Every parent has those moments in child raising when they wonder, “Where did my perfect little child go?” I have five kids and you can be sure that I’ve been there too!
In this episode of Now is the Time I share with you 7 pitfalls that parents commonly fall into. I’ve also included a bonus guest interview at the end. I’m not telling who it is so you’ll just have to listen to find out!
Here are 7 pitfalls that I’ve seen in my parenting as well as in other families.
1. Assuming that your child was born with a good heart
This is probably Western cultures biggest problem when it comes to parenting. The assumption that your child is basically good and everything will be ok if you give the right conditions for growth and learning is deeply flawed and can have disastrous results if taken to it’s logical end.
The Bible presents us with a different picture. Even David recognized that his heart had a tendency toward sin that existed before birth Psalm 51:5
Children are born innocent but with a tendency toward evil. Unless you work on the heart level to combat that evil with God’s grace you will always be fighting a losing battle.
2. Forgetting or not admitting that you as a parent also have a sin nature
Even if your child was born without a sin nature it would be impossible to shelter him from a sinful world because every child is born to sinful parents. As much as this hurts, we have to admit that we are not perfect. We fail often and our children see those failures.
It’s important that your child understands that you are not perfect but you are forgiven and you are growing. It’s especially important for your child to see you humble yourself and ask forgiveness for those times when you may have lost your cool or said something that hurt.
3. Failing to understand that the Gospel is more than a theological truth to memorize
In our eagerness to communicate the Gospel to our children we can easily mistake recitation of theological truth as sincere belief in that truth. Many atheists can give you a theological definition of the Gospel but they are far from believing it!
We must understand that Gospel truth is heart changing, life changing truth that demands repentance, faith and action!
4. Using Christianese to communicate spiritual truth to your children
If you’re a second or third generation Christian then this one is for you! Explaining spiritual truths to a 6-year-old is challenging. Young children think in terms of concrete objects that they can see and feel. As I have tried to explain Biblical truths to my children I have often realized that maybe I didn’t fully grasp that truth myself!
Next time you talk to your child about faith don’t tell them that they need the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, that they should ask Jesus into their heart or even that they should get saved.
Talk to your child as you would someone who has never read the Bible. Break it down into the simplest terms and use things he is familiar with to illustrate what he can not see.
5. Assuming that your child will believe the Gospel
Just because your children are growing up in a Christian family, are homeschooled, go to church 3 times a week, attend AWANA club and have memorized 152 verses doesn’t mean they have or will have a relationship with God.
Make your home a place where the gospel is communicated regularly in both word and deed!
6. Mistaking Bible knowledge or good behavior with a changed heart
You probably know who I’m talking about. That know-it-all in Sunday school who always had the answers for all the Bible trivia questions and was known for correcting the teacher on occasion. He knew the Bible but he was a pain to be around.
Bible knowledge is good but it doesn’t say anything about the heart. Good behavior is similar. Just because a child is well behaved doesn’t mean he’s on good terms with God. Children can be motivated to behave with treats and/or with threats.
7. Emphasizing health, safety, academics or anything else over the child’s relationship with God.
Often parents emphasize and worry about things that are far less important than the child’s relationship with God. When you push sports, are constantly worried about your child’s health or are doing everything possible to get them into the best school it’s easy to forget that all those things mean nothing if your child doesn’t have a good relationship with God.