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What is “Successful Parenting” for Christians?

By Nigel Boys

According to Tim Sanford, writer for Focus on the Family, the reason many children turn out differently from the way they were raised by their parents, and the parents believe that it is their fault, is because many parents believe that they are responsible for how their children turn out.

The author of “Losing Control & Liking It” goes on to write that it’s not a parent’s job to make sure their children do everything right, just to make sure they know how to decide the difference between right and wrong. He adds that a child’s choice about what to do with their lives, be it right or wrong, was given to him by God when He created them.

Although most parents want their children to turn out the right way, continues the author, and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not their right to ensure that they do, because children have that freedom of choice.

Sanford believes that mothers and fathers have specific roles in the raising of their children and when they’ve done all that they can to ensure their children know what to do, they must leave it to them to decide how to go about it.

According to the author, fathers must validate their children. He expounds on this by stating that fathers should tell their children often that they are doing okay and that whatever they do, they will still love them. He adds that even if fathers have to discipline their children, they must make sure they know that the children are being chastised because they are loved.

Mothers have a different role, according to Sanford. Their main purpose in raising their children is to look after their well-being, or in other words, to nurture them, and not to just cook their meals and tidy up after them.

However, the author continues that moms and dads should be careful not to overdo the nurturing and validating, as this could lead your child to believe that you are trying to control them.

Sanford concludes by stating that every child is different and will require different amounts of nurturing and validating by their parents, but once you’ve done enough for that particular child your mission as parents is accomplished. He adds that then parents should let the children make their own decisions in life, but remember that parents can still be there to advise them, should they require them to do so.

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