Filter by: Products Articles
Filter by:
Do you get our FREE Magazine?

Six Ways Parents Destroy Their Children Without Trying

December 14, 2012
Happy Kid

God promises, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Parents, who see one of their children hit the fan, often have a hard time appreciating this verse. In fact, as the homeschool movement ages there are more and more parents claiming the verse does not mean what it says, because it didn’t hold true in their experience.

Here are just a few of the reasons a child is lost to the world and how parents caused it to happen without even trying.

I say “without trying” because when children turn out poorly, as many do, parents are at a loss as to why. It is always unexpected—certainly unplanned. An eighteen-year-old is unthankful and rebellious, walks around like the family is his enemy and he has been enslaved and abused by them his whole life. Anger is his first response to everything and to nothing.

If you view old TV programs made 50 years ago of families relating to one another, they look like today’s ideal Christian homeschool family. Daddy is respected and honored and Mother is cherished. Family problems were always resolved with good cheer and forgiveness. Teenage morality was taken for granted. The future was bright and full of hope, and there was no state of rebellion in the kids.

In contrast, modern TV and movies usually represent today’s average family—accurately I might add—as dysfunctional psycho wards of vindictive anger and disrespect. In most movies the family is already divorced or going through the painful process. If a movie were made with a teenager loving his parents as they love their children and each other, and everyone with good cheer and hope for the future, it would be considered corny and unrealistic to the point that the only people who could relate to it would be the ones who stopped watching TV thirty years ago.

So I am going to tell you how kids come to a ruinous end without their parents exerting any effort or attention to the process at all. In fact, that is the first step toward sabotaging your children’s future—no effort and no attention.

1. Get so busy providing for them that you don’t have time for them.

Children are like plants growing every day. They need regular attention and direction.

When children turn out poorly, as many do, parents are at a loss as to why.

I plant a garden every year. And about half of the time I wait too long to stake my tomatoes. A small plant doesn’t need staking. and I tell myself I will stake them before it becomes critical. But it may rain for an entire week, or I get busy doing something else and can’t get around to it. The plant gets so big the stems fall on the ground. When the leaves of a tomato plant are exposed to the soil they quickly develop disease. When the fruit touches the ground it will rot about the time it should be getting ripe. This year I had a second late patch that I intended to stake but waited too long. I finally staked them but too late to prevent the disease.

It is not what I did; it is what I didn’t do that spoiled the crop. So it is with children, they need constant pruning and fertilizing and training to grow up instead of down—to reach for blue skies instead of crawling along the ground. So the worst thing you can do for your children is just ignore them and allow nature to take its course. Plan on training them but never get around to it. Children need the constant sunshine of their parents’ smile and approval. They need to be pointed in the right direction day after day. They need admonition like a plant needs fertilizer. And as water activates the fertilizer, making it available to the roots, smiles activate our admonition making it available to the soul of the child. Children raised right grow up right, no exceptions. It is God’s certain promise (Proverbs 22:6).

2. Set a bad example.

The second thing parents do that will assure a bitter outcome for the children is to set a bad example.

Some people would say fighting in front of the kids has negative consequences. All fighting whether in front of the kids or in private will be destructive, but the most destructive things is not the fighting as much as how you fight and how it is resolved. I have known families that had big fights, but—I hope you can understand this—their fights were not personal. They were resolved as publicly as they were waged, and the public displays of anger did not create deep hurt in anybody. There are some loving souls that express themselves loudly and with emotion. They punctuate their points with explosive words and gestures, but they are equally as effulgent in their make-up and passionate love. Kids come to understand the heart of their parents and are more influenced by their intentions than their rhetoric. A wife of a certain temperament can scream at her husband that she hates him, and the children hear her saying, “I love you so much, you exasperate me to the point I could kick you just before we make love again.” The kids know the outcome is going to be as always, Mom and Pop making up and saying they are sorry and that they didn’t mean it and melting in each other’s arms. Public fights should be resolved in public so the kids can see the process of how it is worked out and how forgiveness and understanding occurs.

So the worst thing you can do for your children is…plan on training them, but never get around to it.

I have seen other families where the parents were careful to never fight in front of the kids, but the children are able to see the tension and ill will building, and they observe it being taken into the bed room where they occasionally hear muffled but raised voices. The parents come out not speaking to each other, followed by hours or days of emotional distance. Now that kind of fighting is indeed harmful to the children. They are able to read the souls of their parents and they feel the bitterness and hate in every moment of silence and self-control. Bad example. Leaf blight. Rotting fruit.

The bad example extends to every area of life. Any discipline you want your children to have you must exemplify it yourself. You can set a bad example in criticizing others, in carelessness with money, unthankfulness, unkindness, laziness, irresponsibility, and more. Be what you want your children to be and you will be providing the best training possible.

3. Expressing displeasure regularly.

This is a biggie. It is so subtle that parents don’t even know it is happening. I have observed parents relating to their children in intermittent displeasure and seen the negative effect it is having. When they ask my advice I have pointed out their destructive tendency to always criticize or show displeasure with their child. They are usually shocked and unbelieving. “I love my children,” they exclaim. And I respond, “But?” They fill in the blank, “But, he is so stubborn and willful, always doing the opposite to what I tell him.” And with exasperation, and what I detect as anger, they say, “I have spanked him and it seems to do no good; I just don’t know what to do any more.” I follow up with, “You say he is stubborn most of the time; how do you respond most of the time?” She answers, “Sure, I am displeased; what else could I be; I can’t be happy when he is so stubborn.”

It is a vicious cycle. A child’s bad behavior provokes looks of displeasure and looks of displeasure provoke bad attitudes leading to bad behavior. I have said it so many times. If you cannot train your children to do as they ought, it is far better to lower your standards and enjoy them as they are than to allow your looks of displeasure to become the norm. A kid may grow up to be undisciplined and self-willed, but there is no reason to add to it a feeling of being unloved and unable to please.

Any discipline you want your children to have you must exemplify yourself.

I am not suggesting that there is not a remedy that solves the bad behavior. I only emphasize that a vital part of stopping the bad behavior is to cease the cycle of looks of rejection, followed by more bad behavior, followed by more looks of rejection, followed by “I hate you and never want to see you again; why did you have to be my mother/father?”

I have spoken of it elsewhere, especially in my DVD, The Joy of Training, and the article, The Flavor of Joy (found in the back of To Train Up A Child), so I will not go into detail here, but suffice to say, child training is causing the child to want to please you and be like you. They will want to please you only when they find pleasure in your presence. You must become the vital source of their joy if they are going to give up their rebellion and choose to exercise self-discipline and self-denial.

4. Not enforcing boundaries.

The next best way to destroy your children without trying is to fail to enforce boundaries. It is easy to do—to not enforce boundaries. Just love your kids and believe they will turn out OK as long as you do not create any self-loathing or feelings of rejection like we talked about above. Smile and believe in the innate goodness of their sweet little hearts, and trust that someday they will grow up and take responsibility for their actions.

It is easy to avoid enforcing boundaries because it is the path of least resistance. You don’t have to stir yourself or upset the kids. Let them do as they please—free expression, you know—and they will become your average normal reprobate. But at the least you won’t look like the party pooper. It is a do nothing job that has been left undone by millions of parents.

If children all came into the world disciplined and wise and willing to deny their impulses for the greater good, we could just leave them to free expression, but every parent knows better. All children come to us innocent but fallen. They are hedonistic, self-indulging hippies in their natural state. Left to themselves they will bring their mothers to shame (Proverbs 29:15).

Adults are supposed to be mature enough to choose the virtuous path and do what they ought to do even if is contrary to their desires. That is character, something that you’re not born with; it has to be developed. And children don’t have character unless they are properly trained. Children do not see the need for self-denial or self-restraint. They feel desire and they do what feels good. So if a parent does nothing, their children will become quite schooled in the dark arts of self-indulgence. Therefore, parents must constrain their children to right behavior. In time their moral understanding will develop and they will begin to choose good, even when it is contrary to their carnal desires. Character is formed, and as training continues his character grows stronger until he matures into an adult.

