Right Turns on the Road to Better Parenting

by Chuck Gartman on Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Let’s take a look at the steps we can take to get started on the road to better parenting.

1. Teach Christian values

As parents we need to identify, live, and communicate our values. If we value truth and honesty, we must be honest and adhere to biblical standards. We need to believe and teach our teens that the only truth in the world that matters is in the Scriptures. You are deceived, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God (Matt. 22:29).

2. Express love and acceptance of our children

Even when their behavior disappoints us, we must continue to let them know that we love them. Genuine love for our children will grow out of our awareness that we are genuinely loved by God. It’s not always easy, but unconditional love is necessary. We also need to teach our children about God’s love. God’s love is solid and secure. He adopted us into His family, and He knows our needs and will provide them. Your teens need to know and accept these truths.

3. Be consistent with discipline

Our goal is that our children will ultimately become self-disciplined and self-controlled. If discipline does not eventually become internal, no amount of outside pressure to conform will make a teenager a spiritually healthy person.

4. Pray continually for and about our children

God is more concerned for them than we possibly can be, so He welcomes our conversations with Him about them. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints (Eph. 6:18).

5. Worship together as a family

Participating in regular worship, both corporately and personally, will move us all toward spiritual health. Again, I cannot hope that my child will grow to be a faithful worshiper of the Lord if I refuse to do so myself. Let worship become a lifestyle for you, and your teens will likely catch it from you. Also, remember that personal and family worship are important as well.

6. Be active participants in the work of the church

Remember to balance your time with your family and in your church activities; but, again, if you want your youth to participate in church activities, you must do the same. Dropping them off at youth activities will not teach them to be faithful church members.

7. Participate in ministries that are designed for you as a parent

Not every church does this, but when a seminar or class is offered to help parents be better at their jobs, be sure to go. It will communicate volumes to your teen when they see that you are trying to improve in your parenting skills.

Chuck Gartman has served as a youth minister for more than 20 years, has parented three daughters through the teen years, and is presently Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas.

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