How To Train Your Children To Make The Right Choices
by Olga Hermans
My children are all grown up now; I have a daughter and a son. I love them both; they are on fire for God and desire to serve Him with everything they have. They are truly a blessing to me and my husband.
But….if I would have a chance to do everything over again, I would spend less time on teaching my kids to obey me and spend more time teaching them to make wise choices. I remember the times that I thought it was the most important thing for them to obey us as parents. That is how I had grown up and so I didn’t know any better.
And of course, 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 because they want to.
So, what are we doing when we make all the decisions for them? They won’t know how to make decisions for themselves.
There are so many areas in life where they need to know how to make a decision and how to choose for themselves. You can start with things that really don’t matter; things where they don’t sin when they make the wrong choice.
I remember when one of my children wanted to build a friendship with some body that I knew wasn’t the right choice. I knew that this friendship wasn’t going to last for more than one reason, but she wanted to hold on to that choice just to find out later that it really wasn’t what she had expected from it and it was a short friendship.
So, now she knew that some choices that seem to be right are not always right.
Then there comes a time that your children get older and you need to allow them to say no to you at times. For example: you might want to go to a particular restaurant for lunch, but your children don’t like it. It’s okay to let him or her make some of the decisions as long as it is not rebellion or manipulation.
Another important aspect of teaching our children to make right choices is allowing them to experience the consequences – good or bad – of their choices.
You and I as parents want to “rescue” our 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 because someone will always be there to save them and in the end, we set them up for failure.
Remember Eli in the Old Testament with his sons: Hophni and Phinehas. Eli should have taught them and warned them about the wrong things they were doing; they were dishonoring the Lord and defiling the temple and their own temple. But, Eli never confronted them and kept them employed as priests at the temple, which was not a good thing. The Bible says, “their sins will never be forgiven.”(Samuel 3:14)
This is difficult for us as parents to confront our children for certain things. I am much more confronting with our children than my husband is. I know the heartache of being in the unknown of some things in life and I have wished many times that my parents would have informed me of certain things. My father was a hard working business man, but he never talked to us about what he had to do to come that far.
He only told us that money didn’t grow on trees and that we had to work hard to make some money. So, when he died at 57 years of age, we all were in the unknown and experienced some heartache in our lives.
You see, if we rescue our children from certain consequences in life, we are not allowing the law of sowing and reaping to operate in their lives.
Here are 4 ways you can help your children make the right choices
1. Allow your children to make their own choices some of the time and as they get older; allow them to say no to you as well. When you do, it lets them feel independent and it shows your children that you trust them.
2. Let them experience the consequences of their choices; the good, the bad and the ugly so to speak. If you protect your children from the bad consequences, they will never learn from their mistakes.
3. Teach your children to follow their conscience; this should be fun! Every child loves to learn this; it makes them feel responsible for themselves. Every child has a conscience. Why do we as parents always have our kids check with us when they have to make a choice to watch a certain movie or read a certain book? We should be training them to listen to that red and green light on the inside of them.
4. Last but not least, we need to teach our children to think right thoughts, because our choices are a product of what we have been thinking about.
I think that most children don’t even realize that they have choices. We owe it to our children to teach them that they have control over what they think. That is the only way that they can have control over their own life. We as parents don’t have any control over what they are thinking, even God doesn’t have that control; we need to inform our children that what they think and speak will eventually become their destiny.
I truly believe that if we do these things we empower our children to make the right choices; they will do mighty exploits on the earth because God’s blessing will be upon their lives.
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