Biblical parenting is hard work but it doesn’t have to be difficult. The story of Creation and the Fall give greater clarity to our role as parents as well as 3 main Biblical principles for parenting.
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the conflict between parents’ roles: what the Bible says versus what society says
You’re stuck in a constant battle between being too much and too little for your child. It feels like a Goldilocks-style of parenting.
You can either control your children because you’re afraid of the long term repercussions of their mistakes.
Or you give them freedom and they blow it, which only swings you back to the other side of being a little too much.
You want your kids to grow up being problem solvers, go-getters, and independent thinkers. The Bible says to “train them up in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6) but what does that even mean? How do you do that?
Society either says, “Control your kids” or “Be gentle.” Again, too much or too little tends to be the way you handle that.
Mama, parenting is H-A-R-D work. But you just might need more parenting insight and less mom shame.
You can read all the awesome parenting books you want (I did) but unless they stem from Biblical truths, you’ll eventually run into trouble with parenting your kiddos and the role you should play as a parent.
three main biblical parenting principles
Not many people look at the story of Creation as an illustration of Biblical parenting principles. It shows us our role as well as three main parenting principles to abide by.
Your role is to be a guide (not a drill instructor, helicopter mom, or lazy mom) but one who sets boundaries while pursuing connection (through compassion) and implementing consequences when necessary.
(1) set boundaries with your kids
It’s tricky setting boundaries for your kiddos. Figuring out how to do them right will actually have them saying “thank you” because they get the freedom they really want.
Much of it is trial and error. Pick a space that is free enough for them to roam while also keeping them within safe limits.
And then communicate them to your kiddos. You can’t get mad at them if they never know where the boundaries are to begin with.
how the bible teaches us to communicate boundaries
“16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (NIV)
Start with setting boundaries around what your kiddos have permission to do (and what they don’t) and let them know the consequences of going outside the boundary.
the mistake to avoid when setting boundaries for your kids
Setting the boundaries is the easy part. Keeping yourself from encroaching on those boundaries yourself is something different altogether.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was smack dab in the middle of the garden, along with the tree of life. God didn’t keep them from having access to it as much as I’m sure He would have liked to do that.
He gave them free will to make mistakes and to deal with the consequences. The same free will he gives us and wants us to give our kids.
(2) what to do when your kid messes up (not if)
Children of the 80s were put in line with a belt or a switch. Many of them learning the thinner switches aren’t the better ones when it comes to getting your butt whooped.
We look at ourselves and think, “Well, I was raised that way and I turned out fine.” (But did you really?)
Sister, we grew up in a different time – and our kids are too.
Be the guide they need.
Dish out consequences appropriate for the mistake and continue in your connection with them through compassion.
“ To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’” (Genesis 3:17 NIV)
Let your kiddos know what they did and then let them know what will happen.
Do it with compassion and empathy. Your reaction to them during this time actually plays a part in their response afterward and even the long term effects.
Think about when you used to get in trouble – spanked, sent to time out, etc.
As Daniel J. Siegel says in the book No-Drama Discipline:
“When children are reflecting on their horrible luck to have such a mean, unfair mom or dad, they’re missing out on an opportunity to build insight, empathy, and problem-solving skills.” (p. 24)
Something God already knew. When Adam and Eve screwed up and ate the fruit, God showed compassion.
“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21 NIV)
Where they once hid because they felt naked, God sacrificed to bring them out of hiding – to cover their shame.
But he didn’t take away the pain of their sin. He still implemented consequences on their first-time offense.
(3) how to give consequences when your kids make mistakes
Sweet Sister, the way you handle the consequences will provide an amazing opportunity for you to teach and connect with your kiddo.
After changing the way I handle things with my Sweet Firefly (much of it required less yelling), we had a couple of instances where she didn’t fight about consequences at all. And afterward, she even hugged me!
Sure it took a little longer to get our solutions but we both still achieved our goals. Our hearts were no longer disconnected due to control and fear.
And the effects permeated through our whole house. Our home is more peaceful, even with the chaos of 5 kids and a dog.
It’s all because my focus became discipline and not punishment. My goal turned into instruction and Sweet Firely, my pupil. After all, that’s the origin of the word “discipline” – pupil.
Parenting is hard work, Sister. But it’s not complicated.
And you can do it with a little instruction, a lot of practice, and unfailing love and grace.