According to Pew Research Center, kids (and especially teens) will typically follow the same religion as their parents. Yet the data also mentions that when it comes to being Christian, teens are less likely to identify that way compared to their parents.
If you want to raise your child in a Christian household, what are some parenting tips you need to know?
As Christian parents, it’s important to let love guide you in raising your children. As you build your familial bond, remember also to tend to your relationship with God as a family.
Instill in your children your Christian values yet be willing to be flexible as your children mature into teens.
We’re sure you have yet more questions about how to parent your children while keeping true to the Christian faith. We’ll strive to provide those answers in this guide. Ahead, we’ll have lots more great tips to make sense of your children at all ages and stages of their faith in God. Keep reading!
- Our Top Parenting Tips For Christian Parents
- 1.Above All, Love Your Children
- 2.Prioritize Going To Church
- 3.Instill In Your Children Your Christian Values
- 4.Build Your Family’s Relationship With God At Home
- 5.Have Christian Role Models In Your Child’s Life
- 6.Appreciate Your Children For Who And What They Are
- 7.Pay Attention To Your Children’s Talents And Gifts
- 8.Keep Your Relationship Flexible As Your Child Matures
- 8.Have Empathy Towards Your Children
- How Should Christian Parents Discipline?
- How Can You Make Your Children Feel Comfortable Talking to You?
Our Top Parenting Tips For Christian Parents
1.Above All, Love Your Children
In Philippians 1:9-10, there’s a quote that should resonate with any Christian parent. Here it is: “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.”
Yes, you want to teach your children all the knowledge that you’ve been blessed with as part of the Christian faith. Yet sometimes parents can be so blinded with their roles as knowledge-sharers that they forget that primarily, they’re supposed to be caregivers.
The best care you can ever give your children is unconditional love.
The relationship you have with each of your children is one of the most important in your life. As you model to them what a healthy relationship is supposed to look like, that makes it easier for your children to treat one another with respect and love, as well as treat you that way.
They can also strengthen their relationship with God.
2.Prioritize Going To Church
Children learn from what their parents do, so by putting your godly relationship first, you teach your children to prioritize God as well in everything they do. Make sure that you do actually put God first, even on those days in which you’re tired or you have a lot on your plate.
That means committing to attending Sunday church every week. Your children might complain about this at first, as going to church means getting up early on a weekend. They also can’t see their friends or stay home and play video games.
Yet the more that you prove to your children how important God is in your life, the more important His role shall thus become in your children’s lives as well. This can continue even into your children’s more difficult teenage years.
After all, Pew Research, in that same survey as quoted in the intro, states that teens will go to church with their parents at a rate of 74 percent, with 25 percent attending services with one parent and 40 percent with both.
Although most teens don’t like being seen out in public with their parents as they try to appear more independent, by setting regular church habits in childhood, those habits should continue into adolescence.
3.Instill In Your Children Your Christian Values
All Christians have godly values that they use as the pillars of their own lives. Maybe you follow the Ten Commandments verbatim or you’ve taken your values from a variety of bible verses. Imparting these values in your children is one of the best things you can do as a parent.
You should teach your children to have respect for others. As Matthew 7:12 tells us, “Treat others as you would want them to treat you.” This quote has transcended the Bible and is basic wisdom that even non-Christian parents and teachers will pass along to children.
Your child cannot control another person’s behavior, but by being respectful, they’re ensuring that they’re treating that person as best they can. Others will appreciate that respect, both in school and elsewhere.
You also want to teach your children the Christian value of compassion. “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow in anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made,” states Psalm 145:8-9.
Compassion in everyday life is kindness towards others. It’s reserving one’s temper and prioritizing treating someone well. It’s not always easy for children to be compassionate, but as they get older, they’ll realize its value more and more.
Love is another great Christian value your children should get to understand. As 1 Corinthians 16:14 mentions, “Let all that you do be done in love.”
Keep in mind that love to a child is only familial or based around friendship, not really romantic love. Yet when the day comes when your child is mature enough to pursue romantic love, following that Corinthians Bible quote will make them a fantastic partner.
4.Build Your Family’s Relationship With God At Home
Don’t stop at attending church as a family. Invite God into your life and into your home every day in ways both big and small. Your family can pray together each night before eating dinner or perhaps before bedtime, maybe even both.
Depending on the age of your children, they may not know what to pray for as they first begin the habit. You should be clear that you’re praying for them and your spouse or partner so they may do the same. Tell them to pray for others in their lives as well.
You can also participate in family devotions at home. During family devotions, you can read your favorite Bible quotes and then discuss them. This is a great way to bond through religion.