5. Leaving them to choose their friends.

Many parents have done a good job in training their young children, and have put them on a path of virtue, but in their early teens they are influenced by their peers and yield to temptation while knowing it is not the right path. Even well trained children are flesh and are capable of falling into sin—just as is a moral, disciplined adult.

Kids are not wise. They do yet understand the consequences of wrong choices. They need guidance and oversight until they are about twenty years old—sometimes a little older. About the time kids graduate from college they are wise enough to discern good from evil. If you disagree with that assessment, explain spring break at the beach, or fraternity initiations. Woe!

It all starts very young. You must choose the social circle for your children and guard it. The quickest way to throw your children away is to enroll them in daycare or preschool or first grade. You lose all control over their friends, and they will become part of the social pool, eventually reduced to the lowest common denominator. If your child shares a pool with kids where just one of them has crapped in the water, your kid is swimming in crap. A few good kids don’t keep the water clean, but one bad kid pollutes it for everybody. I cannot remember the good kids in my third grade, but there were a couple bad ones I will never forget. I can remember their foul words and deeds to this day.

It all starts very young. You must choose your children’s social circle and guard it.

This is probably the hardest thing for a parent to do. It requires great effort and constant vigilance to sift your social circle. There are times your kids will not understand, and there are times that other parents are offended, but a mother hen should guard her chicks against the foxes and coyotes, regardless. It may require an adjustment to your lifestyle to protect your kids. A chicken that has roosted under a chicken hawk nest needs to move even if it is inconvenient. If your church is full of public school kids, you will need to keep your children at your side all the time and not allow them to get personal with a child going to public school. It becomes impossible to limit the social contact of a teenager in such an environment. They shouldn’t have the burden of constantly choosing or eliminating people from their acquaintance. Find a social circle that is righteous and productive where you have nothing to fear from 25 of the teenagers getting together to play soccer or go roller skating together.

Remember, they will evolve from you providing their complete social circle to choosing for themselves. You cannot control them past the age when they grow to be autonomous, so you must train them to wisely chose their friends. For the time will come when what you say has little bearing. Train them before they are ten and you can trust them when they are twenty.

6. Finally, you can destroy your children by not giving them any responsibility or holding them accountable.

Remember the key ingredient is “without trying.” Neglect or preoccupation is the culprit. It is operating under the assumption that somehow everything will work out. You are best suited to the task of training your children when you work under the assumption that they are destined to ruin unless you get proactive and do some things much better than the average parent.

Responsible action is the duty of all people, and accountability is the inevitable result of being part of a society where the principle of cause and effect is well understood. When there are two people in the room, insofar as they can have an effect on the other, each is responsible for his actions, and the law of love makes us responsible for our neighbor’s well-being. “Let no man seek his own [to advance self], but every man another’s wealth” (1 Corinthians 10:24). Seek to advance the wealth of your neighbor.

You should give your children responsibility according to their ability. A child who can walk should be held responsible to pick up his dirty clothes and put them in the laundry basket, clean up spills, and place his toy and books back where they belong. This is the foundation of all future responsible actions.

As they get older, they should be responsible to do their share in domestic chores. They should be held responsible to keep up with their boots and shoes if they take them off outdoors. If a kid loses his shoes he should have to work to make the money to buy a used pair at the second hand store. Even a five-year-old can appreciate the value of responsible action when he has to pay the price for irresponsibility. If a teenager throws a ball through the window he should pay to have it repaired.

Accountability is what you demand and exact when they are caused to answer for the way they have handled their responsibility. If you fail to hold them accountable, they are in fact not responsible. It is much easier to do it ourselves, but the children must learn, and the burden falls on us to stay involved for their sakes.

I have observed a beautiful principle. The children most accountable to act responsibly are the happiest and most secure in love and grounded in good will. You learn to love your neighbor one act of caring at a time.

This could have been a list of ten or fifteen ways parents destroy their children without trying, but these six are about all we can stand in one dose. I still believe the Word of God when it says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

I know there has been a movement to disbelieve the passage as the Holy Spirit inspired it, but the fact remains that when they are trained right they stay right without interruption until they are old. I am an example of right training, as is my wife. My five children were trained in the way they should go and I now see all twenty of my grandchildren (more on the way) being trained that way. I expect a continuance of 100% positive results just as God promised. I will not lower the standard, and you should not lower your expectations because of the poor results others are experiencing.

It is difficult in our world “to train up a child in the way he should go,” and some very good and sincere people fail, not for want of personal righteousness, and not from want of trying, but from want of training the kids in the way they should go. Those who fail should not deny the standard but humbly admit their failure to have trained properly. They can analyze the reasons for their failure and have added wisdom to contribute to those parents who are still in the game training their kids.

Finally, if you have young children still in the process, but your oldest son has been a disappointment, don’t give up. Humbly ask your wayward son where you went wrong. It doesn’t matter what you said, or what you did, or what you intended; the bottom line is what did he believe and feel. If you cannot let go of the anger and resentment toward him or you spouse, and you cannot humble yourself enough to listen to him instead of condemn, then truly there is no hope for the rest of your children.

I have seen families lose their first child to the world, but take it as a wakeup call, and revive their hearts and efforts, resulting in saving the other children from the same fate. Even if you failed with your first child, the promise is still true and you can “Train up a child in the way he should go,” knowing of a certainty “he will not depart from it.”

Leave a Reply

88 comments on “Six Ways Parents Destroy Their Children Without Trying”

  1. agree for the most part. unfortunately there were unspanked youth in the 1930s too. these rotten apples spoiled the family well before the others came along. the unspanked apples of the 1930s produced the children of the 1950s with divorce, depression, abortion, unwed pregnancy, multiple men relationships, gluttony, scorn and the list of ills in our society we dare not even continue to name. These new-agers, born in the 1950s fail to recognize the bible as having any value in our everyday lives. when will the people in the new-age generation quit harassing and verbally abusing and scorning those in the 1980s generation who actually want to study the bible and want to use it as a tool to raise vessels of blessing rather than unwanted and unloved beings??? We don’t want TV we want truth!!!!! i thank God i was raised on a farm with chores to do!!!!!

    prosperity in the eyes of man isn’t the same as prosperity in the eyes of God.

    Keeping our kids out of the hands of depression, anger, porn, gluttony, gambling, alcohol, sexual impurity and the like is no easy task. Temptations lure them in every direction.

    It takes pure honesty so that the child can solve the problem of foolishness in his or her own self.

    Being raised in a public school was a challenge. Did my parents know better? Did they “think” that i would automatically choose the ‘good’ friends? did they know i would easily be led into the boy trap? which would lead to bad in-laws……i don’t know……

    going to a college where the words of socrates and plato are studied more readily than the words of Christ leads to a lot of fools in the game of foolishness. Fools beget fools.

    When the process of understanding how noah fit all those animals on the ark is examined thoroughly and joyfully, our society will quit littering the minds of our youngsters with greed and unnecessary baggage and murdering to fill the minds and hearts of our society.

    1. That’s amusing.

      Our children were never spanked. The results was three wonderful, intelligent, and loving adults (the youngest is 23).

      I know of several families where children were spanked, and the result was complete and utter chaos.

      Sparking is not the answer. Nor is not spanking.

      The answer is treating you children as responsible beings from as soon as the are capable of making their own decisions, no matter how small. Let them grow by learning and being as independent as they are able to be for their age.


      1. I was spanked, and I turned out fine. In fact, that\’s one of the few things that I thought my parents did right, and I learned respect, responsibility, and God-centered accountability as a result.

        I know many people who were not spanked and they are some of the most spoiled rotten adult-children I have ever met, and they disrespect their parents and spouses in ways that I never would have dreamed talking to my own parents, or my wife. Many of them I have confirmed are also now struggling with issues concerning depression and anxiety, most (but not all) are atheists and agnostics, and through counseling several have connected their issues with their parents\’ lack of structure and discipline during their childhood. Spanking is not ALWAYS the best answer, but NEVER-spanking is usually worse.

