How to Be an Effective Parent in a Defective World
Raising children is a challenge in today's world. Pop culture and peers exert a never-ending pressure on kids. Every day they are bombarded with the pressures and influences of drugs, sex, and violence.
Plus, the stakes are much higher for our kids than they were for most of us growing up. When I was a kid, I got spanked with a paddle after I threw snowballs at a bus. Another time, I got caught chewing gum and my punishment was to sit in the trashcan at the back of the classroom. But if I really wanted to be naughty, then I’d join the kids who smoked cigarettes in the school restroom!
In sharp contrast, our kids today can make one wrong decision and be HIV positive one-two years later. They’re only one wrong decision away from going to a rave party where they could fall victim to rape, alcohol and a lifetime of drug addiction.
As parents, our challenge today is this: We must find a way to navigate our children through the landmines of change, moral relativism, drugs, alcohol, peer-pressure, sexual immorality, and still raise them to be godly people.
But how are we to be effective parents in such a defective world? Are we to raise our kids in a bubble? Are we to live in fear all of their lives?
None of these are effective solutions. Thankfully, God has shown us through the power of his Word how we can teach our kids to actually break through the culture.
The first step to becoming positive parents in a negative world is to have clear-cut objectives.
There’s a saying that goes something like: “If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, you’ll hit it every time.” The same is true for raising our kids. As parents, we have to be able to identify our primary goal for our children.
So the question that we as parents should be asking ourselves is: “What am I trying to accomplish?”
God gives us His ultimate goal for our children: Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Eph 6:4)
As parents, we’re not to frustrate our kids by overcorrecting them, but we’re to bring them up in Christian teaching and discipline. This is how we will be able to help our children develop their full potential.
Sadly, this is exactly the opposite of what we hear from our culture. We’re taught that the real goal of our parenting is to make our kids happy. In other words, a our job is to make sure our kids are happy in every way so they’ll be successful and their life will turn out right.
Sound familiar? The truth is, this type of thinking only leads down a dead-end street.
In contrast, God’s dream for your kids is for them to be holy -- not happy. This requires that they be conformed into the likeness of His Son, Jesus.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29)
I believe that if our primary focus is to make our kids happy, they probably won’t be happy long term. But if we make them holy, the natural byproduct is a genuine joy.
Our goal as parents is to get crystal clear on the target. And this isn’t to produce perfect, talented machines.Our singular focus should be to help each one of our kids to become like Jesus -- disciplined, other-centered and holy and pure. Not because they are forced to, but because they want to.
It’s my prayer that struggling parents will be encouraged and empowered to be the kind of parents they’ve always longed to be.
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