In Deuteronomy 6:6-9, God said to the Israelites the following: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Scheduling family devotion can admittedly be tough at times. Children today have more commitments than ever both inside the classroom and outside of it. Yet whether you make the time for family devotion in the evenings or on the weekends, it should be done.
Remind your children how important family devotion is. Tell them to turn their smartphones off until you’re finished. Limit other distractions as well so your children can get the full benefit of these religious lessons.
5.Have Christian Role Models In Your Child’s Life
Are you worried that your child might make friends with nefarious characters when they’re at school? While you can’t prevent that entirely, you can reduce its likelihood by introducing more godly role models into their life at an early age.
From Christian family members to neighbors, church members, and others in your community, these people can all play a major role in the lives your children. You might enroll the kids in Bible camp over the summer so they can meet others their age who are also of the same faith.
Yes, your children will meet non-Christians in school, and chances are, they will befriend these people. Yet if they grew up surrounded by a loving Christian support system, they should be able to choose positive influences in their own life. They’re honoring God by honoring their heart and avoiding ungodly influences.
6.Appreciate Your Children For Who And What They Are
Whether you have one child or five, their personalities can be so rich. Some of your children might be bright and outgoing, eager to talk to everyone. Your other kids might be more withdrawn.
Although these various changes in personality can make parenting frustrating at times, remember that God created each of your children just as they’re supposed to be.
God also will only give you as much as you can handle. So yes, you have to raise your children using parenting different styles, but once you get the hang of it, your days together will be more harmonious.
Any child wishes that their parent sees them for exactly who they are and loves and accepts them anyway. By doing this with your children every day, you give your kids the greatest gift that you can in this life: unconditional love.
Your acceptance will inspire confidence in your children so they can achieve their dreams.
Here’s yet another reason to appreciate your children exactly as they are now. They grow up so quickly. One day you’ll wake up and your young child will be a teenager. You’ll be glad that you took the time to appreciate all their days in between!
7.Pay Attention To Your Children’s Talents And Gifts
God blesses each of us with special talents and gifts. These are part of what makes us unique individuals. While you may know what your gifts are now, it might have taken you many years to figure them out.
In childhood, kids will try lots of different hobbies and activities to see which ones they like and want to continue pursuing. Pay attention to what your children are doing. Get engaged in their hobbies and activities too. Attend sports games or recitals and support your children.
You may notice where God has blessed your children even before they do. You should share your knowledge of their gifts with your kids. As a parent, it’s now easier to envision how God has created your child to use their gifts.
Encourage your child to share their gifts with the world in this way, yet remember that, at the end of the day, your children are just that, children. They may grow out of certain activities and hobbies. Although it isn’t easy to watch your child leave their gifts by the wayside, you must allow them the autonomy to make that decision.
God has a plan for each and every one of us. If it’s not this set of gifts that your child utilizes, then surely, they’ll come across more gifts later on that are meant to be a greater part of their life. Have faith in God’s plan.
8.Keep Your Relationship Flexible As Your Child Matures
As we said, time seems to go by so much faster when you have children. It seems like you blink for a moment and then suddenly, your children aren’t children anymore.
Once your children mature into teenagers, this calls for reevaluating your Christian parenting strategies. Although your teens might be more willing to go to church with you, many other parts of their routine and lives will have changed.
You can’t keep expecting them to go to bed at the same time they did when they were children.
Your teens will want to spend more time with their friends than with you and your spouse/partner. This is normal, so try not to take it personally. Yet also, don’t become so detached that you’re now a secondary character in your child’s life.
Proverb 27:23 says it best: “Be diligent and know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.”
Your children are your sheep, so they are both your flock and your herd. You must know what they are doing and who they’re with. Also, although you want to give your teen more independence than when they were children, you must still set boundaries.
For example, you might have a curfew for your teen, maybe 9 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on the weekends. Perhaps your curfew is even earlier. You expect your teen to respect the curfew or there will be disciplinary consequences.
We’ll talk a little later about how Christian parents should discipline their children, so make sure you check it out.
8.Have Empathy Towards Your Children
Anybody can be sympathetic, but being empathetic does not come as easily. To be sympathetic is to extend sorrowful feelings towards someone else who’s undergoing a difficult situation. Yet to be empathetic is to put yourself in that person’s shoes and feel what you imagine they’re feeling.
As Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” That’s empathy in a nutshell.
Unlike sympathy, which is only reserved for unfortunate life circumstances, you can be empathetic in both positive and negative scenarios, as the Romans Bible verse proves.
When your children or teens come to you with a problem, stop for a moment and think about what your own experiences were like with that issue. Although children of today grow up very differently than your own adolescence thanks to smartphones and social media, at the end of the day, childhood experiences are still quite similar.