        Spanking is not the problem, but it is a valid solution ***if done properly***. You should not break off a large rigid tree branch and beat and bruise your child to death, but it may be appropriate to swat him a few times with a bare hand and flick of the wrist. The point is for the punishment to fit the crime, to make sure that it\’s the child\’s wrong behavior that\’s being punished (and not an attack against the child\’s character), and to use it as a demonstration of God\’s loving discipline (Heb 12:6) (not as an act of revenge, or an expression of your own frustration, etc.). If discipline is administered out of love (Prv 13:24; Heb 12:5-12), he will not die (Prv 23:13).

        Watch out for advocates of postmodern psychology who liberally reinterpret and replace biblical teachings with new age ideas like an alleged biblical prohibition on spanking. The \”rod of discipline,\” \”rod of correction,\” or \”rod of punishment\” in the Bible are definitely intended for physical discipline of one\’s child. Check the original Hebrew, it\’s very clear. To say otherwise is to read our postmodern liberal values into the Bible, and that\’s a recipe for disaster… or hell (Prv 23:13-14).

  2. 50 years ago: “Teenage morality was taken for granted. The future was bright and full of hope, and there was no state of rebellion in the kids.” Really? Is that why pregnant, unmarried girls were shipped off to maternity homes? Is that why every other wedding was a shotgun wedding? Is that why some kids came to school with bruises from beatings? Is that why young men were given the option of going to jail or serving in Uncle Sam’s military? Is that why Valium became a household word? What about the Dads who came home home late almost every night, after first stopping off for a few drinks at the bar? What about the Moms who nursed their drinks all day long, hiding the bottles under the kitchen sink?

    1. You misunderstood the article. It did NOT say that 50 yrs ago there were none of those problems. It specifically compares TV programs and movies!!
      The article says, “If you view old TV programs made 50 years ago of families relating to one another, they look like… In contrast, modern TV and movies usually represent…”

  3. I am seeing the fruits of training up my children already, and they’re only 2 and 4! We started out late and I’ve made many poor decisions, but I thank God He gives me people like you to help me on the right track! Smiling many times a day at my children and not responding in constant displeasure has certainly changed our home life recently. I grew up with permissive parents who shamed and manipulated us into obeying. It’s been hard to change that example set, but it is so worth it! My husband had good training, so thankfully, it comes a lot easier to him 🙂
    Thank you so much for your books and magazine articles. They are a great encouragement to keep it up.

  4. thank you so much for this article, it has helped me and I know it will also help many others….good parenting is a lost art, reading the scriptures on parenting is a must to get back to how the Almighty intended for children to be raised and the advice of successful parents who have gone on before is invaluable!

  5. I enjoyed this article. I would love to see it re-written from the positive standpoint though – and it would be easy to while still explaining the destructive tendency of failures in these areas. In fact some of these were such timely reminders for me that I took the six headings and re-wrote them positively to put them on a stickie note on my computer:

    1. Make time for her.
    2. Be an example.
    3. Express pleasure in her frequently!
    4. Enforce boundaries.
    5. Be closely involved in her choices of friends.
    6. Give her responsibility and hold her accountable.

    1. I really enjoyed these hard truths. As I can appreciate the 6 ways parents destroy their children without knowing it as the title, because the negative examples allow for us to identify and relate easily with where we most definitely feel we have gone wrong. And I too like one woman’s idea in the comments where she positively right the 6 ways to correct our worngs after we realize where we have been wrong.
      I say this as if I raised adult children of my own but in fact I am the adult child reading this article to understand where my parents went wrong. Lol I’m not afraid to say it. And I have 4 children of my own all under age 6(I made alot of descisions without any parental advice or acknowledgement) so now I’m stuck having to raise children and trying so desperately not to make the same mistakes my parents sadly made. My parents are certainly ones that I believe have failed in all 6 ways withOut a doubt. And It’s mainly because they were both children who were raised as only children , behaving and living very selfishly, without any effort to admit their faults, and certainly without effort to change their wrong. To mist people what they faced in marriage was very normal and all they needed was classes to learn how to get to a healthier loving relationship where they learned the godly way to be husband and wife. But both stopped seeking God, house was out of order. And so my sister and I suffered for it. Always growing up with anger …almost exactly as the author in this article wrote in one of the beginning paragraphs. So now I’m living a life dealing with all the repercussions of my parents unwillingness to..well.. parent.
      I pray against this generational curse in the name of Jesus Christ. I will not abandon my kids the way my parents have, I have already been dealing with self pity and regret because I feel like I am not meant to be a parent at my young age . I feel robbed of my freedom. But the Lord is making me stronger and wiser and I am seeking the Lord to help me correct all my wrongs and to help me learn and manage being a 26 year old single mother of 4 kids because I have no idea how to raise these kids. I praise God for giving me this chance to be a good woman who is wise to build up her home, and not be like my mom who tore it down with her own hands. It’s not too late for me. Please pray for me if you are reading this. Blessings to you all.

    2. These headings are perfect for positive reminders! That’s a great idea to put them on your fridge. I do believe the headings are perfectly worded because they go along with the “destroying your children” article title. You have to write the headings with that tone to make sense with the title, so they could not be rewritten. The title is very catching too and made me want to stop and read the article when I have very little time for that these days!

  6. When I read people expound on that verse, I always think of a certain family. They did everything right. Sure, they weren’t perfect; no one is. But they modeled everything you discussed in this article. Everything. They associated with other families who did the same. Families whose adult children are a credit to their parents. They homeschooled. They spent time with their kids. They set a good example in every way. And their two daughters never rebelled. One of them even said one day, “If there were no heaven to look forward to, I would not want to live my life any differently”–and she was still a young girl when she said it. 

    Their son is a different story. He rebelled. But not right away. At age 20 there was no inkling–at least, none that outsiders could see. He was taking college classes, but still living at home. His dream was to fly, and eventually he left home to go to a flight school in another state. Then I heard rumors that he was listening to worldly music. But then I saw him at a camp meeting and he seemed fine. It was not easy, apparently, to depart from the way he had been raised. But at some point, he exercised his freewill and left God and family behind. He got a job as a model and tried to get onto the acting scene. He basically tried to get as far from his upbringing as possible. His father recently shared that this young man said that he tried very hard to forget some of the values he was raised with, but he couldn’t. And now I sense that he is beginning the process of repentance. 

    This family is part of a family-oriented ministry not unlike NGJ. They have a very public profile. I was friends with their daughters. And I knew their closest friends and ministry associates. The other three families that they were most closely associated with in ministry have all had no rebellion problems so far. Their adult children are all examples of godly young adults. One family has teenagers, and they are the happiest teens you could ever want to meet, not a hint of rebellion anywhere in them. These are the people this young man associated with growing up. I honestly believe the parents did the right thing. Yet he rebelled after he left home. 

    I once saw a study that said the #1 reason why kids rebel is the attraction of the world. One of Jesus’ disciples rebelled. Adam and Eve chose to fall, even in the best environment possible. God didn’t make a mistake; they made a choice.

    My point is, sometimes it happens. Sometimes parents do all the right things and the kids still rebel–not while they are at home, but later. But the blessing is that their upbringing will shape them nonetheless and make it easier to repent later. 

  7. I agree with this article for the most part. What I don’t fully agree with is keeping your child(ren) away from public school kids entirely. Didn’t Jesus teach us to not judge people? Not every public school child is bad, just like not every homeschooled (or private schooled) child is good.

    1. Thank you, Noelle! We are a God-fearing family of six and do not enjoy circumstances which allow me to homeschool. I get my fair share of “guilt” from my own mother as she homeschooled my sister and I from Kindergarten until we left for college. I raise my children in the church and with the love of God and a firm hand and find it completely insulting that anyone would encourage people to “stay away from public school children”. I was agreeing with so much until that point…then it gave me a horrible taste in my mouth. I am certain that there will always be children we should keep our own children from keeping company with, both in public school, AND in Christian schools and home schools. What you stated there is wrong, and I am saddened to know this as it will turn a lot of people away from what is otherwise really good information. How sad and biased.

