The final words on “building up a child”. We are on the last two items of our list, tips 4 and 5:
Tip 4: Do not smother
There is such a thing as “over-parenting”. We can try to make every decision, prevent every hurt, and cushion every fall. However, by eliminating the small pains and the little failures, how will our children learn to deal with the bigger issues in life when they are out of their teens? By coaching them through the small stuff, you are equipping them to first go to God in prayer when making decisions, use their reasoning process when they are confronted with difficult situations, and learning that life will be riddled with challenges no matter what they do to avoid. Teach them to not sweat the small stuff, and be sure to put the past behind. Do you know someone who drags around their past like a “ball and chain”, preventing them from seeing the gifts God has planned?
There is a fine line between “Trust but verify” and “Do not smother”. Allowing my daughter to go to the movies with a group of friends and driving there myself to make sure that she actually went to the movies was “Trust but verify”. I exercised “Do not smother” by letting her go with a group of children that were not high on my list of acceptable friends. In the end, she discovered for herself that this particular group was lacking a moral compass.
Tip 5: Surround them with a village
Lastly, don’t let your child stay in their room playing video games. Children need five adults invested in their lives that are not family members. These adults will be their teachers, coaches, youth pastor, neighbor, or other parents in your circle. I am thankful for the godly women who took the time to listen to my girls when they were experiencing life challenges in middle school and high school. There were instances where I was telling my daughters the same thing another mom said, but they heard it differently from someone else. The constant reinforcement by the adults in your child’s life will prepare them for leaving the nest and going off to college or living on their own. Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
My daughter was friends with a young girl whose parents would not allow her basically “out of their site”. She was not trained up to make decisions and choices on her own. You can imagine what happened when she went off to a bible college. She was accountable for her actions for the first time, and made really poor choices, drinking, parties, etc. That is not to say if you allow your child to make decisions while living at home that they will still not make poor choices out on their own. Our hope is that the Holy Spirit is nudging their conscience, and they only have brief lapses of judgement.
As you already know, parenting is the toughest job you will ever have, but oh the most rewarding. Know that you are not alone. God is right there with you, and don’t be afraid to reach out to other parents to partner with you in “building up YOUR child”. Tony Evans has several good books that you should check out.
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