FIVE RULES FOR CHILDREARING
by Keith Hunt
It is written, "So God created man in His own image ... male
and female created He them. And God blessed them and God said
unto them, Be fruitful and multiply..." (Genesis 1:27-28).
The eternal God not only made man and woman, it was He who
ordained marriage. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and
his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one
flesh (God invented sex). And they were both naked, the man and
his wife, and were not ashamed" (Genesis 2:24-25). To all of this
it can be said, "And God saw everything that he had made, and,
behold, it was very good.." (Genesis 1:31).
It was God's purpose and plan that male and female marry and
beget children - that they reproduce themselves. "Lo, children
are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is His
reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are
children of the youth. Happy is the man (and woman) that has his
quiver full of them..." (Psalms 127:3-5).
In God's society, He would want married couples to be
blessed with many children, who in turn would also be happy to
have a number of children. That's the way it would be in God's
society, where male and female would know why the two sexes were
created. That they would know the true values of marriage and
that children were never intended to be a burden but a reward and
a heritage from the Lord.
God is not only the Creator of all we see around us, He is
also the inventor and sustainer of all law - visible and
invisible (James 4:12). He is not only the inventor of marriage
and sex, but the giver of children and the laws that will produce
success in rearing them.
The Lord could promise Abraham what He did because. "...I
know him, that he will command his children and his household
after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice
and judgement. that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he
hath spoken of him" (Genesis 18:19).
Proverbs 22:6 holds a promise to all parents. A better
translation than the King James Version for understanding this
verse is found in the God News Bible. "Teach a child how he
should live, and he will remember it all of his life."
A child may not always follow the godly way of life taught
him or her by their parents, but they will never forget it was
taught to them. And, when the child who has wandered away from
the right path does come to desire to walk the good road to life,
all he was taught will come flooding back to the mind.
God's word gives us some very solid foundational points on
proper child rearing. Many of them are found in the book of
This article will elaborate on five areas of child rearing
that are not specifically stated in the Bible but are based on
time and experience - principles that have proven themselves to
be important in rearing decent, respectful, upright, and godly
young people and adults
1. TEACH AUTHORITY TO THE YOUNG WITH LOVE
Hold, Cuddle, and Show Love:
Some startling studies have been done with young children
that show just how important it is for a child's mental and
emotional well-being to be loved openly in hugs, cuddles. and
genuine affection. Those who were deprived of affection and love
and cuddling were generally backwards in physical, mental, and
emotional health. The children who were cuddled and loved were
just the opposite! Children need to know that they are wanted and
loved in order to develop to the fullest extent in all phases of
life. Make sure you do this with your child!
Teach the Meaning of the Word "NO":
Some will say this is too negative and that this is bad for
children. It is not, as I shall try to show, and I am presuming
that the parents are and have already given lots of love to their
young infant. A child must be taught the meaning of the word "NO"
because it could save his life one day, or save him from a
terrible crippling accident.
Your child is at the age of crawling, close to walking, and
he stands at the stove. He reaches up, about to put his hand on a
red hot burner. You shout, "NO!" If you've taught him/her the
meaning of that word, you will save your child from a terrible
burn because he/she will react instinctively by pulling the hand
away. There are dozens of near tragedies that I could give to
show just how important it is that your child know the
authoritative meaning of "NO".
How do you teach them this response? Simple. When the child
reaches for something he is not to touch say. "No" in a stern
tone, clear enough for him to hear, but not in a shout. If he
still touches it, give the hand a firm tap (so it will sting a
bit) to show that you mean business. Never strike in anger. If he
does break something, correct him but make sure you do not strike
in anger or scream. That will just make the child afraid of you
and that is not what you want. If you are consistent in your
reprimands, your child will get the message. This will save your
child and yourself some heavy grief at some point in his young
Speak Only Once:
How many parents have you heard saying, "Don't do that" time
after time after time? Are you one? By repeating themselves
without doing anything about what the child is doing, they are
teaching their child that they don't really mean what they say.
This definitely does not fulfil the "speak only once" principle.
In speaking only once, it is vitally important that you make
sure you speak distinctly and that it has been heard. It is no
use trying to whisper directions to your child across the room
when the stereo is going full blast in the same room at the same
time. To make sure the child hears you and understands, speak
clearly and make sure you carry out what you say.
Enforce Punishment for Disobedience:
You must carry out your orders. Threats are no good if the
child knows there is nothing behind them. But you must do it in
LOVE, not anger. The word of God says, "He that spares the rod
hates his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him...with hold
not correction from the child ... the rod and reproof give
wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame"
(Proverbs 13:24; 23.13; 29:15).
Remember that there are other forms of punishment as an
alternative to the paddle or the strap. Use different types of
discipline but DO discipline when it is needed. But, let me
repeat, do not spank in anger. That is most definitely not God's
If a reward is promised for a job well done, make sure you
give it to them. Never lie or pretend to your children as they
will not only lose confidence in you but will become liars and
2. TEACH CHILDREN MANNERS AND COURTESY
As soon as your children are able to talk, teach them to
say, "Thank you" and "You're welcome" and "Please." These words
will help to teach your child to never take anything for granted.
These are the most essential words of courtesy.
Teach them to be spontaneous in their prayers rather than a
rote repetition. Teach your child, by example as well as through
instruction, that mealtime is not to be rushed through like a
"bull in a china shop" nor is it to be ignored or wasted.