      1. Sandy I agree with you 100%! What is wrong with Public School? Would that not be an great time for children to set an example and show others the love of God? So that maybe they can be an example of good, and all the right upbringing that they are receiving? Or witness to a child who otherwise may not get the message of God?

      2. I agree with you Sandy. My children are in public school and at school conferences their teachers always comment on what a joy they are to have in the classroom. What a true testimony to being raised in a Christian home these public school children can be to teachers, staff and other children. I was offended by the implication that somehow because my children are in public school that I would not know who their friends are. I do happen to know who their friends are and some of their non-Christian friends have better manners and upbringing than do their other friends. Yes, my children do hang out with non-Christian children…and when they come over they see how our Christian family lives. Jesus dined with sinners….

      3. I somewhat understands what he meant about public school (as some parents take no real interest in their children and hope for the best and let the school raise them) but alot of parents send their “troubled” kids to christian school in hopes of fixing their issues so you have good kids an d bad kids in both.

    2. Actually Christians are supposed to judge, but judge righteously and not hypocritically. So many Christians buy into the “Don’t judge” movement, which is why people are getting away with more and more. We are to be set apart from the world and this does include home schooling if one has the ability to home school. Keep in mind, Jesus did not come to bring peace, but division. But a lot of churches don’t tell the congregation that. Lots of churches also fail to teach repentance.

  8. I loved this article and found it both convicting as well as encouraging. I grew up with fighting and divorce so I had bad examples. My husband and son’s father abandoned us so I have been going it alone. Thank you for the reminder of voicing displeasure often. Sometimes, it can be so subtle, as you say, and you don’t even realize the effect you’re having on your kid, let alone what you’re doing! You have made me more aware of my attitude and words and even facial expressions toward my son. I know he longs for my approval and to see me pleased with his efforts.
    As far as Sandy’s comment, I also somewhat agree. I mean, we need to control who our children choose as “friends” but sometimes you can not avoid who they are around. All my nieces and nephews have gone to public schools and sometimes at the park there are less
    than kind and friendly children. I use those situations as opportunities to teach my son to love others who aren’t exactly easy to love as well as show him that we ALL need Christ. It has been convicting to me as a parent, too, as I have looked down on other kids that aren’t kind to my son, that it is our job to LOVE them and not to be scornful, as it were. After all, but for His grace, we are ALL unlovely!

  9. Thank you so much for this article! I struggle with showing displeasure to my oldest(12yrs old). I have two children and I have started homeschooling this year. It has been a process of undoing all the outward influences mainly- in my daughter. She is incredibly bright and very intelligent. I find myself often saying something positive about her followed by a ,But… I can also reflect on my past as a pre-teen and see that I was lazy, stubborn and afraid to try. My mother spent alot of time showing frustration with me and yelling. She has some of my old short comings. So now, I guess I feel that its my call of duty to push her since, I was never pushed. I don’t want her to be afriad of anything and I want to encourage her in her strengths. But, push her to try when she feels less confident. She has a melt down every time complete with tears and drama. I don’t respond well to that. I lose my temper most of the time. Arrgh! I blew it again!! Now what God? I can train her in the way she should go but, what if she just digs in her heals and won’t go?

  10. I agree with the wisdom of this article but the following sentence disturbs me:

    “If your church is full of public school kids, you will need to keep your children at your side all the time and not allow them to get personal with a child going to public school.”

    Not all Christian parents can reasonably afford to send their children to private schools, and who is to say that all private school kids are more well-behaved? I went to a private school in Singapore and there were plenty of kids my parents wouldn’t want me to mix around with. Same with private school kids in Australia where I now live. Also, more importantly, where is the Christian fellowship and what example would we we setting for our children when we tell them to stay away from “the public school kids”, who ought to hear the good news of salvation, and if they have accepted it, ought to be embraced as brothers and sisters in Christ?

    1. He doesn’t say send them to private school- the other option is homeschooling- I was homeschooled. My mother taught me to read at the age of three. By 6th grade, I had a 12th grade reading comprehension. She was a single mom, so she used the public school system as a babysitting service- but that was in the 60’s when they weren’t too bad yet. She let me avoid high school and learned things on my own while she worked- I ENJOYED reading, so it was my joy to learn medical terminology, latin, zoology, and biology on my own because I WANTED to learn those- we got our books for 10 cents at the goodwill. And these were college level books- I only realized later. My mother taught me by example, that if you can read you can learn anything you want, and that was a great liberating thing. My mother always was learning till the last month she died- she was teaching herself to yodel, out of a book, in her 80’s. This was her desire to learn. She taught herself the Navajo language out of a book, just because she wanted to. When you train your kids that learning is fun, they will choose to do the right thing with their reading gift. And if YOU don’t think you are smart enough to do this, look up “programmed ” books, there are some in english and in math. And they go step by step, and lay all the rules out plainly. There are even some online programs for reasonable rates, like $20 a month, I learned medical terminolgy out of a programmed book at the age of 15 laying in the grass under the bamboo in the front yard. It was such a good program I remembered it for many years, even today, and I am 50.
      The old school teachers taught real phonics and dipthongs, and greek and latin roots. And the books they used had all these. For me it was just review and detail of the history of words, but I always loved words and always love to learn more.

  11. Hi there! I don’t typically comment on posts that I read, and I will admit that I agree with almost all of this well-written article; however, there is one sentence that struck me to the core and stood apart from all others as though it didn’t seem to fit.

    “If your church is full of public school kids, you will need to keep your children at your side all the time and not allow them to get personal with a child going to public school.”

    My husband is a youth pastor and I have seen one bad apple spoil the bunch on more than one occasion, but that bad apple could be from a homeschool family, a private Christian school, or public school. Stereotyping all public school kids as “bad” kids is both offensive and unchristian. I have known many Christian school kids that were a horrible influence. I have known many public school kids that endeavored to stand out above the crowd for the cause of Christ. And vice versa. We are ALL sinners. We all have to make the conscious decision to follow Christ or our flesh. I don’t believe a person’s spirituality comes down to the location a person receives their education, but, rather, this decision to follow Christ.

    The Bible says, “Man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart.” When we say to our children, “You need to stay away from public school kids”, we are teaching them to make determinations about a person based upon their outward circumstances. Circumstances that they probably have not chosen. Are these the kind of people that we want to be? Is this the next generation of the Church? Where is the love in this? Look on the heart, not on the school id. Please.

    The Bible says, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Notice it does not say, “Ye shall know them because they won’t be going to pubic school.” We do need to monitor our kids friendships. They are easily swayed by their peers. But we mustn’t automatically exclude public school children from our kids lives just because they are public school children. There is huge difference between carefully guiding our children toward wise, godly friends (made known by fruit in their lives) and making sweeping judgements about people groups.

    Jesus was a great example for us regarding friendships. Luke 7 tells us that he was a friend of publicans and sinners. He didn’t exclude them. He loved them. He taught them. He ate with them. But they weren’t a part of his closest circle of friends (at least until they decided to choose the ways of Christ made evident by their decision to follow Him). Let’s follow His example.

    I understand the desire to protect our children. Really, I do. I have two little ones and will most definitely monitor their friendships. But I will not teach them to exclude others because of where they attend school. I just can’t. I don’t think that I can teach them to completely exclude others at all. I don’t believe Christ would have either. And that’s the bottom line.

  12. Proverbs is not a book of promises, It is a book of precepts. Each person has a free will to choose how they will go. They are not automatons who must serve God because their parents trained them properly. This article is so sad. “Keep your children away from Public school children?” Really. If you don’t serve a God big enough to keep your children faithful in the real world, why bother at all. A faith that only works in sheltered sub-cultures of the christian world is bollocks. Perhaps so many children leave because they see parents walking in fear and legalism. As a survivor of a legalistic homeschooling “remnant church” fellow shipping family, I thank God I have a God who is loving and powerful and able to keep my children in His care even if they see others making different choices around them. Keep on drawing the reigns tighter and tighter, you will make your children despise Christianity and turn their backs on Jesus.

