Parenting in the 21st Century has become more challenging than it has ever been.
We live in world where Biblical and principled parenting is under attack. Many anti-family and anti-parenting concepts have been introduced in the world with the deliberate intention of completely changing the Biblical concept of what it means to be a good parent.
In the life of a child in the 21st century, a mother and father are no longer the only parents of a particular child. In our ungodly world, a single child has more than just a mother and father as his/her parents.
Unfortunately, the television has also become the parent; the internet & social media have become the parent; the popular half-naked celebrities have become the parents; the atheist school teacher has become the parent; even the government has become the parent.
However, should parenting problems only be blamed on television, celebrities, social media and the like? Perhaps part of the blame might also go to many parents themselves who have surrendered to worldly values and therefore fail to bring up their children in a godly manner.
So the question is – what are the qualities of a good parent? What does the Bible say is the duty of a parent and why is it important to practice good parenting skills.
1. A GOOD PARENT MUST TEACH & TRAIN UP A CHILD
Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
The best human authority figures to train up a growing child are the parents of that particular child.
Training for life and training pertaining to values and principles should not be left to the internet sites, celebrities or even the Sunday school teacher.
It is the duty of a good parent to teach and train a child the correct values and principles for that child to become a good and godly person in life and society.
Children are products of what they have been taught by the authority figures in the lives. For example, a child who grows up to be a violent and abusive adult may have been taught directly or indirectly by an authority figure in his life that violence and abuse is the answer to solving problems.
A good parent must also understand that children do not only learn through our words only, but they also learn by watching our behavior and actions within the home.
The “do as I say and not as I do” concept does not work in relation to parenting. Instead a good parent teaches and trains a child by being an example.
2. A GOOD PARENT LEAVES AN INHERITANCE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
Proverbs 13:22 says A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.
A good parent does not only live for his own generation. Good parents do not live and create wealth only for themselves and then leave their children with nothing by the time the parents die.
Good parents will always work and live with the next generation of their family in mind.
Even God thinks generationally. Therefore a good parent must leave wealth, knowledge and godly values that will equip and help the family for generations.
Therefore just bad certain sins and iniquities can be observed & experienced generationally within a particular family, it is also possible that wealth and many other blessings can be observed & experienced generationally within a family.
It is therefore up to parents to ensure that they bless the next generation and not curse them.
3. A GOOD PARENT DISCIPLINES HIS CHILDREN
Hebrews 12:7 says It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
Proverbs 19:18 says Discipline your son while there is hope, And do not desire his death
The discipline of a child is an important part when it comes to parenting. It is also important for the development of the child as well.
Discipline not only asserts who is in authority between a parent and child, but it also teaches the child to respect different authorities in life.
Discipline also helps a child to understand that there can be consequences to making bad or irresponsible life choices & decisions.
Therefore discipline should always be done in love. Discipline should be done to teach and not necessarily to simply “punish”.
It’s also important for a parent to understand the difference between discipline and abuse.
Abuse does not build up a child. Abuse destroys a child’s development. However, while discipline might not be popular to a child for a while, the discipline will lead to positive results in a child’s development.
The Bible therefore encourages parents to discipline their children because it will ultimately benefit the child as he/she grows and develops.
4. A GOOD PARENT LOVES HIS/HER CHILDREN
Titus 2:4 says “that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children”.
Love is an important virtue of any human and interpersonal relationship. Children are supposed to first learn the meaning of love through their parents. Within the family, love is not only reflected by words alone, but children are capable of understanding what love is, through the actions and behavior of their parents.
If love and affection is not shown or reflected in the home, a child will also become unloving or unaffectionate when he/she grows up.
However, every person – especially children, yearn for love and affection and this is a need that every parent must reflect towards his/her child.
5. A GOOD PARENT DOES NOT HINDER A CHILD FROM A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
Matthew 19:13-14 says Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
A good parent allows his/her children to relate with Jesus Christ. A good parent will not hinder his/her child from having a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. A good parent will desire for his/her child to go to church and fellowship with Bible believing Christians.
One of the most important duties of a parent is to point a child to focus on Jesus Christ and to enable the child to one day make a personal decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord & Saviour.
The whole point of training up a child as mentioned in Proverbs 22:6 is so that the child may grow up to become a godly person who has a relationship with Christ.
6. A GOOD PARENT PROVIDES FOR HIS CHILDREN
1 Timothy 5:8 says But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
A good parent provides for the physical, emotional and psychological needs of his/her child. Even if a husband and wife are divorced, it is important for the divorced parents to look after the welfare of their child.
Children should not have to be neglected just because the parents are divorced. Therefore both mother and father have an obligation to provide for their child or children.
Deuteronomy 11:18-19 says “You shall therefore lay up these words of Mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise”.
Ultimately parents are required to obey the word of God in every area of life. Parents are then required by God to teach the word of God to their children.
Parents are encouraged by God to pass on spiritual and godly values for life to their own kids and thereby create a better, godly generation.