Thursday, May 17, 2012

A happy, harmonious home, isn't that what all parents want? I wrote these rules on raising children to help parents know what expectations will help their developing children be content and responsible.  

21 Non-Negotiables for Raising Children

Dearest Children,

We’re privileged by God to parent you. Your good behavior is not negotiable, it’s an expectation, always essential and required. We choose to protect you from physical as well as emotional and spiritual danger by having you observe these non-negotiables. 

God created a world of order. Order and discipline are needed to participate in the world. Self-will doesn’t rule in our home or in life. There is to be order within your hearts and within our home. Emotions as well as behaviors must be in order.

You’ll be stretched to observe these 21 rules at times, but you’ll feel content and satisfied when you do. Best of all God will be pleased when you live by these godly principles which are all based on obedience and love.

We’ll discuss these 21 Non-Negotiables with you when you sit at the table, when you go to bed at night, and we'll post them in our home. Deut. 4:6.

1. When you receive discipline know that its source is our love for you. We will not allow you to be a brat.

2. You will not be allowed to shame yourself or our family by bad behavior if we can prevent it.

3. Getting your way is unacceptable if it differs from our way or God’s way. Also excuses or lying are equally forbidden. You will be truthful at all times.

4. Being selfish and self-centered is not acceptable; it won’t win you friends but a humble and generous spirit will serve you well.

5. Food will not be used as a reward for good behavior.

6. You’ll eat the healthy foods prepared for family meals without discussion or silently prepare a bowl of cereal for yourself.

7. Prompt disciplinary action can be expected for any deviation from these non-negotiables. No need to be surprised or complain.

8. Treat your possessions and those of the family with respect or they’ll be removed from your use.

9. Keeping your room in order is essential.

10. Work diligently and obediently in school.

11. Complaining shows lack of gratitude, which displeases God and parents.

12. Going to church/Sunday school with a cheerful demeanor and open mind is expected.

13. Giving eye contact when an adult speaks to you is a good habit that will benefit you all your life.

14. Be respectful and helpful to siblings at ALL times.

15. Reading and learning at home will happen in equal or greater proportion to time spent on computer/TV.

16. Choices are not negotiable when they’re bad. Bad choice is any choice that goes against parent’s wisely thought out desires or wishes.

17. You’re not going to be our friend until you are between the ages of eighteen or twenty-one. Being a parent differs from being a friend.

18. You’re expected to obey any person we place in authority over you.

19. Participate in keeping our home orderly by putting away anything you take out before taking out something else.

20. Know that you are precious and treasured, but you are a child and we are adults required by God to teach you and train you to be a responsible person.

21. Mom and Dad work all day. Our job is not to pamper you. Instead we will work together and play together as well as enjoy personal time to develop our own interests.

These 21 Rules are not beyond the ability of  5 and 6 year olds and work marvels with teens. Children are far smarter than adults realize and will be so much happier with set rules and firm, loving guidance than with being out of control.

“Let the little children come to me [Jesus], and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17.

A Woman's Guide 52 Ways to Choose Happiness and Fulfillment  discusses more ways to nurture children.