    1. I have learned to look at the fruit when people write things like this. All of Mike’s kids are solid Christians. His grandchildren are headed in the same direction. There are a lot of reasons to keep kids out of public schools–enough that if everyone knew them, no one would send their kids to public schools. And I’m not talking Christian reasons. Go read the book “The Underground History of American Education” and then decide if you want your kids in public school.

      Honestly, when my children are young and impresionable, I am very concerned about influences. When they grow older and show maturity in their faith, they will have plenty of chances to interact with those who hold a different standard. But in the formative years, I want to shelter them and give them the best opportunities I can to grow spiritually. And public school will work to undo everything I want to do.

  13. I agree with a few of these points. But, for the most part, I do not. Firstly, there is nothing wrong with public school… Especially a diverse one. I don’t understand how homeschooling, or sending your child to a private school makes them any smarter? Are all parents capable of homeschooling, or affording private school? For some people public school is the only option… As well as spending an extended time away providing for their children. I see this advice simply as a view from someone’s perspective who has molded their child into becoming exactly what they’ve wanted. In my perspective, it seems like you’ve eliminated all the things you consider bad, and replaced them with all the things you consider good… Not allowing your child to explore the many paths of life, because of your faith. Why are “children” not allowed to explore different religions? Why are they not informed on the different ideologies of life? They are not incapable of choice. Whether it’s a good or bad decision, they should be able to make it, and learn from it. Most of which you’ve written describes the way I was raised, and according to you, I am destroyed. Yet, I do not feel like I am… From a very young age, I’ve known what it feels like to take care of myself, to explore the depths of my mind, to not be caged by society, to follow my art, embrace who I am, love all, serve all, and create no sorrow. To always be a helping hand, to love myself, to educate myself, to smile, and to treat people how I would want them to treat me. The question I have for you is…. What would you say to someone who feels like you’ve destroyed your children by conditioning them to be this way?

  14. Thank you so much for this post; such a help to me! As I read it, it reminded me of a book my parents used raising me, To Train Up a Child, so I checked who wrote this article – neat!! And just for a testimony, my parents got a hold of this book when I was a toddler and they used it and reread for the past twenty years or so! I’m 22 now and they had 7 more children, the youngest is in 2nd grade now. We are independent baptists and were raised believing the KJV is the perfect Word of God and should be practiced. I’m married and live on my own now and am doing well, by God’s grace, and am actively involved in my church and truly love The Lord. My 20 year old brother just got back from the Philippines on a 5 week missions trip, and came home with the wonderful news that God called him to preach! It’s true not every child that’s raised in a good Christian home will live for The Lord, but they had the opportunity and have to give account the choices they made and The Lord knows if some day they will get right and live for Him.
    Thanks for your work in encouraging parents to raise Godly children’s and for your good testimony!

  15. This article, like many of your articles scares the living daylights out of me! As a product of the drop em at public school all day, deposit them in front of tv after, and never teach any responsibility sort of upbringing (not a Christian home but a lot of love though) I feel challenged as to how I can pull these off… We have never had tv since becoming Christians 7years ago so our young children haven’t really been exposed. We are surrounded by private Christian schooled children, but frankly to be honest I’ve seen better conduct from public schooled kids. My kids look up to, and are already emulating these snobs. They beg me to let them go out and play with them until i grow weary of the begging and I doubt my ‘funness’ factor to my kids – I have no memory to refer back to of growing up as a child except feeling lonely and cartoon characters. So, despite my best efforts at respecting my husband, loving my children, living Christ before my children, am I fighting a losing battle against this strong current? Its easy as pie to someone who can relate back to a rich childhood toinstruct coming from that experience. Try for a moment to imagine a childhood that , apart from a monthy visit to a grandarent seemed to be lived in a vacuum. No experiences. I’m often at a loss to try and think of ways to amuse my kids. Truly, we enjoy reading our bible, missionary books, classic books that are full of morally good characters, working together in and around the home, nature walking, hymn singing, visiting the elderly, roughing around with Dad, but my sweet innocent kids seem enamoured by these neighbour kids and I feel like I can never compete no matter how hard I try! So, I try to get them to play here where I can be present but their cocky attitude really is dominant, even in front of an adult! What practical ways can I combat this – please do respond. I discovered you guys at the beginning of getting saved and starting a family. We emigrated to the far corner of the earth from our home church and I have no one to ask these pertinent questions to. Please do take pity and provide practical advice on HOW ! Thank you

    1. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job and just need to find some better peers!

      Any cousins of theirs or yours nearby? If not find an organized group or even just a few other parents to meet with routinely who demonstrate the values you are hoping to pass on. Community Education, 4H (kids as young as Kindergarten), Girl Scouts, and of course any church groups.

      I am primarily responding to give you encouragement and to say that your words spoke to me too. In my case it is not the peer group that seems impossible to achieve, it is the idea that I should not use expressing my disapproval as a tool to train up my child. Establishing boundaries, holding her accountable and giving her gradually more responsibilities is NOT going well with my 6 year old. Any small reward given is lamented over with yelling and crying and uncooperative behavior once the allotted time, show, game, event is over. (Kids TV Shows, Games, Visiting the park, kids places like Chuck E Cheese, Ice cream at the local shop are all rewards I use). Whatever it is she seems sadder and more distraught that the reward is over that I have considered doing away with them entirely.

      She is doing so few of the things I am expecting of her that most of my interactions are expressing my displeasure and according to this I need to stop doing that. I know I am not being unreasonable, the list is pretty small, and all but a few items are taking care of her, her stuff and her room. We have them written down in black and white and outlined what the privileges lost will be as well as rewards given and follow through on them.

      It is SO much harder to implement than it sounds, from where I stand it is not possible.

  16. I am so thankful God accepts and interacts with sinners and the worst of humankind. He even prefers them to those that act as Pharisees. So thankful that Jesus loves children and expects us to love and interact with all…even public-school kids. What a shame this statement about separating our children was posted as a Christian comment.

    1. We as Christians are to interact with and minister to the lost and hurting. This does not mean that we inappropriately expose our young children (the focus of this article), who may not even have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ yet, to danger. As Christian parents we should be leading our children to the Lord and preparing them to minister as well in age appropriate ways.

  17. You are SO right. I see sense in this article. I know I am going to be hated by many people for this, but you DO make sense. The Nay-Sayers, or “Ooooh you spank a lot” crowd just wants to make a stink. They did NOT sit down and READ this CAREFULLY and ANALYZE! GUARANTEED!

  18. My 14 year old Son has recently told me that he doesn’t want to see me anymore I take that back he wishes he didn’t have to see me anymore he is never expressed this to my face you now only use this text by the way I am in a divorce relationship with his mother for over 10 years now this is the first time is ever lashed out at me in this manner what should I do as a Christian father? I have some ideas of what I’d like to do but I don’t believe that I’m not going to just drive him away that’s my ultimate fear is at a very delicate age and I understand that but what am I to do?

    1. At 14 years old, your son is more man than boy. Because of the divorce your influence over him has been negatively impacted. The 2 people that he loves the most and love him the most do not love each other. I suggest that your repent toward him for all the negative things that you have done in his life. Tell him that you realize that you cannot undo the past but you want to do better and differently now and in the future. Take and interest in the things that interest him. Read Jumping Ship and watch the Movers and Shakers video. Also, read In Search of a Help Meet in preparation of going through it with your son in the next year.

