The Framework
Author: Kylie Welch

Chapter 6
Framework Issue 3 - Parenting

Framework Issue 3 – Parenting

 

When my daughter was a cute little four year old she started having not so cute daily tantrums. These tantrums would start just after I got home from work in the evening.  They were so frustrating and it would usually take about an hour for her to calm down.  These tantrums carried on until she was about eight.  What stopped her was accountability. I got so fed up one day as we were driving somewhere because she was having a tantrum so I said “I am going to put a camera in the car without you knowing and record you so I can show your daddy how badly you are treating mum”.  It stopped, not for that day, but for ever.  She hasn’t had a tantrum since.  Now, you may not want to go to the extreme of threatening to put a hidden camera somewhere so you can record your children’s tantrums, but the concept worked for me, just this once.  On that note, I love being a mum and the majority of our time together is peaceful, fun and relaxed.  As I write this, my daughter is 13 and she is just lovely.  There have been many stages through the years that I would have happily have skipped, but looking back, I’m glad I couldn’t.  Imagine if God had that attitude towards us.  Can you imagine Him saying, “Well, Kylie is 19 now and she is getting really annoying, I think I will skip this stage and move on to when she is more mature.”  That could never happen, and nor could skipping the different phases we go through with our children.  The good news is, as with any topic under the sun, God has left us some guidance in His word.  Parenting has brought so many things into my life.  It has brought a deep and constant love, peace, patience, wisdom, commitment, fun, kindness, humility and learning how to put myself in second place.    If you are a parent, you will understand when I say that my love grows for Ariana every time I look at her.  It is not an insecure love, because of its depth, it can never be insecure.  It is a totally unselfish and giving kind of love.  I am always comforted in the knowledge that I am meant to have her love, because it was God that gave her to me and her dad.  She is a blessing to have in my life so this chapter will look at how I can enhance my love for her, enhance our relationship and to see what the bible has to say about parenting.  Let’s firstly look at some things I have done over the years that didn’t work.


 

What not to do

 

1.     Spoil

 

Admittedly, because Ariana is my only child, I do have more money and time to spend on her.  Currently she has the latest gadgets.  She has a laptop, a small LCD tv, cellphone, hair straighteners and trendy clothes.  For me, as a parent, it is not just the spoiling that is detrimental.  It is the child’s attitude.  If Ariana was to become conceited in what she owns or what I buy her, I would stop these privileges.  In the past though, I have brought her the latest toys on the market and one thing I learnt along the way is to just buy what is absolutely necessary for her to live a comfortable and successful life.  When she was eight, I renovated her room.  In order to do that, I emptied it.  You can imagine my shock to see that the contents of her room filled half of the entranceway in our house!  She had so much stuff that it was bordering on ridiculous.  If you are a parent, you will know that our children only use half of the stuff we buy them and this was the case with the things in her room.  When we had finished renovating, we put stuff back in her room and only a quarter of it ended up back in place, the rest we donated to charity.  It was then that I decided not to buy her unnecessary things.  The things I purchase for her now are practical stuff she uses for school, communication or socialising and most importantly, flights to Australia to see her dad.

 

2.     Shouting

 

Ariana and I used to shout at each other – a lot.  We don’t do that anymore.  A few years ago, I decided to act the same pleasant way at home as I did in public.  This meant no shouting, tantrums, put-downs or sarcasm – from me.  It changed our whole dynamic at home.  I made sure to tell Ariana that I was going to start being different at home and she was relieved.  It built some new boundaries within our relationship.  Now, when necessary, all I need to do is use the ‘mummy tone’ as I call it and she listens.  I also make sure I listen to her when she needs me, before this I would multi-task.  Now, I stop what I am doing and listen to what it is she has to say.  Shouting never did any good in our home, except make us more frustrated.

 

The Biblical Approach

 

1.     Training

 

I am sure you have all heard Proverbs 22:6 ‘Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it”.  If training is involved, that would mean consistency.  It would mean being focused on what it is you want to train the child in.  Important things like integrity, honesty, money management, morals and faith are all topics that could come under the training area of your parenting.  How many of you have adult children and have found that your adult children are thankful for way you instilled certain things into who they are?  I recently listened to a pastor who said he was so grateful to his parents for teaching him the principal of saving ten per cent of his money, giving ten per cent and living off the remaining eighty.  These kinds of principals can set our children up for success.

 

2.     Bitterness and exasperation

 

There are two scriptures about not being bitter (or mean) to your children and not to exasperate them.  The first scripture can be found in Colossians 3:21, it reads “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged”.  The second one reads “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord”.  This can be found in Ephesians 6:4.  It makes sense too.  Have you ever had a friend, or indeed been the friend who has had really mean parents who just stresses the friend out?  I have and I used to feel so sad for her because she was always exasperated with her parents.  They were over-protective and too strict and it made for a very unhappy friend.  The next point would be a better approach.

 

3.     Pleasant words and wisdom – Tone is IMPORTANT

 

I tend to try to follow this principal.  In Proverbs 16:21 it reads “Pleasant words promote instruction”.  If I were to storm up to Ariana and yell “I told you to tidy up your room and make your bed”, all red in the face and angry (or is that exasperated), she would get upset and angry.  It may even scare her but if I were to use wisdom and say something like “Ariana, don’t forget that as part of you earning your pocket money you have to clean your room and make your bed every day.  Why don’t you finish what you’re doing and within the next hour or so, make sure your chores are done”.  This would probably work better with her.  If she hasn’t done it after the hour is up, I would usually start to use the ‘mummy tone’ but by using pleasant words to start with, it diffuses what could potentially frustrate us as parents and it would give our children transition time.  A scripture that complements this one nicely is found in Proverbs 16:23 “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction”.  When it comes down to it, we love our children and usually know what’s best for them.  If therefore, we have a good heart of love and concern towards our children, we will let that guide what we say and use our words to promote the best way to instruct them.  Another issue with parenting is tone.  If you use an angry tone or a tone that instils fear with your children, it is not a good thing.  My father only ever yelled at me a few times, because he used it wisely but if he had yelled at me all throughout my childhood, my memories of him wouldn’t be as nice.  He used his tone effectively.  This is an important key.

