3 Parenting Non-Negotiables
When it comes to parenting what are the basic things you cannot compromise on? What are your non-negotiables? Take a trip to the soccer field, a restaurant and even to church and you will soon find out the things you think are important are not necessarily important to everyone else. Why? Maybe it is because experience makes things clearer. Things parents can’t see are often clearer from a grandparent’s perspective.
Do you want children and grandchildren who your friends enjoy having in their home, that you don’t mind taking places or even that you enjoy being around? Those kinds of kids are made not born! Our responsibility is to teach them some basics that will bring honor to you as parents but more importantly to God.
So with that goal in mind, and a little experience to guide the way, we want to give you what we believe are “3 Parenting Non-Negotiables.”
“The eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.” – Proverbs 30:17
Wow! You might get a visit from Child Protective Services today if you were overheard telling your child this. This verse graphically points out that it won’t go well children who are disrespectful towards their parents.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.” – Ephesians 6:1-3
Parents who love their children ought to expect, even demand, respectful behavior.
In the culture that we live in it is especially important to teach our children respect and not allow even the most subtle look or act of disrespect to be tolerated.
Two areas to focus on and which should not be allowed are:
• An Unacceptable Demeanor
An eye roll, cutting of eyes or that “if looks could kill” look
A child who “obeys” but shows disrespect through their mannerisms. Such as the “I’m sitting down on the outside but standing up on the inside”, attitude
A crossing of the arms, stomping of the foot or sticking their tongue out at you
The right words but with the wrong attitude – “Yes M’aam!”
Back talk – rude answers, insults, arguing with you, explanations for behavior, etc.
Although it may be cute when they are young, if the behavior is allowed to go unchecked it will not be cute when they are older. We’ve already seen God will make sure it won’t go well for disrespectful children so it is very important to teach them respect.
“Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices”
– Colossians 3:9
Truth reflects God’s character; lies reflect Satan’s character. When we speak the truth we identify with God. As His children we must seek diligently to honor his good name, and to walk in a manner of worthy of the name “Christian”.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. - John 8:44
Dishonesty is the “intent” to make others believe what is not true, hiding truth or communicating half-truths. Ways to promote dishonesty with our words:
• Outright lies
• Lack of words
Not speaking up when silence allows another to continue to believe a lie
• Exaggeration to prove a point
Teach your children to “Say what you mean and mean what you say!” Often our words are designed to hide what we really mean instead of honestly and openly communicating truth. Remember God will hold us accountable for every careless word, because our words reflect our hearts and expose good or bad fruit. (Matthew 12:33-37)
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” – Ephesians 6:1
• Partial obedience - is disobedience
• Delayed obedience – Doing what they want to do when they want to do it.
When children do this they are in control. This is especially important when they are very young, in fact it may save their lives. For example, if a child is running toward the street and a car is coming, he better respond immediately when you say “Stop” or they may be hit by the oncoming car!
Wrapping it up
If you will take the time to put these three foundational non-negotiables into place when they are young by being strict and working hard you will establish habits and patterns that will allow you and others to enjoy your children and they will have learned lesson which will serve them well in the future.
Help your children see the forest, not just the trees. Sometimes as a parent of young children we see all the little details of parenting and become so overwhelmed we miss seeing the big picture. As a result we can be so legalistic we look and sound more like dictators than nurturers. Help your children simplify parenting by learning to apply principles to situations they face.
As a grandparent you are reading this and thinking, "I've already raised my children, this doesn't pertain to me." At this time in your life you have the unique opportunity to come alongside your adult children as they begin their parenting journey and coach them through. The platform God has place you on at this time of your life may be even bigger than you could have imagined! You also have the chance to pour into the lives of young parents who may not have a godly example to follow, whose parents aren't believers or who live a great distance from their parents.
You have a great opportunity to invest in the next generation of parents, don't miss it!
What are your non-negotiables for parenting?
If you read ESTABLISHED often you know we like to recommend resources we believe are helpful. In this case we think the best possible resource we could share with you is our Discover 4 Yourself series. As parents and grand parents this would be a great tool to use to train the next generation to study truth for themselves.