  19. Some very great points! Though I do have to admit that I get rubbed the wrong way a little when writers use all-inclusive words like, “all,never,and always”, I believe it removes truth from the statements to follow. We did pull our kids out of public school, due to curriculum as well as potential influences. We do go to a church that has a bus-ministry, and therefore a lot of public school children. We know their friends and encourage and discourage associations as appropriate. I don’t feel I need to keep them “close by my side” during church functions, but I know where they are and who they are with. We have a church full of adults and leaders who are our additional eyes and ears. I am a public school graduate who strayed and is now back on course. I know more than one homeschool/Christian school graduate who has strayed and shows no signs of return. A wise friend once told me that hypocrisy in the home is the biggest cause of losing children to the world. I tend to agree that this is probably the key factor. You really can’t know what goes on behind closed doors, so some of those upstanding families might have some issues that they know how to keep to themselves. I know this first hand! Everything else is important, but if the parents don’t live the life they are teaching to their children, it is going to be tough to keep them.

  20. Sometimes you do —- do your best but you have to remember that there are others that have an influence on your child, example— There was an adult IN CHRCH when she was ten that told her that SHE DIDN”T HAVE TO LISTEN TO ME —- Now she’s 32 and still hates my guts and her husdand too. Go figure.

  21. I just want to put it out there that religion has destroyed the relationship between me and my parents completely. My parents are Jehovah’s witnesses and scare me with the “if you don’t be a wonderful servant of god then god will destroy you and you will be miserable” …I get that vibe everyday but yet they claim they give me my own choices….which is a complete lie but they don’t know that and I have tried to move out and never got a chance to go to college because they drove me away….I love my parents and I don’t want to lose them but I have no choice but to break our relationship because I’m not one of them…sad reality is religion controls our lives and breaks relationships more than anything else in this world.

        1. Having carefully read the words of Christ, you will see that he spoke much in condemnation of the religion of his day. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27 The problem is that when man tries it on his own without God (and without a relationship with God in Jesus Christ), religion becomes about men (and women) attempting to control others.

          1. Having carefully read the words of Christ, you will see that he spoke much in condemnation of the religion of his day. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27 The problem is that when man tries it on his own without God (and without a relationship with God in Jesus Christ), religion becomes about men (and women) attempting to control others.

            You misunderstood my comment. I did not mention ‘doing it without God’, in fact I was quoting Christ because his words are the foundation upon which the First World countries sit.

            I was criticizing the earlier comment that ‘Religion is about control.’ It isn’t.

            Unless you are the Caliph of Daesh (also known as ISIS) in which case it is about control.

          2. I apologize for my assumption. Since the overwhelming majority of religion is engaged without God (even the first century Jews as Jesus noted), it is the norm of religions worldwide (not just ISIS) to control, with even few Christians not succumbing to the urge to use religion to control. In light of these facts, it is easy to understand the conclusion that religion many more times than not, is about control. Those that practice “pure religion and undefiled before God” are in the extreme minority.

  22. I want to love my parents, I want to love in general, But I was never taught about REAL love, and reading the Bible, I see my entire life so far has been offensive to God..all of these things have happened in my home and has truly destroyed me. And my father is never around he is an alcoholic. I am 19, and I still feel like I am 11..and I also have even wondered if there is even any hope for me. I know only the Lord can restore what has been broken but I am afraid that I messed everything up and I can’t seem to find Him…do you think there is hope? My heart has been angry, and I’ve tried many things, but I know I need Gods love in my heart. I’ve been so afraid.

    1. Lara, you have experienced the sad reality that man will fail you. But Jesus never will. He understands your pain. Are you hurting? He was hurt. And not just physically, like we see in the movies. He experienced rejection too. Even from His own Father! He doesn’t want you to hide your pain, but to surrender it to Him. He can heal it, so that you can truly rest in Him. And being filled with His love, you will find yourself capable of loving others.

  23. This article is a great article for parents to follow, I know of a lot of parents that tell their kid’s no don’t do this don’t do that, but they don’t take the time to show them the reason of no don’t do this and that. When my son was a toddler and he did something wrong I would send him to his room to think about what he did and about five minutes later I would go in and lovingly talk to him about the situation, tell him the positive and negatives of what could happen. I didn’t tell no don’t do that because I said so, kid’s need the quality time of their parents in all ways not just when the parent feels like it, if you bring a kid in this world then you should make sure you give them understanding and your time and patience. Most kids grow up troubled because no one cared for them and they act out in anger. Not all but so many, do the world a favor if you have a kid make sure you give them your time, show them your love.

  24. It is unfortunate that you are teaching your children to separate themselves from the experience of those less fortunate, those with less money, those that go to…eek…publik skool. You are teaching them that those with less money and oppourtunity are not as pure as they are and that they should not allow themselves to be contaminated by the dirty poor. What a destructive and egotistic perspective. Wouldn’t it be better to teach your children to bring relief to the less fortunate, to embrace empathy and to be the hands and feet of God in a broken world filled with pain, desperately seeking the soft touch of Gods grace. Jesus went into the world he didn’t hide from it.

  25. Amen- I have three children, meadow 13, Elijah 10 , and Moses 5. I grew up in a very very bad home and since I became a mother I have tried so hard to do the right thing with my children. I find it hard being a good mother sometimes because of the bad things I learned growing up. I was never taught responsibility, structure, or even simple things like how to clean a house. I was always alone as a child so I basically raised myself. So for me as a mother I don’t live by example but by the ability to know right from wrong, and my motherly instincts. I’m very hard on myself as mother because I never want to be like my own mother. It’s very hard teaching your children self confidence when you have none for yourself. It’s also very hard to raise your children the right way when you were not raised the right way. I have prayed many times that I will break the circle of disfunctional behavior that I have known my whole life. And that God will help me to raise my Children to grow up to be Christian’s.

  26. Great article with many good examples and great ideas. Kids don’t come with an instruction manual and all things don’t work for all children. People who are good people and do a great job of raising their kids sometimes still have a rebellious youth, so the parents feel. Like a failure. All you an do is raise your children with love, discipline, teach responsibility, and display your faith. We all make mistakes parenting, but all you can do is do your best each day. Children learn a lot by the example you make. Don’t worry they will also make mistakes raising their children. It’s just not an exact science. The kids that have the roughest time are the ones who have no structure and the ones who are often are very rebellious are the ones who aren’t given a chance to experience any choices for themselves right or wrong and are smothered in an overprotective family unit. Be a good person and chances are you’ll raise a good child. 🙂

  27. Please elaborate on how to fix the above. I messed up with my second child, I thought because he was a boy Dad would be the main lead, I messed up. Mom of 19 year old that needs your help despirately to fix all of the above with my son. Or, Am I too late?

  28. I thank God first, and give him all the Glory and Honor. I learned so much from this information. I will not lose hope on my children. I will continue to love them unconditional and knowing that God is with us. God bless you and He continue to use to his Glory..

  29. This article has me thinking in a totally different way. I was raised to take care of my family. Younger brothers and a sister. I did chores on the horse farm. When they got old enough I taught them what to do.I love most to see the look of pride on their faces when they were told that they did the job well. I have a 25 yr old daughter I did the best I could for her. She is as stubborn as i am. She is now a very hard worker. She got married to a great man ,has a 4yr old daughter and a son on the way.I hope she keeps up the good work. Thank you.

  30. I have gone to God about my 19 year old daughter. She was raised in God’s ways. It seems she has forgotten or had never been. She drinks, dresses revealing or cheap, smokes. She works as a CNA in hospital and going to a community college. I want her to stop that loose behavior and by God’s morals. What can I do? Or am I expecting to much? Help

  31. Hi,
    I have a 12 year old boy who I have trained the wrong way and I feel pretty bad most of the times because I can see the way he is turning towards me makes me feel bad. He does not respect me and I have not earned his respect. He is a good boy and knows how to act in public but I didn’t provide him with a loving guidance. The ways I used to do things or say things have made him not have respect for me. Everything he will do when he was little , i would be in the background telling him not to do that. I feel awkward asking him questions most of the times now. Our conversations are very short and dry. I do not know how to act or respond to his smart alec comments and it is eating me alive. I was a pretty serious, not very fun mother, with anxiety issues. I have been going to counseling because I used to have anger issues. Now that I am aware of what was affecting me, I can see I was passing all my problems to my children. If I had to be somewhere at a certain time and the kids made a mess or their clothes got all dirty i would spank them angrily. Even though afterwards I would feel bad.
    Luckily I am much more aware now and I try to speak to my children , I feel is already too late for my older son. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  32. To Michael Pearl;

    I found this info bc I was searching for some answers about how to help my kids come back to the Lord.