Mealtime should be a time of enjoyment, eating with respect, joy,
Teach your child that other people's property is not
available for inspection. In other words, keep them out of things
that do not belong to them. In your own home, a child should know
that they are not welcome snooping in, pulling out of, and
creating a mess in the cupboards of your kitchen. Also, they
should be taught that anything that is not theirs is off-limits.
This will help them to learn that when they are visiting,
cupboards, stereos, drawers, what-nots, knick-knacks, and other
things that don't belong to them, are off-limits and should be
Teach them to be respectful of elders, saying, "Yes, sir"
and "Yes, ma'am" to their parents, their teacher, the mailman,
and other adults that they come into contact with. They should
address such people politely and respectfully giving them their
due respect as to their age and authority.
A child who is taught to be courteous, mannerly, and polite,
will go far and have less trouble in life, as he or she becomes a
part of the adult society.
Through the decades I have know parents who have instilled
in their children what you have so far read. Outsiders have often
said, "Wow your children are so polite and respectful and behave
themselves so well." They may be taken-aback if told how you
have done it; many today would not approve of some of the things
I've said so far; they see the good result, but many would not
approve how you did it.
3. TEACH CHILDREN TO BE HELPFUL AND NEAT
Children should be taught early in life to help around the
house doing a variety of chores and being responsible for certain
things - naturally, the chores that they do will depend upon
their age and physical ability. It could be from carrying out the
garbage to washing the dishes, setting the table, to painting the
fence or mowing the lawn. No job should be classified as "sissy"
or "boyish". Some jobs do tend to be for the boy, due to their
being physical differences between the male and female and others
tend to be for the girl. But there should be no hard and fast
rule declaring a job as being a boy's job or another being a
girl's job. Use common sense in delegating chores and
responsibilities to your children, but make sure that you do give
them chores to do!
Being neat and tidy is something that must be taught from an
early age or the child is liable to develop some bad habits that
will follow him for the rest of his life. Being neat and tidy
also includes the child's room. Many parents feel that the
child's room is off limits to them (especially when their child
is a teenager), but this is not so.
A child must learn that his room is just as much a part of
the house as the living room or kitchen. Their room must be kept
neat, clean, and decorated according to their parents wishes. A
child's bedroom, and the way that he keeps it, will largely
determine how that child will keep his own home when he leaves
home. But do not be fanatical, always chirping away at them over
minor things.You have to be able to judge when YOU or THEM are
going over the line.
4. TELEVISION MUST BE CONTROLLED
The TV has become a constant companion for a large part of
our society. It is turned on in the morning and is not turned off
until the last person goes to bed. Even a TV wrist watch has been
invented so that a person can see his favorite shows wherever he
may be. Who controls the networks for the most part? Are they
people who fear God, live by His word, and have your spiritual
welfare in mind? Obviously not! Sure, there are some religious
networks on TV but the majority of TV programming is far from the
principles of God in content.
At the moment, there is no greater tool than the TV that the
adversaries of God can use to destroy you and your children (now
of course the Computer Internet also). It could be one of the
greatest tools for good but it is being used mainly as a
portrayal of violence, crime, immorality, etc. It laughs at the
family structure that God intended and generally downplays the
precepts of God. Even so-called "kid's shows" have allowed
profanity to become a common part of the show. Not all do, but
Any parent trying to raise his child on the principles of
God will have to control the use of the TV (and the Internet).
Select very carefully what programs the child is allowed to
see and make sure that the child doesn't watch anything
forbidden. Many of the shows on TV can completely ruin your
efforts in childrearing, as children are much more open to
receiving the principles given in a TV show than they are to
having them taught by the parents. TV seems to have a magical
effect on children and the "magic" must be controlled. If the
television cannot be controlled, get rid of it!! See the
principle Jesus gave in Matthew 18:8-9.
Also, do not allow the television to take away from valuable
time that the family spends together. No matter how "good" the
show may be, family time together is much more valuable and
beneficial, Activities, such as picnics, visits to the zoo, games
in the park, etc. are vital in building a close relationship
between parents and their children. Start these things when the
children are quite young and continue them until the children are
grown and have left. Even then, reunions are important for both
parents and children.
5. ESTABLISH REGULAR FAMILY WORSHIP AND SABBATH SCHOOL
It is an old but very true saying that, "the family that
prays together, stays together." This fifth rule for childrearing
is being stated last but is by no means the least!
The late FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover, once said, "A child who
has been taught to respect the laws of God will have little
difficulty respecting the laws of man"
Get into the habit of having daily Bible reading and prayer
as a family. Teach your children that the ways and commandments
of God are good.. But also remember the saying, "I'd rather see a
sermon than hear one any day." You will have to be a good example
yourself, in the way you live, if you expect your children to
grow up to be decent, upright Christians and citizens.
Having your children attend a weekly Sabbath School can be
another very important help in developing their lives along the
right channels of Godly character. If a Sabbath School is not
possible for you, then have your own with your children at home.
The Old Testament is full of stories that children love to
hear. Read them and try to talk about what lessons God would be
teaching us through those stories. There are a number of Bible
games and coloring books on the market that can be obtained from
some Bible Book Stores. Like anything else, be selective when
buying them and make sure they are suitable for your child's age.
If you have children that you are still raising or are
hoping to have children one day, remember that they are a
Blessing from God, our heavenly Father. With that blessing, comes
a tremendous responsibility. Take that responsibility seriously.
Apply these FIVE rules diligently. Read this article over
and over again to keep from forgetting, and never slacken your
diligence in this matter. If you persist with the correct way of
rearing your children, you will give them a life of peace, joy,
and a foundation for eternal life.