Parents, you have the God-given authority to train your children. Use it. Do not be afraid of it. Your job during childhood is not to be your child's friend. If you set a strong foundation then hopefully you will reach this stage when they grow to adulthood. In the meantime they will have plenty of friends/equals; they do not need you to fill this role (and beware of using your children to meet your need for friendship). In contrast, children only have one set of parents to rely on for their training and guidance. Please do not deny them this critical and unique relationship.
Your child does not have the life experience or the moral conscience to make right choices. They rely on you as parents to train them through all stages as they grow.
Authority has been a struggle for generations. Everybody has an idea for handling authority: diversion, persuasion, surrender, bribery, pleading. Parents are afraid that they will suffocate their child's personality. Dr James Dobson writes that we need to "shape the will without breaking the spirit". How can we do that?
God tells us that authority is necessary for our growth and development and if we submit to His authority we will find perfect peace.
Are you an over-indulgent, permissive parent or an authoritarian parent? (Both extremes are unbiblical.)
There is a balance that works. You can parent in a way that not only gets behavioural results from your child but leaves him or her happier and more contented than ever.
Parental authority represents the right of parents to insist upon conformity and compliance, especially in these three areas of life - morality, health and safety, and life skills.
Lead by the power of your authority when the child is young and with the strength of your influence as they are older. The need for parental authority should decline as your child begins to exercise personal self control, restraint and initiative. Their respect for you will determine their behaviour. Their respect and love for you will encourage a respect and love for God.
Between the ages of two and six years old your primary aim is to establish your leadership in the life of your child. This is a phase of setting boundaries that give way to freedoms as responsible behaviour is demonstrated. In this phase you need to establish control over your child so that the child can reach their full potential. Do other people enjoy having your children around? This phase is the foundation for this.
The training phase takes place from the ages seven to twelve years old. You can explain reasons for the corrections you are trying to make to their behaviour and they will work with you to develop the skills they need, both moral and physical. The child will only listen to your training tips if you have gained control of them in the discipline stage.
The coaching phase is from ages thirteen to nineteen. You are on the sidelines of the game now and relying on the training you have given them in previous years. They are moving forward on their own but still responding to your influence. However your child will only accept your coaching if you have done your job as a trainer.
Friendship is the final phase and the one we look forward to.
The process starts by planting a seed. As you nurture the seed it will sprout and bring forth its beauty in time.
The process is rewarding if done sequentially and mirrors the relationship development in our lives as children of God.