    The info I found here was not helpful.

    I am already keenly aware of the mistakes I made when my children were young.

    I was a single parent of 1 child at 19, and I began serving the Lord at 20.

    I WAS too busy working.
    I was too dependent on Sunday School for their biblical knowledge.
    I WAS very strict & rigid in my expectations.
    I over-disciplined my oldest (many years later I realized she was naturally compliant and passive & never needed my overbearing discipline)

    13 years later I had another child but I under-disciplined her, and she was very strong willed. I raised her alone too.

    Oh yes. Go ahead and pat me on the back & remind me how tough being a single mom is . . . I get it . . but . . .

    I never spent much time doing fun things with either child.

    I was not naturally affectionate as a mother.

    I was very rigid about their appearance and that they dress extremely modestly.

    I WAS rigid, strict, harsh & critical with both about basically everything they did.

    You would think I might learned more with 13 years between kids & the second one might’ve has it easier but she was extremely aggressive & challenged me constantly . . .

    Much of my realizations & regrets have only come to me the last 7 years since my youngest one got clean from drug abuse and became quite a beautiful young woman.
    But within a year of that, while she became an extremely productive person – she began changing her appearance. Now she dresses like a boy & is living in a lesbian relationship.
    She is under 22 years old.

    My oldest moved as far across the US as possible. We talk and visit – if you saw us you’d think we are close, but it is very ‘surface’ and not deeply connected. She only comes home once a year for maybe 2 days. She is 36.

    Oh we cook out when they visit. My oldest pays my way for me to visit her. I cook out and visit my youngest and her ‘partner’.

    I really love my daughters and have made great strides in showing love and accepting them.

    But the damage was done in their most tender years.

    I see that now.

    Neither one serves the Lord. Indeed, both will either flatly refuse any sort of biblical conversation, or they will politely tolerate it briefly.

    Altho both will admit I doggedly & rigidly ‘served the Lord’. The fact is I was doggedly & RIGIDLY serving the Lord.

    My oldest will flatly tell me how miserable her childhood was.

    What did I teach my daughter’s?
    Well they both have incredible strong work ethics – but the oldest is a controller & a workaholic and has had a ‘lot of therapy’ she says.

    They now resent me, obviously for many reasons, but one reason because several years ago I left the dogmatic religion I raised them in.
    I’m still serving the Lord in another assembly.

    He in His mercy has led me gradually led me thru one dark place after another as my daughters share with me how much they hated their childhood.

    Who on earth could blame for not wanting to serve God?

    Over the past 5 years I have taken several steps to try to strengthen my relationship with them.

    I have aplogized for things as they come up.

    I have apologized for my poor choices in fathers.

    (yes – both daughters have even worse issues bc of their largely absent, weak fathers)

    I basically try to accept responsibility for my faults and my part. No I could not control the actions of the fathers. But I had a responsibility to choose better candidates.

    In closing, all I can say is –
    I’m praying everyday.
    I apologize when necessary but I’m not groveling. Everyone has discfunction of some kind. I don’t think the absolute perfect family exists.

    There is only One Perfect and He is Lord.

    He sees & understands even though there is no consolation for me. He sees my heart and He sees their heart. And He is out connection –

    Somehow He will make a way to show each of them His guenuine love. mercy, tenderness, concern and sweetness.

    Whatever I’ve done well, He has been Lord of it, and given the ability.

    And in all my failures, He is strong & able to do exceedingly above all I ask or even think.

  33. I don’t disagree with the points you have posted, but you’ve left out an important one: Overbearing, over-controlling parents. I’m not talking about setting REASONABLE limits and responsibilities for a child. I’m talking about those parents who micro-manage every aspect of a child’s life to the point that the parent is actually attempting to live the child’s life FOR them! This is extremely damaging to a child as every child should be developing as an individual with their OWN thoughts and feelings and core being. Instead, they are being raised as an EXTENSION of one or both parents, and never develop their own identity. Every child should have a right to explore the world and their thoughts and feelings and responses to it, in order to develop as human beings in their own right! An overbearing parent never allows them to do this. Every attempt on the part of the child to think and respond to the world around them is filtered through the parent(s) first, and the “correct” thoughts, feelings and responses that the PARENT(S) deems correct are implanted into the child, so that the child is not raised as a human being but is seen more as a kind of “sponge” or robot upon which the PARENT writes the desired script for that child’s life. I’m not talking about educating the child about the values, etc. which the parent holds. Everyone does that. I am talking about parents that are literally so overbearing that a child is never allowed to question anything, think anything, do anything without the parent being right there to insist that a child think their way do it THEIR way or face sever punishment: physically, emotionally and/or verbally. We are talking parents that act more as tyrants rather than normal parents. These parents end up crippling their children, who often grow up without any self-identity, self-confidence or self-regulation. These people often cannot act without turning to the parent for advice on every little (and big) thing in their lives. They literally become unable to direct their own lives, and suffer in both their work and personal relationships – often permanently.

  34. Some points I agree with and others I think are creating a problem. #1- set a good example- that is most important. I watch parents give their children attitude and are upset when the child hits 12 and they start to get that attitude back. (aka- Don’t be a hypocrite!) #2- don’t have children unless you absolutely love kids and see the extra work as a labor of love, my children know how much my husband and I love them, how I put my successful career on part-time to be the best mom I could be. I never, ever make them feel like anything but a gracious gift (my mother made me feel like a burden and I carry that curse forever). My children will always know they make my life awesome. #3- set expectations on personal qualities not otherworldly traits- example: you are fun, kind and I like just being with you instead of you are so smart and the star soccer player. #4 -Enroll them in preschool, first grade and kindergarten- we need to teach children how to handle all challenging situations and grow through them into strong, courageous adults who will do the right thing. We do not want a bunch of meek sheep who have their head in a bible all day as a way of avoiding life- sometimes religious extremism is very, very counterproductive. My super -religious (hypocritical) mother would hide in her prayers and ignore and neglect that massive dysfunction that was going on, I consider her no better than an alcoholic but instead of using alcohol to run away she used a poor facade of religious piety. (Jesus never came down and saved me from the abuse I had to withstand.) #5- absolutely be aware of the type of friends they have and steer them in the right direction. I did this by being “the” house everyone hanged out as- I know other parents saw me as a babysitter but I feed everyone, treated them all awesome and watched the interpersonal relationship while I tended to housework or the garden. Then I would selective chose who would come over subsequently guide my kids to kids who are kind and accepting. Unfortunately, not all the people in your church are going to be angels so I suggest you venture out of your small circle and make some strong relationships with just plain good people who live in your community.

  35. Maybe one reason some parents have a “hard time appreciating the verse” is because some pastors like to imply that the verse means that if you do everything right, your child will be a Christian when they grow up. A parent does not need the Holy Spirit to be a parent who takes time for their children, is a good example, expresses pleasure, enforces boundaries, is involved in friendships, or gives responsibility and accountability as outlined in this article. A Christian or an unbeliever can train their child with these principles. Training can be done with or without the Holy Spirit. It does take the work of the Holy Spirit, however, to love God with all your heart. That is something a parent cannot do for a child. When preachers try to make this verse say what is does not say, they heap burdens on parents that were not meant for a parent to carry. We need to give our children to God and trust Him for the work necessary to bring a child to salvation. In the mean time, we train them in manners, cleanliness, politics, finances, work ethics, economics…etc. If I can train my child to be a Christian, I don’t need Jesus.
    Parent, if you have a child who is not serving Jesus, please know that your child is where he is today because God has given him a choice, not because you failed in your job. There are children serving Jesus who came from homes of alcoholic parents who beat them. Why? It’s obviously not because the training they received made them a Christian, but because they chose to cry out to God for forgiveness and salvation. Embrace the truth of Proverbs 22:6—if you train your child to clean his room, he will like a clean room when he grows up :), and remember Jesus’ yolk is easy and His burden is light. He is not expecting you to carry the burden of your child’s salvation.