 

4.     Fear the Lord

 

My daughter Ariana is blessed to be a second generation Christian.  I am the first person to become a Christian in my immediate family and Ariana, by default, became the second.  It is such a contrast to see my life against hers.  Because I had no faith based principals as a child, there are things that I did that Ariana hasn’t yet thought of doing.  Stealing money, wagging and lying are things that were part of my daily life but because Ariana has a deep knowledge of God and his principals, she has a filter that I never had.  We both fear the Lord in a loving and healthy way.  She prays at school when she needs help and she asks me to pray with her if her friends are in trouble or being bullied.  Proverbs 14:26 tells us that he who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.  It has worked for us so far, I trust it has worked for you also.

 

5.     Discipline

 

This is a heated topic in New Zealand.  It is now illegal to smack your children but I have to ask myself, does the bible talk about smacking when it talks about the ‘rod of correction’ or ‘not withholding discipline’?  There are at least five scriptures in the bible that I have found.  Proverbs 22:15 reads “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him” and again in Proverbs 13:24 it reads “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.  Proverbs 29:15 reads that the rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.  Proverbs 19:18 reads “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing part to his death.  Proverbs 29:17 says “Discipline your son, and he will give you peace, he will bring delight to your soul” and finally in Proverbs 23:13-14 it reads “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.  Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.  I wonder what the rod is.  As Christian parents, we have a responsibility to nurture and discipline our children.   Understanding biblical discipline would be to look into the nature of God.  When He disciplines us He usually does it to teach us something, something like self-control.  He does it by holding back, sending us to His word, bringing along a concerned friend.  He has never treated me harshly or spoken a harsh word to me.  He has only ever been kind and gentle in his dealings with me, even when I have messed up.  He simply shows me the error of my ways, tells me He loves me and sends me on my way.  This is a great way of disciplining because I don’t want to let Him down again.  To me, this is wisdom.  To me, discipline is to teach, disciple, coach and nurture – not smack or yell or use emotional manipulation.  Not too long ago, I did something I shouldn’t.  I knew I shouldn’t have been doing it but I was enjoying it.  Do you know how God disciplined me?  He set me aside from the thing that was causing me to do something I shouldn’t, He patiently showed me what I was doing wrong against His word, He then showed me the right way of doing it by sending me to a biblically based book on the subject and finally reminded me of His love for me.  That to me is discipline. 

 

The Framework

 

I have learnt a lot in this chapter and it has surprised me to recall how patient and gentle God is in His discipline.  We are His children.  He is the ultimate parent and always knows what is best for us.  He has put His instruction in the form of the bible and it pays to follow it.  As you have read in this chapter, there are some really wise scriptures relating to parenting.  If you have lived in a pattern of physical discipline, yelling, emotional manipulation, the silent treatment or frustration in your parenting, it may pay to make the decision to be the same at home as you are in public, unless of course you are a tyrant in public.  Parenting can be a loving and kind journey, it doesn’t necessarily have to be about physical disciplining or constant fights.  Joyce Meyer is known to say that ‘change requires change.  Only a foolish person thinks they can keep doing the same thing they have always done and get a different result’ so in essence, if things aren’t going well for you in your relationship with your child, change something.  If you don’t change, nothing will change.  But if you do change so will your relationship with your child.  Let’s have a look at our new parenting framework.

 

1.     Training you child up in the bible is all important.  Give them good foundations through your biblical knowledge of God’s principals

2.     Bitterness and exasperation is not a good way to treat your children

3.     Pleasant words and wisdom will go a long way.  Not only will your children enjoy your pleasant words, they will no longer feel fearful when you would normally get angry with them.  They may come to feel more understood.  Tone is important

4.     Fear the Lord in all things and by your faith, your children will have a biblical knowledge of God’s principals

5.     Discipline is not about hitting or yelling.  Think about the ways God has disciplined you in the past.  He has never yelled at you or hit you but you know when He is guiding you away from something harmful, try this principal with your children

 

Key Point 3 – Parenting

I can parent with wisdom, kindness, godly discipline and patience. I don’t have to yell.

 

Prayer

 

Heavenly Father,

 

You now my ways.  You know my parenting style.  I am sorry for the times when I have parented badly, and there have been many of those times.  I admit that some of my parenting skills may have come from the way I was parented but I would like to style my parenting on the way you parent.  Let me mirror your parenting style.  You are only ever kind to me, you have never yelled at me and you are always full of grace and pleasant words.  I love the way you have treated me in the past.  Even when I did something wrong, you didn’t hit me with a rod, or yell harsh words at me, you were kind and gently guided me toward the truth.  Let me be the kind of parent that would make you proud and would cause my children to become the person they are meant to be.  Parenting is all about guiding another human being towards being the best they can be.  Help me use the right parenting tools at the right time.  If my child needs kindness when I’m feeling frustrated, please help me recognise and act on this.  When my child needs discipline, please grant me wisdom to know how best to deal with the situation.  Help me keep my temper so that I don’t cause myself to become a bad example.  Keep me looking to you always for my parenting skills.  Thank you so much for my beautiful child.  I pray you will continue to protect her as she grows, and allow her to grow in your likeness.

 

I pray this in Jesus Christ name.

 

Amen


 

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