The Parenting Playbook: A Biblical View of Parenting

      Children are a blessing, but sometimes they can seem like a curse. When they were young the answers were so simple.  Now, that they are older it seems as if your every direction is challenged and the likelihood of having a civil conversation is slim. You know that children need parents and not friends, the Bible says “spare the rod and spoil the child,” but it also says, “Fathers, do not provoke your child to anger.” The world is so very different from how it used to be, how do you find that balance between being domineering, a helicopter, or buddy parent? How do you get your point across without dulling it? How do you guide your children to make positive choices and wise decisions? How do you exercise authority without becoming a dictator? How about becoming a parent who coaches, who talks rather than yells, who leads rather than bosses, who honestly says, “do as I do,” and works to raise children to become responsible adults? Then strive to become a parent who coaches. Winning coaches have the balance between strength and softness; independence and direction, discipline and rewards.  Here are some  tips for coaching your children to greatness.

Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and
souls of men and getting them to believe in you. — Eddie Robinson

Winning coaches exhibit several traits:

  • Has a playbook that everyone learns and abides  by.
  • All the players recognize that the coach is the  ultimate authority on the team. (There might be assistants but the head coach  has the final decision and responsibility).
  • Gives genuine respect and expects it in return.
  • Says what he or she means and keeps their word.
  • Has high positive expectations and provides support when players miss the mark.
  • Has a goal, communicates the goal and keeps focused on it.
  • Has each player responsible for doing his or her part to achieve victory.

The same can be said for parenting:

      Use your parenting playbook: It has been said  that children do not come with a user’s guide, but it is not true. The BIBLE is  “God’s Basic Information Before Leaving Earth.”  “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and  useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting  our mistakes, training us to live God’s way,”(II  Timothy 3:16, The Message Bible).  Take the time to learn what God says about the roles and responsibilities of the parent and child relationship.

  • Like a good coach, parents are the Ultimate  Authority: Children must know that while they are an important part of the team, you the parent are the final authority.  “Children, do what your parents tell you. This  is only right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, ‘so you will live well and have a long  life.’” (Ephesians 6:1 The Message).  Sometimes it is really difficult to say no or stand your ground (to make your  child do what you know they should), when they are fighting or charming you, but you must, because God is holding you responsible for raising them in the  way they should go. Additionally, a child learns respect for authority from  parents.
  • A coach gives genuine respect and expects it in return,  and so must a parent. “Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master” (Ephesians 6: 4, Message Bible). Children learn  respect by having it modeled to them. The parent who coaches disciples their child rather than  disciplines. “Teach them to your children, and talk about them when you sit at  home and walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them  down and tie them to your hands as a sign. Tie them on your forehead to remind  you, and write them on your doors and gates”(Deuteronomy 6:6, New Century Version Bible). This not to say that a two or three  year old doesn’t need an occasional tap on the hand or bottom from time to time, after all else is failed, but the older child needs to be taught how to reason  through their actions. Instead of just saying stop! Tell them why you want them to stop. Ask them why they did what they did. They might have had a good reason  (in their mind) for making a bad decision. Use the bad decision as a teachable moment to help them see why the decision they made was not the right one.
  • As a parent it is imperative that you keep your  word; Matthew 5:37 says, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” not only in making plans, but also in issuing consequences. Once you have made a decision, stick to it. Children very quickly learn to manipulate parents with whining, crying, begging, and asking the same thing a thousand times. Never make a threat that you don’t intend to carry out. Model honesty and proper language. “Do as I say, not as I do,” has never worked. If you say you are going to do something, then do it. If it is not something you want to do, or you know that it is not in the best interest of your child, say no and mean it.
  • “What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words,” (Proverbs 18:21, Good News Translation). A coach has high positive expectations and provides support when players miss the mark.  Expect your child to do well and try to provide the resources he or she  needs to be successful. If your child is struggling in school, make sure that her or she stays after and takes advantage of all the assistance that is  available—for FREE! A winning coach doesn’t call his players failures, and neither should a parent. A child might make a poor decision, but that does not make him stupid. A good coach builds upon strengths and uses weakness as teaching points. Proverbs 18:21, says, “Life and death are in the power of the  tongue,” the words you speak into your child will have a great influence on their success or failure.
  • A coach has each player responsible for doing  his or her part to achieve victory, and a parent must make their child  responsible for their decisions and actions. “The man said, ‘The woman you put  here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’ ” (Genesis 3:12 New International Version). What does the story of Adam and Eve possibly  have to do with parenting? From the very beginning people have tried to shift the blame from themselves to another. If your child writes on the wall, he must clean it. If they lie, insist on the truth. If they fail a test because they do not study or follow instructions, stress the importance of preparation and  yielding to authority; not going to the school and insisting that a grade be changed. Make them keep their word, and don’t make excuses for them. Teach your child that they have freedom of choice, but not freedom of consequence. Shielding  your children from responsibility does not give them the opportunity to be  independent and responsible adults.

      The leaders of tomorrow are the children of today. How do we want our world? Do we want it lead by responsible people who respect others, who know the importance of work and self-sacrifice, and lead using Christian principles? Or do we want self-absorbed people who only care about themselves and feel entitled to do whatever they want, and make rules up as they go along? We have a playbook for parenting called the Bible. Let’s learn it and use it every day to coach our children to health, wholeness and success. Does this sound familiar:  “He says, I’ll put little kids in charge of the city. Schoolboys and schoolgirls will order everyone around. People will be at each other’s throats, stabbing one another in the back: Neighbor against neighbor, young against old, the no-account against the well-respected.” Guess what, this is from the Bible in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 3:4-5, Message Bible). It was written thousands of years ago when another society had moved away from God’s Word.

Stay strong in your faith.

Dr. Deborah L. Davis,CCLC

For more information about coaching to become a triumphant parent contact me at bncuraged2@gmail.com

©May 2011

Published on August 22, 2011 at 3:54 am  Comments (18)  

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