Shepherding a Child’s Heart #6

     We need to have thoroughly biblical understanding of the goal of parenting otherwise we will resort to relying upon unbiblical methods to try to “produce” a child that meets our standards.  Dr. Tripp lays out five common unbiblical methods of parenting.  

     The first is simply doing whatever your parents did without evaluating whether it was Biblical or not.  This parent figures, “We’ll I turned out OK.” The second is relying of pop psychology.  This is a broad subject but most pop psychology has boosting self esteem of the child as the goal of parenting.  Thirdly is behavior modification.  This one is a fine line because God certainly rewards good behavior and punishes bad but you can train your children like Pavlov’s dogs without ever addressing the heart.  Related to this is the fourth unbiblical method, punitive correction.  This differs from behavior modification in that it primarily focuses on punishment and behavior modification often has a complex program for increasing rewards for good behavior.  Punitive correction is a way of “scaring” children into obedience.  Certainly biblical parenting involves punishment but relying of punitive correction again may produce outward obedience out of fear and never address the heart.  The fifth is emotional manipulation which tries to address the heart in an unbiblical way.  

     All of these “methods” are shallow in and of themselves and work to produce outward behavior with varying degrees of success.  Children need transformation from the inside out, it doesn’t work the other way around. Only by helping our children see their need for Jesus Christ and relying on the methods the bible gives us can we hope to engage their hearts.  Children who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength is the goal of Biblical parenting.