God has entrusted you with a precious gift: YOUR CHILD’S HEART.
How BEST to handle that heart? Good question!
Here are some tips for parents:
Pray with and for your child that God’s will and purposes be fulfilled in his life. And that you will be a willing and teachable part of those purposes. Stay open to God’s leading.
Start pursuing him at as young an age as possible. It’s never too late to start.
Teach your child to honor God in everything he does.
Incorporate love and order into his life.
Plan and spend regular pleasurable times together with your child.
Develop and build trust in your relationship with him.
Give him permission to share personal things with you and use those to develop trust.
Stop talking and listen to your child.
Receive him in the moment.
Resist automatically “fixing” things for him.
Don’t label your child.
Call your child God’s names for him (Beloved, child of God, Shepherd’s lamb, Redeemed, a new creation, one who walks in the light, soldier for Christ)
Explore his God-given temperament for insight and understanding of God’s unique wiring of him.
Allow God to teach you through your child.
Receive your child as an instrument of heavenly sandpaper for your conformity.
Ask God to open your eyes to see what He wants you to see in this child.
Encourage your child.
Give firm established consequences. Don’t give in. Get counseling if you need help.
Let your discipline be solely behavior focused.
Stress that you will always love him no matter what.
Tell him you’ll always tell him the truth, and do it.
Display humility and admit your weaknesses.
Speak up when you need a break.
Deal with your own issues to prevent regularly wounding him. If appropriate, ask him to hold you accountable in your trouble areas in the relationship.
Give him permission to share with you things you do that hurt his feelings.
Show your dedication to the relationship by going to therapy together if necessary.
Do what he likes to do.
Stop and “be” with your child.
Ask him questions…If I could do something differently to help you, what would it be?
Be vulnerable with your child. Share times when you struggled as a kid.
Protect him from siblings, bullies and negative self-talk.
Respect his space.
Use boundaries in all your relationships, especially with him, to model strength, health, independence and comfort in saying No.
Share with your child lessons God has taught you.
Model for him dependence on God.
Apologize sincerely when you blow it.
Make room for his voice and opinion.
Stay tight/decent with your spouse/ex., if possible.
Teach him a strong work ethic, self-control and forgiveness.
Allow him to struggle out of his cocoon in life. Don’t rescue him from life’s consequences.
Let him be who he is.
Allow God to conform him into His image, not yours.
Give him the Blessing.
Learn his love language and deliver it regularly.
Never give up on him.
Give the relationship grace, truth, time and room to grow.
Confirm that your agenda is God’s, too.
Accept the struggles and differences in your personalities and do what you can together.
Be patient with him. He is in process just as you are.
You can always do something to maintain the relationship (emails, visits, calls, flowers)
Be strong in the Lord and stand on the Rock through the tough times.
Get the support you need so you can be the parent he needs.
Ask God to fill your heart with His love, wisdom and strength for each day.
Forgive him as God forgives you.
Dating– If your child should date an undesirable, be intentional about inviting them over together and gracefully get to know this person. Yes, it’s counterintuitive. In this approach, your child might see the date in a different light and have second thoughts. Otherwise, if you only reject/criticize the date, your child will likely pursue him blindly in defense of your criticisms and miss the opportunity to gain perspective.
Ultimately, our children belong to God and it is His will and purposes we want in their lives, not our own. Even if that means that we must grieve over our personal dreams and expectations for them. God wired our children and has a good and purposeful plan for them. Let’s live prayerfully, staying in step with Him and connected with their hearts as we raise them and release them into adulthood. He is faithful.
Psalm 127:3 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.
Proverbs 14:26 Those who fear the Lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children.
Exodus 13:14 “And in the future, your children will ask you, ‘What does all this mean?’ Then you will tell them, ‘With the power of his mighty hand, the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the place of our slavery.
Joshua 4:6 We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’
Psalm 8:2 You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.
Psalm 34:11 Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
Psalm 78:4 We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.
Proverbs 13:24 Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.
Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
Matthew 18:3 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”
Matthew 21:16 They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’”
Romans 8:16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
Colossians 3:20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.
1 Thessalonians 5:5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.
Hebrews 2:13 He also said, “I will put my trust in him,” that is, “I and the children God has given me.”
Hebrews 12:4-10 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. 6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?
10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
2 A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. 5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. 6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. 7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. 8 A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.
Revelation 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war.