Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
As Christian parents, we all desire our children to grow up being productive and upright citizens. We want to make sure that they do the right thing and follow a path that would please God, but there aren’t any classes that show us how to teach these Christian values to our children.
We know that our world needs to have strong Christian individuals to face what is coming. How do we raise up those Samsons, Daniels and Samuels, Ruths and Naomis? We need to find ways as parents to teach and develop these characteristics in our children because they are facing full-on warfare from the enemy. How do we teach them to stand strong against such opposition and to stand before God one day and know that He will say “Well done”?
5 Ways to Teach Christian Values to Your Child:
Reading the Bible
The Bible is a Christian’s book of instruction. We know from Timothy 3:16-17 that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”. While sometimes children may find scriptures confusing at times, reading it together and discussing what it means teaches our children what is right and what is wrong and provides beautiful, interesting examples of characters who demonstrate the character traits that God wants to see in us.
Encourage your children to begin reading the gospels initially as well as passages from Psalm and Proverbs. The words and life of Jesus in the gospels is inspiring and leads us to salvation, while the Psalms and Proverbs provide wisdom and insight from both King David, a man after God’s own heart and Solomon, a man upon whom God bestowed great wisdom.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. – Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)
Children are constantly learning from adults without our even saying a word! Remember your newborn who mirrored your expressions when you held him/her in your lap and smiled with wide-eyed enthusiasm — or when your toddler fell down and looked straight at your face to see your reaction to know how to react himself? Learning by modeling is something that is innate in all of us. That can be a good thing but it can be a bad thing too, as how many of you have been caught by your own children when perhaps a bad word slipped out of your mouth when you were frustrated? So be cautious about what you model.
Does your life model honesty, integrity, respect, love, kindness and patience? Maybe not every second of every day, but even admitting to your child when you have faltered and modeling repentance and changing of ways speaks volumes to a child as to how to conduct himself.
In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. – Titus 2:7-9(NKJV)
Disciplining With Patience
Disciplining your children with patience can be very trying at times. At various ages, children can be little “bipolar” people who are happy-go-lucky one moment and raging, irrational goblins the next. Little people can be affected by many different environmental influences such as hunger, tiredness, sickness, etc. Sometimes they can be down-right obstinate and uncooperative.
We live in a hustle, bustle world where it’s rush here, rush there. Sometimes we commit ourselves to too many tasks and are worn out and frustrated by career situations, financial problems and unfortunately today, broken homes.
I have on a few occasions caught myself disciplining out of frustration and even anger and I’m here to tell you that this scenario can reverse your attempts to discipline correctly. Luckily, I had a Christian friend who taught me how to effectively approach discipline in a more Godly way following these steps:
- You’re the parent and you’re the one who needs to take control (primarily of your own emotions first). Never discipline out of anger.
- If you’re angry, calmly tell your child to go to his room and wait for you to come talk to them.
- Breathe, count to 20 or however long it takes to be able to approach your child with calmness and clarity of mind.
- When you’re calm, go talk to your child. Let them know what it was that they did that was wrong. Seek out from the Bible what it has to say about the infraction. Was it dishonesty? What does the Bible say about that? Share with your child what the Bible says about his behavior.
- Have your child admit that they were wrong according to what the Bible says and let them know that they need to ask for forgiveness — first to God because He is our ultimate authority and to you because God has given you charge over your children. Allow him/her to pray with you about asking for forgiveness.
- With everything comes a consequence and therefore you should require your child an opportunity to do “restitution”. Make sure the consequence is fitting for the infraction. Ask for God’s wisdom in deciding what that restitution should be. Should it be a “time-out” as age appropriate, should it be doing extra chores? I remember a story my dad told me years ago about how his father disciplined him in a creative way that made such an impact that he remembered the lesson for the rest of his life. If you’re interested in hearing that story, go to my article titled, “Acting Right“. This was a perfect example of appropriate discipline.
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4 (NKJV)
Talk Directly With Your Children
We as parents are frequently tempted just to talk at our children (aka lecturing) rather than having a dialog with them. Lectures tend to come at the heat of the moment when your child has done something wrong. While I’ve sat through these parental lectures myself — and given quite a few, I realize that a more effective manner of conveying ideas to a child is before they need them!
Every day presents multiple opportunities to have discussions with your child that involve building Christian values. Having a dialog with your children allows them to convey their thoughts and feelings and allows you to gently guide your children onto the right path and correct ideas conveyed to them from school, friends and other sources that may not share your Christian values.
These conversations give your child a chance to voice their own thoughts and ideas and to learn to trust you as a parent that you are teaching them according to what God sees fit. My children are now grown but looking back, I’m glad we had these numerous conversations. It built a better relationship with my children, they learned more of God’s principles for their lives and now as adults we have a relationship built on trust and respect.
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. – Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NKJV)
Positively Reinforce Expressions of Good Christian Character
Catching your child exhibiting good Christian values is always the perfect opportunity to reinforce the good. When you see your child caring for others, showing respect, choosing to be honest when it’s more convenient to lie, that is the time to show them that you noticed their good moral values and that it should be rewarded.
Although this world doesn’t reward good moral values — it should! More important than your approval, teach your children that God is their ultimate authority and that when He sees us obeying Him with our moral character, He is pleased and will reward us in due time. Teach them that although parents may not catch all of their indiscretions, God sees and knows all as in Jeremiah 16:17 it says, “For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes.”
Most of all, teach them that God loves them and cares about every aspect of their lives. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 (KJV)
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, And a man is valued by what others say of him. – Proverbs 27:21 (NKJV)
The Culverton Kids Mystery Stories Teach Christian Values
Help your children learn Christian values through reading books that create teachable moments. D.A. Kreilein has designed her books to intrigue children with mysteries that children solve, and to test and reinforce strong Christian values.
About the Author
Janet Gill is a long-time friend of the author, D.A. Kreilein. It was D.A. Kreilein’s Christian teaching that helped Janet become a more effective parent. Janet is the mother of two grown sons, one who has high functioning autism and was an extreme challenge. Janet is also the CEO and half partner of Tamar Media, LLC, a company that develops and promotes websites using internet technologies.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5 NKJV