1. Infancy to Childhood: Training Objectives
The first stage of development, infancy to childhood, encompasses the period from birth to age four or five. This period can be described in a single word – change. With such dramatic changes over a short time, it is easy to lose focus. The most important lesson for the child to learn in this period is that HE IS AN INDIVIDUAL UNDER AUTHORITY.
In Ephesians 6:1-3, God has drawn a circle of great blessing. Submission to parents means HONORING and OBEYING. Within that circle things will go well and they will enjoy long lives. Honoring parents means to treat them with respect and esteem because of their position of authority. It is honoring them because of their role of authority. Obedience is the willing submission of one person to the authority of another without challenge, without excuse, and without delay.
2. Infancy to Childhood: Training Procedures
When does a child need a spanking? When you have given a directive that he has heard and is within his capacity to understand, and he has not obeyed without challenge, without excuse or without delay, he needs a spanking. If you fail to spank, you fail to take God’s Word seriously.
The following procedure can provide discipline that preserves the child’s dignity: (1) Take your child to a private place where he can be spoken with in privacy, (2) Tell him specifically what he has done or failed to do, (3) Secure an acknowledgement from the child of what he has done, (4) Remind him that the function of the spanking is not venting your frustration or because you are angry, but to restore him to the place in which God has promised blessing, (5) Tell the child how many swats he will receive, (6) Remove his drawer so that the spanking is not lost in the padding of his pants, (7) After you have spanked, take the child up on your lap and hug him, telling how much you love him, how much it grieves you to spank him, and how you hope that it will not be necessary again.
3. Childhood: Training Objectives
The big issue during these middle years is character. Your child’s character must be developed in several areas. In stage one the focus was obedience. Now in the stage two the focus was character. In this stage, the child should learn about his relationship with God, himself, and others. Once or twice a year, you and your spouse should sit down and take stock of your children about their relationship. Develop some strategy for dealing with the areas of concern.
4. Childhood: Training Procedures
Whatever motivates behavior trains the heart. The temptation is to focus on behavior. Behavior is a manifestation of what is going on inside. Your task is to help them understand the “overflow of the heart” aspect of their behavior. Your children need heart change. Change in the heart begins with conviction of sin. Conviction of sin comes through the conscience. You must get to the root issues by dealing with the conscience. You must be a person of long-term vision. You must see your children’s need for shepherding, not simply in terms of the here and now, but in terms of long-range vision.
5. Teenagers: Training Objectives
The benchmarks for this period of life are the onset of puberty and the time when the child leaves home to establish a home of his own. The teen years are years of monumental insecurity. The youth is neither a child nor an adult. He is unsure about how to act. Teens feel vulnerable about everything. They worry about their appearance.
The teenage years are often years of rebellion. Proverbs 1:7-19 furnishes you with such direction about parenting goals in this period of life. Three foundations of life in this passage: The fear of the Lord (v. 7), adherence to parental instruction (vv. 8-9), and disassociation from the wicked (vv. 10-19).
I am appaleled at the skepticism people express about helping teenagers see the importance of the fear of God. It is too often assumed that young people cannot be driven by godly motives. The teen who understands the fear of God will be delivered from danger. He will possess wisdom. He will grow in the knowledge of God.
Proverbs asserts that children will be enriched and greatly benefited by adherence to the values and instruction of their parents. There is no one who will be more honest or more tender than their own parents.
The call to association with the wicked comes to our kids. We must work to make home an attractive place to be. Home should be the shelter where the teen is understood and loved, where he is encouraged and shown the paths of life.
6. Teenagers: Training Procedures
Internalization of the gospel is the process of your children embracing the things of God as their own living faith. Your wish during this period is to see your children develop autonomous identities as persons under God. It is obvious that internalizing the gospel requires the work of the Holy Spirit in the child. All the reason for shepherding children's hearts is to see them come to know God. Your role during this period is a shepherding role of encouraign the child and seeking to influence him in the process of internalizing the gospel.
Teenagers are capable of colossal blunders. There is an enormous gap between the teen's desire to be autonomous and his understadning of life. What they need is parental interaction that is full of hope and courage when they made a mistake. The Proverbs tell us that pleasant words promote instruction. (Proverbs 16:21)
A good metaphor for the parent and teenage child relationship is the relationship adults would have with one another: waiting for the right time, deal with broad themes, and allowing room for disagreement.