[Repost from February 22, 2013]
Start young. The younger you begin introducing your children to the world the better. You can help them to approach the world with their eyes wide open so they are ready to run from danger. But teach them that they don’t need to be afraid of the world. Jesus has overcome the world.
When your children are threatened by the world, help to create a way out. For young children this may mean pulling them out of harm’s way. With older children, give them opportunities and excuses to get out of danger. You can be a scapegoat if they need one. Better that you look like a bad guy to their acquaintances than they feel stuck in a bad place.
Talk to them about what they encounter in the world. When they are young, be direct. Talk about what they have experienced and how it relates to your faith. As they grow older, ask questions and let them tell you how it relates to their faith.
Help them to develop boundaries. With young kids show them where to stop. With older children, ask questions to help them develop their own boundaries.
Give them room for failure. Your children will fail. They will sin. They are sinners, that’s expected. Give them space to be human.
Give them grace. As your children fall into sin, offer grace first. Grace comes with forgiveness. Grace is opposed to judgment.
Give them loving correction and advice. Be consistent with specific statements of love. Be carefully with wise advice. The older they get, the more you should keep your advice to yourself.
Note: The transition between young children and old children isn’t a line, it’s a gradation–a process. As the parent, develop a feel for movement toward maturity, and respond by trending from more direction to more coaching. Be careful not to assume that because children are a certain age that all aspects of their understanding are equally mature. Siblings mature at different rates and in their own ways, that’s OK too. Everyone grows differently.
Finally, there is no formula for parenting. It takes practice. It take discernment. If you need help ask someone close to you, talk to a church leader, or call us at Etchea Coaching.