If I could do my parenting all over again, I would spend less time on teaching my kids to obey me and spend more time teaching them to make wise choices. Please don’t misunderstand me. It is good for children to obey their parents, but it is better for children to hear directly from God and obey Him.
If we make all the decisions for our children, they won’t know how to make decisions for themselves. You might ask, “What type of things should I let my child make decisions on?”
Start with small things. As your children get older allow them to say no to you at times. For example if Suzy doesn’t want to share her doll with her Mary, don’t make her share. If we make our kids share everything we teach to say ‘yes’ to everybody and that is not good. Our kids need to learn to think for themselves.
Another important aspect of teaching our children to make right choices is allowing them to experience the consequences – good and bad – of their choices.
Too many times well meaning parents will “rescue” their children from experiencing the negative consequences of wrong choices. When we do this, and we all do, we actually teach our children that it is okay to make a wrong choice and we set them up for failure.
Eli did this with Hophni and Phinehas. He should have fired them because they dishonored the Lord and caused God’s people to transgress, but instead he continued to keep them employed as priests at the temple. The end result was that Eli and his sons died and most likely are in hell. The Bible says, “Their sins will never be forgiven.”(1 Samuel 3:14)
It’s really hard to not help our kids because we don’t want our kids to experience heartache, but if we always rescue them we are not allowing the law of sowing and reaping to operate in their lives.
The third thing we need to do is to teach our children to follow their conscience. Every child has a conscience and they know right from wrong and yet we continue to train our children to always check with mom and dad to find out what is right or wrong. We should be training them to listen to that red and green light on the inside of them.
When a child says, “My mom won’t let me watch that movie.” That tells me that he is still depending on mom to make his decisions. A child is beginning to grow up spiritually when he can say, “I don’t want to watch that movie because it’s not good for me.”
Last but not least we need to teach our kids to ask themselves some hard questions:
- Is this the wise thing for me to do?
- Does these choices get me closer to where I want to be?
When we will be empowering our children to think for themselves and to make wise choices. The end result will be that they know how to get to where they want to be.