Biblical Parenting Tips 

 I’m certainly not a professional (though I have practiced on four of my own children,  plus many others at Sabbath School, campmeeting and babysitting), but a few people have mentioned to me that they have learned a few parenting ideas from me so I thought I’d share some with you.  May God bless your efforts to raise your children for Him.

Worship Time Proverbs 22:6   Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Our first duty as parents is to teach our children of Jesus and his love. The clothes they are wearing, the grades they made in school and even whether or not their hands are perfectly clean will all perish.  Only their character and whether they loved and served God with a willing heart will go with them into the grave.  

This training begins before the child is even conceived by the choices you as parents make, it increases during the gestation period with even your attitude and the things you listen to, but from the birth of a child extra efforts must be made.  One of these efforts is to have worship with your child morning and evening.  Length will increase as the child gets older.  The best way that I know of to interact with a small baby is holding, singing and giving them things to look at and hold that go along with the songs. The idea is to teach them to enjoy the things of God. 

This may be accomplished with the use of a special “worship box”  Contents may include:  

                                bells- for songs about worship bells ringing         

 kazoo or trumpet-for songs like Lift up the Trumpet or others of Jesus coming again       

  animals, birds and bugs, plastic or finger puppets- songs about Jesus making or caring for the animals    

            plastic foods- for songs about Jesus making our food taste good, or creation      

         flowers – for singing about the flowers Jesus made or our sense of smell      

                                           sunshine-May be a cloth covered board with ribbons for the rays- Jesus made the sunshine

               children of the world pictures on a stick or puppets – for songs like Jesus Loves The Little Children 

                                Cloth or felt flag with a picture of Jesus on it –For singing Jesus Loves Me or thankful songs 

                                  Rainbow sticks- for singing about the rainbow or God’s promises 

     Tick-tock sticks-for Singing it’s worship time or Clip-clop songs about donkeys, or tap, tap songs for hammers building the ark or little Jesus helping    

    Little Bibles- for teaching how to be careful with the Bible and for scripture songs or teaching the books of the Bible                                                                                                                                         

                             Angels – for songs about the care and protection of angels, Daniel in the lion’s den, etc. 

Note 1: If you do not know any children’s songs improvise adult songs.  Use just the chorus for very little children or make up new words to an old tune.   

Note 2: Dollar stores make good places to find a special container and cheap small toys. When the world celebrates Easter that makes a good time to get chicks that peep and bunnies that hop, etc.    Oriental trading post has an online website, and although you have to sift through lots of garbage, often it has finger puppets, flags and fabric markers and other small things.  Also souvenir shops for zoos, etc. make good places to get things for your box.  If you are “crafty” you can make a lot of things. You can make fingerloops with felt and pipe cleaners. Popsicle sticks with sturdy paper or felt make nice devices for children to hold.         

Teach here a little, there a little, Make up for shortness of time by using repetition-   Deuteronomy 6:5-7  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.                             

When teaching children, make it fun.  Watch their attention spans and cater to their likes and dislikes.  Once at campmeeting, we decorated kazoos.  I had planned a filler activity, but after the kazoos came out the children were intent upon playing their kazoos.  Trying to avert a bedlam of noise, I lined them all up in a “band” and we sang and played songs that went along with the theme of our program.                 

Also, my oldest son loved to do computer modeling.  I feared that he would get into things I didn’t approve of so we “ordered” different religious models for him to make.  Near the end of his short 14 years of life he began to come up with his own religious models that are a comfort to us today. Show them how to use their talents in a way that will glorify God, but don’t expect every child to sit down and study the Bible for hours. 

RedirectingMatthew 7:11   If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?  Yes, children need to learn to obey their parents, but not everything has to be a battle.  

For example, if a small child is tired on a walk, instead of threatening a spanking try making a choo-choo train. 

 If a child doesn’t want to eat his food, make an airplane of the fork/spoon and fly the food into the hangar.  (Use your imagination and make it fun)  Renaming food also works well -Encourage them to eat their broccoli trees or snow tree (cauliflower). More than once, our bread dough pizza crust got a little overcooked and broke in pieces, we named it puzzle pizza, and after a few times the little ones started asking for “puzzle pizza”  Junk food companies have learned this, let’s use it for healthy food.  

For long trips, take along “presents” for the child to unwrap at certain times to break up the monotony.  (These may be old toys wrapped up or Thrift store specials) We also always carried along a travel worship box with things to hold while singing the songs. 

Music- Proverbs 29:6   In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.  

 If your children are fighting tell them they may continue, but anything said must be sung in a musical fashion.  This works quite well actually, as it is hard to sing and be angry at the same time.

When waiting for Daddy in the car, instead of whining, make up a song “Hurry up Daddy.” Scripture songs are also an excellent option for teaching character formation.  Singing also works well for thermometer timing or timing hot and cold treatments.

Playing a Game- 1 Thessalonians 5:18    In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 

When in a particularly hard situation, make a game of finding the treasure of something to be thankful for. One time when finances were particularly tight and when the children asked for something the answer was inevitably no, we began to play a game.  “When Daddy gets his paycheck I’m going to get apples”  The next person adds what they are going to get and you go around the circle trying to remember each thing in order.  This gives them the opportunity to voice their desires knowing ahead of time that right now the expectation will not be realized. 

When the job is something like picking up the toys make it fun.  Time them and see how fast they can put them all in the bucket. (This can often be done by counting or singing a song they already know).

