Families are always learning. There is no recipe for success. But there are certainly some ingredients that are critical to raising successful children. Meditate on this post and learn what is the main one that you can not miss in your home.
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My parents were visiting us. Rapha and I were preparing a sketch of a parenting lecture for pregnant parents. After debriefing and completing our notes, I decided to ask my mother what was the most important point on this subject in her opinion. She is always asked to care for small children while their parents work, because they trust her and admire the way she raised me and my sister.
Her response was immediate and made us adjust our notes, for she brought up a fundamental issue that we had not considered. She said simply “be firm”. Parents need to be firm in dealing with their children or all their effort will go down.
You, LORD, give perfect peaceIsaiah 26:3
to those who keep their purpose firm
and put their trust in you.
A firm foundation
Every foundation must be firmly established. Otherwise, it will soon collapse, causing great losses. No parent creates their children to be a kid at their destination, but to be an adult. Opportunities will come and with them responsibilities that require preparation. Thus, if a child does not receive a child-based firm, it will not bear the burden of the obligation in the near future.
This firmness is important because it reveals coherence. So parents need to communicate and be in agreement. The way we act influences our children’s behavior more than our words. And both are important. They need to observe our attitudes consistent with our discourse. And they expect clear communication when we guide them.
If our children need to hear something, we need to make sure we get their attention before we talk to them. Eye in the eye is the best way to ensure this clear and firm dialogue. In fact, children are always more attentive to us than we realize. You can see this when parents are talking to each other and start a topic of interest to children. They immediately silence and focus on the conversation, to which they are not invited.
But they also have the ability to show distraction when we tell them something they dislike. Kids pretend they are not listening and keep busy with anything else. This is where many parents keep talking in the wind, shouting or giving up on communicating with their children. But we can call them by name and make sure we are heard and understood about what we tell them.
And if we speak and are heard, we must demand that they obey. That is being firm. We prefer to avoid talking to our children than to say something without requiring them to do so. Imagine after two or three times that your children heard your command, they did not obey and nothing happened to them. They would be learning to disobey, disrespect, ignore your person as well as any authority over them. This is very serious and expensive in the future.
A real enemy in this process is the inappropriate use of the cell phone. We see this sad scene in all environments: parents ignore their children while interacting with other people or any app on their cell phones. This device is important at times, but should never compete with the attention of your children.
When we really need to use the phone to access information or complete some task, we ask our children to wait a moment. And as soon as we have saved the phone, we will give the dedication that they need. Be very careful to avoid this interference because your children are no doubt more important and deserve priority.
So they realize that they are genuinely valued and can count on us. We affirm them as beloved children when we invest in this relationship recognizing their potential.
However, we see many parents despising the short time they have with their children. They do not want to pay the small cost of teaching them to listen and obey. Then they need to finance a debt that has been lifted for a lifetime. You will avoid much prejudice in deciding to be firm in dealing with your children. It means loving them for real, and thus protecting their future and your own as well.
Discipline your son, for there is hope;Proverbs 19:18
do not set your heart on putting him to death.
Our children have already passed the spanking phase. We used to apply slippers especially because of the noise they make. This was necessary from the second through the sixth year of age. Now we return to use only the tone of voice, which was exactly what we did until their first year of age. To speak firmly is enough for them to understand the message. Some words like “now” or “this is the last time I’m warning you” help to show the urgency required for obedience.
Otherwise there will be some kind of punishment. Watch, if you want to lose your child’s respect, speak up and do not do it. They will soon realize that even you do not take what you say seriously. When we promise something to our children, they know we are sincere. If you do not finish lunch there will be no dessert. Then, dessert only after lunch is over. Or no dessert. To do so is not always easy, but it is simple.
Being firm is not optional. Your children really have this expectation of being affirmed, demanded and even disciplined. They need that safety that only you can offer. Thus, living with your children will become much more tasty if you decide to be firm in dealing with them.
Just remain firm in the way you talk to them, how you correct and love them consistently. So, what do you need to adjust in the way you relate to your children?
For the righteous will never be moved;Psalms 112:6
he will be remembered forever.
Prayer: God, I thank you for being my Good Father. I also want to be a good father (good mother) to my children. So I ask for your help so that I truly love them, being consistent and steadfast at all times. Help me raise my children to success and to your glory, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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