Ten Ways to "Train Up A Child"

  • Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC
  • Series: Spring 2008 Volume 15, Issue 2
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Having a high level of awareness of your effect on your children is a great way to increase the "when they are old, they will not depart (from the way they should go.) " Wanting our children to be successful and responsible is as natural as bathing and feeding them. Here are a few ways to help your kids attain Godliness with contentment which the bible says is great gain. Be aware this means attention to things (work) on your part that perhaps you wish you would not have to do. (You know, why can't they just do what you say?) You may feel overwhelmed, but our Heavenly Father is available isn't He? And, He has raised us from babies as well, even though all of us still are growing into who He wants us to be. You can be sure He is to be counted on to help continue to "train you up" as you raise your children and "train them up."

1. Model trust in God yourself

Yes, your kids are watching very closely. They see how you respond to frustration, they see how resilient you are, and they see whether you're aware of and/or talking to God about your own feelings, successes, and failings, and the feelings and failings of others.

2. Be willing to say "yes" and "no" to your kids

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you are just prepared to say "no" when your kids ask for something. Like the V-8 commercial, become aware that sometimes your kid's requests are just fine to say "yes" to.

On the other hand: There's a lot of stuff out there for kids. And your kids will ask for a lot of it. Saying no will give your kids an opportunity to deal with disappointment, and to learn impulse control. To a certain degree, your job as a parent is to allow your kids to be frustrated and to work through it. Kids who always get what they want typically aren't very happy.

3. Be aware of your parental "hotspots"

Know what your issues are--what makes you come unglued, and what's this really about? Is it not being in control? Not being respected? Underneath these issues lies a fear about something. Get to know what your fear is if that is what it is. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. Invite Jesus in to your "hotspots." You will notice that gradually you're less likely to come unglued when you're with your kids if you are bringing this before the Lord. "What God desires is honesty in the inward parts, and in the inmost parts He will give you wisdom." Ps 51:6

4. Practice and hone your skills at being non-judgmental with others.

Avoid name-calling when someone disappoints you or is unsafe-let's say in traffic. Say, "he seems angry," rather than, "what a jerk." When your kids are whiny or crying, saying things like, "what's up" or "you seem sad," will always be better than just asking them to stop. An ounce of paying attention to uncomfortable feelings is worth a point of resentment for ignoring them. Depriving kids of your attention to their feelings will only drive them underground and make the sad, mad, bad feelings stronger.

5. Start coaching your kids

You can start coaching your kids to help them to be more responsible. Instead of, "get your hat and gloves," you can ask, "what do you need to be ready for school?" Constantly telling your kids what to do does not help them to develop confidence and responsibility.

6. Always be willing to be part of the problem

See yourself as having something to do with every problem that comes along. Most problems in families get bigger when parents respond to them in a way that exacerbates the problem. If your child makes a mistake, remember how crucial it is for you to have a calm, reasoned response. You've never made mistakes...right?

7. Get your kids involved in household duties at an early age

Research suggests that kids who are involved in household chores from an early age tend to be happier and more successful. Why? From an early age, they're made to feel they are an important part of the family. Kids want to belong and to feel like they're valuable. A way to promote that is the statement/attitude: We belong in this family by making things work. Each does their part. That is who we are.

8. Limit your kids' access to mass media mania

Young kids need to play, not spend time in front of a screen. To develop creativity and problem-solving skills, allow your kids time to use free play. Much of the mass media market can teach your kids about consumerism, sarcasm, and violence. What your kids learn from you and from free play will provide the seeds for the real future..

9. Talk about behavior as a family

State your goals as a family. These might be no yelling, no name-calling, be respectful at all times, etc. Families that talk about their goals are more likely to be aware of them and to achieve them. As the parent, you then have to "walk the talk."

10. See your kids as wonderful

There is no greater way to create confidence in your children than to see them as wonderful and capable. The truth is, "what you think about expands." (...as he thinks in his heart, so is he...Prov. 23:7) If you see your children and think about them as wonderful, you'll get a lot of "wonderful." If you think about your children as problems, you'll get a lot of problems.


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