Biblical and Practical Thoughts on Parenting, Part 8: Parenting As Leading– Eight Essentials Every Child Needs
Continuing the series on biblical and practical thoughts on parenting, I want to share a list that I adapted from an article by John Rosemond titled “Your Child’s Bill of Rights: 10 Things You Owe to Your Kids.” It was published in the magazine Better Homes and Gardens in the January 1993 issue, and it gave a simple list of essentials that every child needs. Here are the eight that I found to be very important.
“It is a wise father that knows his own child.” – William Shakespeare
Children need an emotionally safe and nurturing environment in which to grow. It is not fair and not appropriate for more powerful parents to manipulate or intimidate their children. Children will grow to respect or resent their parents depending on how they are treated at home. More importantly, they will model the behavior that they learned in their formative years.
Parents must protect their children from hazards inside and dangers outside the home.
Children bring great potential into the world. They deserve their parent’s full commitment to help them develop their potential. They deserve to be given opportunities and challenges that will help develop their imagination, creativity, and ability to engage in meaningful play. Within reasonable limits, children deserve the chance to explore (try out new ideas), experiment (take risks), and be active (engage in new and meaningful work).
Children cannot learn without making mistakes. They should be coached within reasonable boundaries, but so long as they play successfully within those boundaries, they should be allowed to make up their own games and play at their own pace without unnecessary interference. The goal is to give children freedom with responsibility. Parents should not attempt to solve problems that their children can solve for themselves. A child who continually is rescued from the frustration of trying and failing may never experience the joy that comes from trying and failing and trying again and succeeding.
Parents should communicate, unequivocally and often, their vision, values, and expectations for the family. Such parents do not feel the need to threaten, beat, or bribe their children. They are tolerant of disagreement but not of disobedience. They give their children freedom, to the degree that it has been earned, and hold their children fully accountable for their actions. The wise parent knows that the only lasting discipline is self-discipline.
Productive children are happy children. Children who are given clear instructions, adequate materials, a quiet place in which to play, reasonable deadlines, and guidance that is freely given and helpful, (but not stifling), are children who are both productive and happy. But children also need unstructured time in which they may daydream, chat with friends, and exercise the social side of their nature. The wise parent will provide a balanced environment in the home for children to learn and grow.
Children deserve to be told the truth by their parents, even when the truth may be unpleasant. Children trust their parents to be truthful with them. They can tolerate bad news when it is delivered in a truthful and supportive manner. But untruths or half-truths told by someone they trust can leave them bewildered, confused, untrusting, even cynical.
All children deserve the finest in educational opportunities. Only in this way can the family hope to meet the perilous demands of today and face the uncertain challenges of the future.