“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”.
Training children goes beyond setting rules and standards, it’s also leading by example. Parents’ lifestyle heavily influences the children. It’s one thing to teach and say, it’s a totally different thing to do. More than the Bible they will read, parents are first and foremost the book that every child reads. So first is the challenge of parenting/leading by example.
While it is good to set standards and precedence in your home, sometimes there’s no time to spend with the children to even review how much of your standards they have in them. We’re all in a constant state of chasing wealth and pressing forward to the next big thing that we forget our primary assignment as parents. What is the use of gaining all the wealth in the world and we can’t even be proud parents eventually? If only we can spend some time with the children, we will realize that there is a lot going on with them too, at school and at home that they want to share or ask questions about. So another challenge with the 21st century is the consciousness to create time for family.
Just when we are able to make out time for the children, our idea of spending quality time with the family is outings and shopping. While this is good sometimes, it may be sending wrong signals to the children. Whenever mommy or daddy is unable to make time, they will be making up for it by bribing or buying our love. Yet we wonder why they can’t value money.
Another thief of conventional training is the telephone, television and the internet. I’m sure a 3 year old in the 21st century already knows what to do with internet. This is why the 21st century parent also needs to be savvy to keep tabs on what is going on in their children’s lives in this regard otherwise, they might be learning more than is necessary for their age. If we need to keep them savvy, then you might as well be savvy with them and learn things together from the internet and watch what they watch on television so you know what they are saying at all times and where they are picking the slangs from.
The 21st century parent by virtue of the time are guilty of over-parenting. We want to do everything for our children. We live in fear of letting them do things for themselves. If parents are unable to trust their children decision to try and fail in their presence, how then will they learn when they leave the house? They will leave at some point and it will be disastrous if we then leave them to chance to learn at the mercy of the outside world. Give the children some liberty while they are still under your wings so that when they live home you can be sure you have helped them be better weapons and tools for themselves.
With the rate of perversion in the land, it has become imperative for us to teach our children about sex education. It’s still a debate of what age is appropriate but I advocate a certain level awareness depending on a child’s age. Obviously exposing them too much to the nitty gritty isn’t safe as well so you want to keep it as rudimentary as possible. If we live in fear of exposure from a tender age, we need to understand that they will learn certain things someday. If perchance they are unaware and uninformed, they begin to try or experiment some things behind your back. But if your children are informed by the virtue of the knowledge you have given, even if they stumble at some point, the values you have taught them is what will bring them quickly back to track.
There are many other things and factors that pose challenges to parenting in the 21st century but I believe that the key to successful or effective parenting is first by bringing the God factor into your home and introducing it early to the children. Then creating the time to build the children you want to be proud of in future and listen to them too. It’s not just about giving instructions and giving orders.