If your child is complaining about being bullied, for example, and you’ve had experiences with bullying, you can easily understand what it feels like. Even if you don’t have direct experience with what your child is going through, if you’re empathetic, you can imagine how they’d feel in that situation.
Since empathy comes from related experiences and/or feelings, it’s a lot easier to connect with your children about these issues that aren’t always so easy to talk about. Your kids will appreciate that you’re trying to relate to them rather than lecture them. Your relationship will be better for it.
How Should Christian Parents Discipline?
As much as you’ve tried to teach your child the right things they should do in life, there will inevitably come a time–make that many times–when they do what they shouldn’t. In these situations, you must discipline your child, as this tells them that their behavior is not correct.
Yet what does discipline entail as a Christian parent? Although many parents associate discipline with spanking or hitting with a wooden spoon, discipline does not have to be and should not be violent.
Here are some more effective disciplinary measures you can use in all sorts of situations.
Take Away Privileges
Few punishments mean more to young kids than no phone for the evening, no video games, or no social media. If your kids are less tech-savvy, you can take away other important privileges, like grounding your child. Sometimes even saying “no dessert” is enough depending on the child’s age.
If your child tells you that they don’t care about what you’re taking away, don’t fall for it. They’re trying to act tough, but that response means that your child does care quite a lot.
If you’re not comfortable taking away your child or teen’s privileges, you can always discipline with chores. Your kids will appreciate what you do around the house much more when they have to take care of the cleaning, vacuuming, and mopping!
As an adult, when you do something wrong, you’re held accountable. You can give your child a reality lesson in accountability even at their age. For instance, if they broke their sibling’s toy in a fit of rage, you’d make your child use their allowance to replace the toy.
Christian parents dealing with toddlers and young kids who get very vocal about their anger should certainly use time-out. You send your child to their room or elsewhere for a limited amount of time. Maybe you ask your child to pray or read the Bible during a time-out to make the time more effective.
Sometimes a verbal warning is discipline enough. If you’re getting irritated with your child’s behavior, you might tell them that if they continue misbehaving, you’ll take away their privileges or assign them chores.
You must be willing to follow through with the threat. If you don’t, then you teach your children that you will say something in the moment but not follow through with it. Older children will take advantage of this.
How Can You Make Your Children Feel Comfortable Talking to You?
As your child grows up, difficult conversations will have to follow. Your teen might want to talk to you about sex or underage drinking, perhaps even drug use. This doesn’t necessarily mean your child has engaged in any of these acts, just that they have questions.
It can be easy to overreact when faced with a conversational topic like this, especially as a Christian parent. Instead, you should take a deep breath and then respond in the following ways.
Thank Your Teen For Coming To You
Your teenager could have talked to anyone else, their peers, a friend, a school counselor, a teacher, or even a stranger online. Instead, they chose to come to you, their parent.
Don’t just silently acknowledge that, thank your teenager aloud. You can also say something like “I appreciate that you feel like you can trust me enough to talk to me about a sensitive issue.”
This might make your teen more willing to come to you about similar issues in the future depending on how the conversation goes.
Your child might come clean and admit that they had sex or even tried alcohol. You’re going to want to go through the roof, but please don’t. If you judge your teen and begin going on a tirade, they won’t ever want to come to you about anything again.
Remember, your teen didn’t have to tell you this. For all intents and purposes, they got away with whatever they did because you hadn’t found out until now. They either felt guilty or confused and decided they needed to talk about their actions.
They shouldn’t be punished for that. You need to leave the anger out of your voice when you respond, and don’t judge them either.
The past is in the past and it can’t be changed. All that can be helped is what’s in the future. This is where you can come in.
Answer Your Teen’s Questions Honestly
Your teenager will probably have questions, and it’s up to you to answer them. Use your own experiences and knowledge to explain the situation your teen is going through and what the consequences are.
Don’t threaten your teen unnecessarily while you two are talking. For example, if your teenager had unprotected sex, don’t say something like “you better not be pregnant.”
They might be pregnant or they might not be, but your teen is just as scared as you are, if not more so. Threats will make them feel worse.
Talk About Having A Follow-up Conversation
These adult conversations are rarely one-and-done. You’ll likely need to have several follow-ups depending on the extent of the situation, the duration of your conversations, and how many unaddressed questions your teenager still has.
Remind your teen that you two can pick up the conversation whenever they feel ready and then let them come to you.
Christian parents who are trying to raise their children in a godly way should remember the values of love, respect, and compassion. Don’t just teach these values to your children, but model the values every day in your interactions with your kids, your spouse or partner, your church, and everyone you meet. Your children will grow up to do the same!
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I worked in the accounting field. I am also a Certified Food Handler. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to mom’s life and homemaking.