My philosophy for parenting has always come directly from my faith. The two actions of believing and rearing children are intricately linked for me. And therefore, how I see children, how I believe they should be treated, and the goals that I have for their training, all come from how I see God and what I read in scripture.
In its most simple form, I believe that the outcome of all of my parenting efforts is to get my kids ready to have a personal relationship with God. I believe the authority that I have in their lives is given by God, but that it should reflect the kind of authority that God has in my life.
So I guess the first step in describing my parenting philosophy is to go back to describe a portion of my worldview. I believe that God is all-knowing, is everywhere and in everything, and is intimately involved in my life. I believe He wants me to truly be who I am, using all of my God-given gifts to serve others. I believe there are times that God allows me to create with Him, and I believe there are times that He simply says, “Because I said so.” That phrase isn’t used to put me in my place, but might be used for a variety of reasons, like the answer is too complicated for me to understand, the timing isn’t right for me to get an explanation, or I don’t need the reasons to accomplish what He wants to me right then.
I believe that, as a parent, there is a time for a creative conversation with my children, but that there is also a time to say, “Because I said so.” In fact, I believe that, until there is complete obedience, there isn’t the safety and room for my kids to join in a creative dialogue with me. I understand that there are some parents that have no place for the word “command” or “authority” in their parenting beliefs, but I believe that there is a heavenly harmony between authority and love, between obedience and liberty.
In Genesis 18:19, the Lord says, “I know Abraham, 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 will bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him.”
In their younger years, children are expected to obey, first time, with a happy heart, what I am asking them to complete. There is no room for dialogue. I need to know that when I tell my child to not cross the street, that he won’t do anything but immediately obey, for his own safety. As that obedience, coated in love and relationship, is practiced and understood, then, as they get older, there is plenty of room for co-creating.
Where I am at in my journey of parenting is playfully creating and dreaming with my kids. I am reaping the benefits of consistent and loving correction in their younger years, and I am loving it. In the absence of external trauma or internal family problems, the teen years do NOT have to be torturous, angst-ridden, angry years. If you buy into the philosophy when they’re young that, before anything, your child must obey completely, then the joy of relationship can shine through in their teen years.