How do you separate the good from the bad in parenting methodologies? What are some good, general, parenting principles no matter the “method”?
Here are some pointers I use:
1. PRAY for wisdom (James 1:5)
James promises that if anyone is lacking in wisdom, God will give it to her (or him). I wrote in more detail about this in an article found here.
2. Know the Word
I believe that many popular parenting programs (and cults, and strange doctrines) would never see the light of day if people were familiar with the Word of God. The book of Proverbs is full of great parenting principles and would be a good place to start. Whenever someone is using a Bible reference in parentheses next to their opinion, always look it up to see what it really says, just to make sure. Remember, the Bereans were commended because they even double checked the Apostle Paul against what the Bible said! (Acts 17:10-12)
3. Choose your battles wisely
The most important thing when training your children is consistency in whatever you are doing. If you are flipping and flopping back and forth, changing the rules constantly, you will have some really frustrated children who are not sure what the rules are. If your children are not sure what the rules are, how will they obey? Would YOU want to try to please someone who was always changing the standard on you?
4. Be Proactive with Training
This goes with number three. Teach your children what you expect, and train them in doing right, instead of just correcting them when they do wrong. When they are little (toddlers/preschoolers) there usually is more correction going on, but as they grow, training them in what is right helps to make a happier home.
5. Practice Unconditional Love
Unconditional love means you demonstrate and express love to your child no matter what they do…it doesn’t mean accepting naughtiness, though.
In correcting the bad, and training for the good, we never ever ever ever never make “being good” the condition of our love, because God shows His love to us, in that, while we were still sinners, He sent Christ to die for us (Romans 5:8).
We need to reflect that in our love for our children.