited daily for his rebellious son to return to him, and when he did return, the father accepted him with open arms of forgiveness. This father is a picture of God. It is also a beautiful example for all of us parents. I think that this is especially needed with our daughters. One of their biggest needs is to find security in a relationship. In this search for security, they will often compromise their values. Pastor David Jeremiah says that “For many little girls, life with father is a dress rehearsal for love and marriage.” Would to God that our daughters would find acceptance and security with we who they call, “Daddy.”
Discipline your children when they need it…“He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently” (Proverbs 13:24)
This involves several principles. First, start early! Our daughter was a very strong willed child. One of the greatest pieces of advice that we were given through Dr. James Dobson’s excellent book, Parenting Isn’t for Cowards, was to win the battles of will early. The longer we allow a strong and rebellious will to continue unchecked, the more difficult it will become to break that will later. Second, stay balanced! Spanking is needed, but must be done correctly. Abuse is not Biblical discipline. As the child grows older, there should be less physical punishment and more verbal correction (this is not a tongue-lashing). By teen years, you are getting close to that fragile self-will where a paddle will do more harm than good.
I love the story Dr. Dobson tells in his book on parenting about a boy named Robert whose mother was scared to discipline him. One day he ended up at the dentist office. In his usual defiant way, he refused to get up in the chair. When the dentist insisted, the boy threatened to take off all of his clothes. The dentist simply said, “Son, take them off!” The boy stripped down to his underpants. The dentist again insisted that he get into the chair. The boy again threatened to take off all of his clothes if he were made to. The dentist again said, “Son, take them off!” The boy did and then climbed into the chair. When the dentist finished, the boy asked for his clothes. The dentist refused the request. Imagine the look on this boy’s mother’s face when her son came out into the full waiting area as naked as the day he was born. The mother and very embarrassed son walked down the hall, to the elevator and then to their car. The next day the mom came back to thank the dentist. She told him that anytime Robert did not get his way in public, he would hold her hostage by threatening to take off his clothes. The dentist was the first person to call his bluff and the impact on Robert was incredible.