  36. Hello. I would like to say that not everyone who attends public school is from the wrong crowd. I have attended public school since preschool and I met my best friends in public school. I became a Christian at 18 when I learned the truth of the Gospel from a Christian club at my public university. I have always chosen my friends. One of my friends that I met in middle school wasn’t always a positive influence, but she became Christian around the same time I did and is doing better now. My dad has told me in the past that I should stop being friends with her, but I never gave up on her. If I had listened to him and not been around for her, then she might not have wanted to accept Jesus as I have. On the other hand, one of my friends that I met in elementary moved to a private high school and now she’s into clubbing and drinking. I have a feeling that deep down she still loves Jesus and I’m praying that she realizes only His path will help her heal because she is going through a tough time right now and is confused. Did my parents control my choices in friends? No. Did I always make the right choice? No. I stopped being friends with a few people because they treated me like I didn’t matter anymore. Are all public school kids “bad?” No. I used to work in a special ed classroom at a public school last year where the teacher is a Christian and most of the students grow up in Christian homes. It doesn’t matter if someone goes to public school, private school, or is homeschooled. We are all sinners.

  37. Where to start when you have violated all of these principles? Our kids are all over 10. We have had good kids in their younger years, but now… though there are no major issues yet, we are seeing the ‘fruits’ of not enough structure, expectations, and of just ‘loving’ them instead of raising them. Is it possible to change now? Without losing them for God?

  38. The information was inciteful and I can pass the information on to my family member. I have noticed that my godson is not as talkative as he was when he was younger. I have a coping skills book I plan to look over and utilize some the information and work with my godson so he can gain clarity.

  39. These are great points! May I just add something to point 5? Never ever force your child to be friends with a child who is a bully. Some well intentioned parents try to force a friendship between their child and the school bully because they ” feel sorry for the child who has no friends.” This is wrong. You are YOUR child’s protector. It is not your job to be concerned about the bully- the bully’s parent has that job. Sure, teach children to care about others (maybe suggest they pray for their bully, thi sis Biblical) but do not teach your kids that you care less about them than someone elses’s child. I also think it is great to foster children but if you have birth children as well, please make sure those children know that if the foster child shows aggressive or abusive behaviour towards them, and ceases to stop it, you will continue to protect your birth children’s needs first.

  40. Children somehow sense when their parents don’t actually love them. It doesn’t matter what you do or say to them, they know when you really don’t love them. I think this might be a really big problem . I know it was in my family . Two of my siblings killed themselves . I almost did . I think children can sense when their parents truly love them and when they don’t. I’m not talking about making mistakes. Parents that truly love their children will try to correct their mistakes and will ask for forgiveness also. Mine never did. A lot of parents might say that they would die for their kids, but it’s a lot harder to live a good life in front of your children for their sake and for your sake.

  41. To Karen, Hugs to you. that is profound and you sound insightful and strong. I am so sorry for your loss. When others don’t love you, Love yourself. Many parents have past traumas and vulnerabilities that get carried onto their children. its very sad.
    There are a lot of good points in this article. thank you.

  42. The advice given is partly good. But, as a minister’s wife, a mother having raised 3 kiddos to be successful Christian leaders, and having an 8 yr old who loves God with all his heart; I will say that the most important thing you need to do is the following:

    ✨Take a deep interest in your child’s relationship with Jesus Christ.
    ✨Read the Bible to your children, daily, explain the scriptures to them and then apply it to their personal lives. Expand on this by asking the children to “explain what God is speaking to them about today”.
    ✨Pray with them daily as a group. But, then give them some time alone to “pray/talk to God alone”, give them some privacy for 15, 30 min or an hour, whatever time they need.
    ✨Through out the day, as life is happening, always refer to God, make it personal. Refer to seeking God out in all situations.
    ✨Teach your children to love people, to love others around them. Now this is extremely important, the character of Christ is love, so if you discipline your children well, if you take them to church, if you teach them good manners, if you teach them to memorize scripture BUT, if you don’t teach them , to love other children from all walks of life, than you’re doing them a disservice.

    As a parent you have to guard your children, meaning I’ll give an example-you shouldn’t allow them to spend the night at just anyone’s house , I didn’t allow any of my kids to spend the night at just anyone’s home, except one home and that was a pastor’s wife whom I trusted, BUT one day I allowed a child to come into my house, my son met him in church, this kid was not saved and he came from a broken family. I supervised the whole play date, they slept in separate rooms, but I allowed that child to see what a Christian home is like, we were able to show him the love of Christ. The sleepover was a one time thing, but I would still take the kid and my son out to eat or the park, during the day and I’d be right there supervising. Now in church, ofcourse I would not keep my children from talking to any of the children there, there’s supervision there, so I consider it a blessing children from all walks of life are in church where they need to be. WHY ON EARTH, would I go out of my way to make a child that is not saved, maybe comes from a broken home, maybe it’s hurting, comes from a public school made to feel like an outsider? That’s the message you would send, if you tell your children, “you can not talk to those kids because they’re different “. I would not only be hurting those children God loves, but will also hurt my own children by teaching them to be racist, respecter of persons, proud, arrogant, mean, etc. And God would not be honored.
    ✨That’s all. To wrap it up: teach your children how to have a personal, one on one relationship with Jesus Christ. Make sure, to lead them to Christ, get your children saved, and teach them the Word of God?.

  43. I feel #5 is wrong… if you choose their friends, they probably won’t have a variety of peers to learn from.

    and no going to public school……… why exactly do you think that?

  44. Thank You for your insight.
    I’ve been trying a few different approaches with my oldest, who is 7.
    I start young with responsibility, and as we have grown into a family of five, the oldest has started to see when she can appeal to her own agenda when I’m busy with daily tasks.

    She has a routine list, and hears me guiding my 3 year old. And mostly does the bare minimum, expecting a good response to requests of privileges.
    She is even working with an Occupational therapist to help her understand, we are not asking too much. And to help me understand that yes she is capable of doing daily chores without being reminded.

    I was at a brick wall this evening, and sent her to bed early. I let her know that I was reading an article from a Christian, about what I could learn.
    We are growing in our walk with the Lord, and are learning that even in the Bible belt, Christian values can be seen as too restrictive.

    Your article was comforting to me this evening. Because I could read from a Christian worldview, my daughter was also comforted, even in her sadness of being repremanded.

    May God continue to Bless your growing family ?

  45. Any advice for the wife of an atheist husband who insists on public schools, allows questionable shows and video games, does not believe in kids doing chores (except for their own bedrooms), discourages church attendance, and ignores the children’s profanity?

  46. Parents who have strong childhood trauma induced shame and who are terrified by emotional interaction with other people should not start beating their 2 year old child after they lose an infant a couple days after birth. The 2 year old will think they killed the infant, even if they never met the infant. The 2 year old then will grow up broken, thinking they are a monster, and unable to interact with others normally, and will not be able to heal until they find a competent therapist when they are 58 years old, after they have missed out on most of life.

  47. Thank you for this article. I knew I would home school before I became a born again Christian 7 years ago. I was in my early 20’s and an unmarried mother when I came to know the Lord and God has given me so much wisdom since. Society these days is so far from God. There is so much ungodly influences around us and our children. I have heard people say that your children can be the light in the school. How can your children be the light when 1. They are in school more then they are at home and being fed worldly ideas. 2. They are not saved 3. They are sinners themselves and it’s easier to give in to the desires of iniquity then to strive doing good because mum and dad said so. Mum and dad aren’t around for 6 hours watching their children but some unsaved person is 5x a week. 5x 6 = 30 hrs. Wow that’s a lot of hours in someone else’s care who will be more then happy to educate your children the way they and the government sees fit.