If you ever have the thought, “Am I a good parent?”, you are not alone. It is hard to determine what defines a “good” parent when there is no rubric for success. There are no simple tests to determine how your child will turn out in their later years when they start having an effect on society.
As a parent it is your job to constantly evaluate yourself, learn from your mistakes, and raise your children to the best of your ability. To improve upon your parenting, you can turn to the Bible for some overarching Biblical principles to follow.
1. Set a Good Example
First and foremost, it is important to set a good example for your children. Not all learning will come from the classroom, textbooks, or Wikipedia. Even from the earliest of ages, children pick up on the habits of their parents.
They hear what we say and do what we do. Ask yourself if the person you are portraying is how you want your child to act. You truly are a mirror that will reflect upon your child.
Every principle following this one can be factored into setting a good example. If you are following these Biblical principles, chances are your children will too.
Matthew 6:2 says “So when you give to the needy…”. The key word in that portion of the verse is “when”. If the verse said “if” it would have much different implications. However, the word “when” tells us that we are expected to give to those in need.
Giving teaches values to your children on a humanitarian level. It shows that living with excess is unnecessary and often times selfish. Giving does not imply a monetary value either. Simple providing a helping hand to those in need through volunteering opportunities can create excellent values within your children.
The other aspect of giving, is giving for the right reason. Matthew 6:2 continues, “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do to be honored by men”. You should give without the expectation of anything in return. There is not a reward for every good deed to be done. Instilling this view within your child will allow them to learn to give unconditionally.
As a parent it is important to do the right thing in every situation, not just when it is convenient. You are only as good as your latest action.
Telling the grocer they forgot to ring up one of your items does not excuse you from lying the next day. There is no balance or tally of number of wrongs to rights.
James 4:17 says “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin”.
The Bible has quite a lot to say about discipline. You’ll find many verse discussing the “rod” and its use in discipline. It is important to not take this in literal terms. Often discipline comes in the form of lectures and lessons. Stern but fair.
Punishment and discipline can often be uncomfortable and hard on a parent. However it is necessary in order to raise a child with good values. The lessons and discretions a child learns early in life will often stay with them forever. “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” - Hebrews 12:11.
There may be no stronger principle in the Bible than forgiveness. It is also an incredibly powerful principle live by as a parent.
Your child will make mistakes regardless of how great of an example you set or how often you give. Mistakes are part of the learning process for a child and how you handle it as a parent can often supercede the lesson they learn from the mistake. While forgiveness may seem like a contradictory principle to disciple; they often go hand in hand.
Your child needs to know right from wrong, but they also need compassion. Forgiveness will show them the unconditional love you have for them. Resolving conflicts with your children will show them they are not neglected and will bring them closer to you.
Showing forgiveness to others will help set an example for your children as they grow and are wronged by other individuals.
Andrew Fujii is a marketing professional with expertise in digital/web and content marketing. He is also a copywriter for multiple agencies producing copy for blogs, articles, websites, product packaging, mobile apps, and more.