Light is sown for the righteous, And gladness for the upright in heart.

Psalm 97:11

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View June 2006 Issue >>
 

Fathers who Build Confident Kids

 

Congratulations, you have decided to have kids. You are tired of having clean furniture and a tidy house.  You need a new challenge in your life and it seems like such a great idea and    besides the neighbours have kids and you are not about to be outdone by the people next door. 

THOUSANDS OF BOOKS, ARTICLES AND OTHER forms of instructional media are available to guide the new father on the path of fatherhood.  Many provide conflicting advice whilst promising outstanding results.  The new father is faced with the decision as to the advice he will follow realising that he has only one shot at this project. There is no second chance to raise a child.

Where do you begin?  God did not leave you in the dark as to how to raise your children. He provided a comprehensive manual describing in detail, how to nurture, develop and raise your children.  Your children will need to grow, physically, mentally and emotionally to be all that God destined them to be. 

As a dad, you have the awesome privilege and responsibility of overseeing this process.  Your responsibility is to ensure your children are raised being certain of having the ability, judgement and resources that they need to succeed.  You want the very best for your children. You have great plans for their future and plans for their success. Will this result in them growing up to be the confident, well adjusted individuals that God intended for them to be?  Do you need some help in raising confident kids?  Let’s get to work then, there is no time to lose!

 

Realise that your children are individuals

Children are different, it is God’s idea. Observe families and you will be amazed how children born into the same family can be so different in nature, temperament and appearance.  This is quite normal.  Let’s check the manual and make sure we are still on track here.  Psalm 139:14-16 reassures us that this is no factory defect but rather it is part of the master plan. “I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvellous! Of this I have no doubt.  Nothing about me is hidden from you! I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below, but with your own eyes you saw my body being formed. Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do.”  Remember, God never says “Oops”.

 

Children are different, it is God’s idea. Observe families and you will be amazed how children born into the same family can be so different in nature, temperament and appearance.  This is quite normal.  Let’s check the manual and make sure we are still on track here.  Psalm 139:14-16 reassures us that this is no factory defect but rather it is part of the master plan. “I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvellous! Of this I have no doubt.  Nothing about me is hidden from you! I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below, but with your own eyes you saw my body being formed. Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do.”  Remember, God never says “Oops”.

Without boundaries, your children cannot evaluate if they are doing the right thing or not.  Set boundaries and you allow your children to develop self discipline.  The word ‘discipline’ is an emotive topic in modern society.  It is important to remember that discipline is not something you do TO your child, it is something you do FOR your child. For safety let us check the manual again.  Proverbs 23: 13-14:

“Don’t fail to correct your children. You won’t kill them by being firm, and it may even save their lives.”

Bill Cosby said he didn’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is: 

a)   Listen to everything people say or:

b)  Listen to nothing people say.

Discipline can be viewed in the same way. As a father you can choose:

a)  To always discipline or

b)  Never discipline.

The secret lies in finding the balance. You need to apply discipline without destroying the self esteem of your children. Here is a great tip: Praise your children in public and discipline in private.

 

Give your children assurance and affirmation

During the formative years, your children see you as their hero and a source of wisdom.  This will change as they become teenagers so use the opportunity to make sure you lay firm foundations.          

Speak positive words over your children.

Be on the lookout daily for reasons to praise them.

Never open your mouth without engaging your brain. Think before you speak.

Realise that your every word has a permanent impact on their lives.

They want your approval and encouragement.

Sticks and stones do limited damage compared to the negative words spoken to our children – those hurts are INTERNAL.  Keep your words positive.

 

Allow them to make mistakes in a safe environment

Here is a secret.  Surprising, yet true, your children will make some mistakes during training. Your response to their mistakes is critical. It will determine their confidence in later years.  Reassure them that making mistakes is OK by:

 

  • Making their mistakes part of the learning process.
  • Turning the mistakes into lesson opportunities.
  • Not becoming judgmental or comparative when dealing with mistakes and  avoiding saying things like “Why can’t you be like your brother?”
  • Helping the children take responsibility for their actions without creating a disciplinary situation.
  • Controlling your anger, temper and frustration at what has just happened.
  • Helping them to understand the consequences of their actions.

 

Teach your children the importance of absolutes

You will be raising your children in a society that denies the existence of absolutes.  A healthy understanding of right and wrong will be an asset to your children in the future.  Truth is not relative.  If you place your finger in an electric outlet you will get electrocuted, even if you firmly believe that you will not.  Instruct your children correctly or they will be lured into an ‘If it feels good, do it’ culture.  This will result in disaster down the road.  Perhaps we should check the Manual on this one just to be sure.  Proverbs 22:6 says “Teach your children right from wrong, and when they are grown they will still do right.” 

Help your children develop a sense of destiny and an understanding of the terminal point of life.  Without a beginning and an end, the journey is meaningless.

 

Help them to accept themselves for who they are

Peer pressure sets us up to try and be somebody that we were never meant to be.  We see the portrayal of the perfect specimen in the media and we set off on a trail that leads to disappointment and destruction.  We have already discovered that God planned our lives before we were born and the way we look is not a mistake.  Some are short, some tall, some are thin others are less thin. The reality is that you need to help your children to accept themselves for who they are.  Do not make the mistake of ignoring the peer pressure that your children will experience.  Through the channels of school, neighbourhood, music, fashion, television and movies, your children’s perception of who they should be may become blurred.  Take time to reinforce God’s master plan for their lives and reassure them that God made them as they are on purpose.

 

Make time to be their best friend

Here is a vital component of your role as father.  In the busyness of life, you may be tempted to take short cuts when it comes to spending time with your child.  They look to you as a mentor, a confidant and a friend. If you are not there for them, they will find a substitute and this is usually where things go wrong.  A myriad diversions are waiting to take your place as their friend.  Drugs, alcohol and inappropriate relationships are just a few of the alternatives to your friendship.  Take heart, they all come a distant second to you and if you make the time you will discover that the results are well worth the effort.

Well, isn’t it time for you to take the controls now?  You can make a difference in your child’s life today, and remember if you forget something, it is all in the “Manual”!

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