Proverbs 22:6 [ESV] – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Here are nine tips for training kids:
- Parents are primary. Coaches, youth pastors, teachers, and other people are secondary in God’s line of priority for the raising of a child.
- Every parent homeschools. Even if your child goes to a school, they learn more in your home than they do anywhere else.
- The question is not if a child will be trained, but how a child will be trained. For example, ignoring a child trains them that they do not have value but is still a form of training.
- Parenting is about sowing and reaping. Like gardening, in one season of the child’s development, you are constantly sowing lessons that will not blossom until a future day. Faith keeps sowing even if the reaping is not yet happening.
- Repetition is required. As you read Proverbs, you will find some things repeated multiple times, and the same things stated in multiple ways. Why? Training includes repeating because we are often forgetting what we are learning.
- Mom and dad must have a unified vision they present to the child. You cannot train a child to obey their mother and father unless the parents agree on what they are asking of the child. As Jesus said, a house that is divided will fall down, which is why unity is primary.
- Training can be exhausting because class is always in session. Your kids will need to learn the most important lessons at the least convenient and most exhausting times because God is using them to also teach you.
- We taught our kids the difference between 1) View 2) Voice 3) Vote. As much as was reasonable for their age and maturity level, we let our kids have a view into what we were doing as a family. Often, we welcomed our kids’ voice into the conversation so that as we made decisions they were heard and considered. Sometimes, we let the kids vote and decide what we would do as a family. This was our way of training our kids to respect authority but also learn to dialogue issues and make decisions.
- Teach the kids what is happening and why. As parents, we often simply wish that our children would obey what we tell them to do. But they also need to learn to make their own decisions and so, telling them not just what to do, but how and why, is part of training. For example, I once boarded a flight with a family and the kids were freaking out because there was a line, they had to sit in a seat, and wear a seatbelt – things they did not know about because their parents had not trained them what it means to fly on a plane.
Which of these things did your parents succeed at? Which of these things did your parents struggle with?