Treat your children as you would like to be treated- Prov. 3:27    Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.  Never turn down an innocent pleasure that is something important to your children.  One day, we were on a picnic and although we had a picnic table, my son wanted to use our new picnic blanket.  Upon thinking about the situation I put down the blanket beside the table and allowed him to sit on it.  Although unimportant to me, it made the difference between happiness and unhappiness to him.  By doing little things like this for your children they know you love them, and when you do occasionally have to say “no” they realize that you must have a good reason. 

Taking time to provide a replacementIsaiah 1:16.17 ...Cease to do evil; Learn to do well…  If for religious reasons you do have to say no, take the time to come up with a replacement idea.  Years ago, we decided, due to the music, smoke and general atmosphere, the fair was not a place we wanted to take our children.  Some years we went blueberry picking instead (yes, the kid’s enjoyed this).  One year the kids missed the expensive lemon slushies- We made our own concession stand and “sold” homemade slushies and vegetarian sandwiches. Many times, the time spent with parents doing something is what children covet most.  Canoeing and hiking in nature make great replacement activities for older children.  If they are adventurous go backpacking and dehydrate your own food.  Let them help plan.  Children love to do things they can help plan. Letting children plan a replacement by giving them a few guidelines is a great idea if you don’t have time yourself.

Teach your children to study from cause to effect;  Eccl. 7:25  I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:  Teach your children to study from cause to effect; show them that if they violate the laws of their being, they must pay the penalty by suffering disease. {CG 104.1} Both in the physical and the spiritual world, it is important to explain to our children that we are not just making rules up.  If you decide you will not watch television. Explain why.  If you decide not to listen to worldly music, search out from the scriptures what constitutes good music.  Teach them as they get older to study out topics for themselves using the Bible, a concordance and the Spirit of prophecy.  Teach them that when God asks us to do something it is always for our benefit even if it may seem hard to change or inconvenient at the time.      

Remember for yourself that many attitude problems exist because of food eaten or other clothing and environmental factors.  I noticed with my youngest that when he was cold, he was often grouchy – the addition of socks or a jacket often made a huge difference.  Since our, still in progress, change to  100% natural fibers in clothing and bedding we have also seen pain disappear from changing clothes and also sleeping more easily at night in natural fiber pajamas. 

Teach your children to hate sin (but not the sinner). Psalm 119:104   Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.  

           Proverbs 8:13   The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

1 John 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Psalm 119:128   Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. 

Ecclesiastes 3:8    A time to love, and a time to hate

Many people believe all hate is bad, but the Bible distinctly states that we are to hate evil.  It caused the death of our Lord and continues to kill and torture those we love.  Don’t tell your children they can play with the evil of sin.  Teach them to hate it.  If they don’t see the sinfulness of sin in its true light they will begin to love it and think it is not so bad.  You wouldn’t say to your child of a wood stove, “that stove might be a little warm, but you can feel it if you want to.”  Another word for faith (that overcomes the world, that is the victory) is conviction.  Without conviction it is impossible to please God. If you don’t have conviction the devil knows there is a hole in your shield of faith.

 Don’t teach them it’s OK to dabble in “grey” areas.  Grey is a mixture of darkness and light and there is no darkness at all in God’s way. Ephesians 5:11  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  1 John 1:5    This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

 One of the most dangerous practices of modern man is deciding where the line of right and wrong is for himself.  2 Cor. 10:12  For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.  We must teach our children to draw the line where God draws the line, not make our own standard.  Proverbs 14:12  There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Take time with each child and make them feel special BEFORE they act up.  Galatians 6:7   Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  Children left to themselves, like a garden, will inevitably grow weeds.  Take the time today to discourage the weeds.  

Many times I have seen frustration in my children and have taken them aside and sat down to talk to them.   Be your child’s best friend.  You would be surprised how many potential problems this has averted.  For small children, prewarning often does the same thing. – (“ You need to finish, we will be leaving in 5 minutes”)                                                          

                        Have something special that you connect on with each child. 

 My youngest is my “hugger”- he knows that Mommy can’t survive the day without her morning hug from him.                                                                             

            My oldest is my “right hand” girl – She does things very much like I would and we love to spend time “counseling” together while working or walking.      

       My middle daughter is my sweet singer that lifts my spirits with her song.  She even sings to me when I am sick and makes a wonderful distraction.  She also makes a great and willing replacement planner with direction.           

          My now deceased son, Trenton, was the one who always “tucked me in” at night.  This consisted of his talk time and making sure my light switch was flipped the right way.   He also served as “technical support”. Precious, precious memories!

 Don’t be afraid to use punishment when necessary. Proverbs 23:13,14  Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.   Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. In patience, and because you love them let them know that some behavior is unacceptable.  This may come in the form of a spanking or telling them “as long as you are under my roof.”  All children do not need the same level of punishment.  Tailor it to each one, but always make sure that they know you love them.  Once when giving, after much prayer (and through many tears)  the “as long as you live here, I’m responsible to God to raise you right” talk to my son, he broke down crying and said I’m glad to know you care that much and that you love me.”  

Last, but not least 1 Thessalonians 5:17   Pray without ceasing! Whenever I didn’t know what to do I always asked for wisdom from God.  He also can provide patience.  But, pray for the salvation of your children.  I firmly believe that God answered that prayer for my son, Trenton.  Although he’d had some battles before he died, he told me “Mommy, TV doesn’t even tempt me anymore” and later he said, “as far as I know now I’m ready to go to heaven (at the resurrection.)“  I know  God made up for my many deficiencies as a mother, and  if you ask Him, He will do the same for you.