Christian parenting is not about formulas, seven-point plans or pop psychology often given in books, from pulpits and seminars, so how can Bible believing mums and dads cope in today’s challenging times… It starts by living consciously and being a conscious parent.
The times in which we live are indeed challenging, especially when it comes to Christian parenting. Today’s mothers and fathers are bombarded with information including guidelines in the form of hidden commands from pulpits. At times these ‘pulpit commands’ are driven by personal inadequacies and family gaps in the lives of the speakers. The outcome is that parents often feel a deep sense of guilt and judgment even as they try their best to be the kind of parent that others expects them to be.
Life is filled with deadlines and we have to juggle the many roles we play as a parent. Stress can be multiplied through work, friends and family relationships and the pressure of life in general. I often receive correspondence from parents who comment on the difficulty of getting the understanding, co-operation and support they need within their families.
These parents are trying their best to create some form of sanity and stability within the family routine while still facing conflicts, bad moods, moaning, dissatisfaction, arguments and general grumpiness on a regular basis. They also tell me they feel drained and just do not have the energy to think about all the things that they should think about.
General FAQ’s about parenting
- How can I spend more quality time with my children and balance that with quality time with my partner?
- How can I maintain wellness in my life and exercise more?
- How can I become more organsed so that I can facilitate and orchestrate my energy in a given time span?
- How do I do parenting smarter and wiser?
- How can we support our children with their challenging time schedules, homework and education?
- How do I deal with these feelings of being overwhelmed by my life situation and frustrated with the people around me?
- How do we re-establish harmony and just relax and have fun with each other as we express love for each other?
Let’s face it, the more life becomes a place of unending change with demands for personal transformation, the more these questions arise from deep, caring hearts of parents who realise their responsibilities. Becoming a more efficient, effective, connected and productive parent is a journey. Christian parenting is not about formulas, seven-point plans or clichéd pop psychology approach often given in books, from pulpits and seminars. There simply are no quick fixes!
Christian parenting is more than just surviving
I am convinced God wants parents to live consciously, rather than merely surviving at a subconscious level. Subconscious living is defined by the assumption that our life experience is the only reality. Some parents are unaware that their life represents nothing more than mere survival. There are yet others that overcompensate this subconscious frustration by becoming more ‘spiritual’ by attending church, believing that is the solution.
Most people live subconsciously in their marriage relationships. Often they are totally unaware of the fact that their spouse has already moved on emotionally; of course there are times when partners don’t share their feelings and thoughts and the silence becomes deafening!
We live subconsciously when it comes to our relationships with our children. We assume we know their deepest fear, when they have lost hope, their future dreams, a favourite song or movie. Fact is that living a subconscious life in subconscious relationships is not enough; the result of this type of lifestyle finds many families disconnected.
“Survival mode’ forces parents into justifying “natural consequences” and “positive incentives” as power abuse over others as well as a means to control behaviour. They use this as a punishment or reward in order to control the outside reality. Parents need to make a shift toward increasing awareness and consciousness of the forces that run their lives and they need to break free from old patterns and ways of reacting that do not come to a positive solution.
Living in a conscious state of mind is a place where parents can have their thoughts provoked to enjoy a creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and relational potential within their family. It takes a deep sense of ownership and maturity on the part of parents to come to the place of a conscious relationship with themselves, with God, their partner, their children and extended family members.
As Christian parents we have to shift from always wanting to measure ourselves by means of good communication to becoming more deeply connected with the inner being of all family members. It will require time and effort in learning new patterns of meaningful relational connection. These connections will create a ‘safety net’ for each member in the family wherein the full spectrum of emotions can be expressed without fear of retribution. The price to be paid is simply our egos and authoritarian styles!
Each person has been born into their own generational time to have their potential fully developed so they will live fully, completely and consciously to the glory of God. It is more than just achieving goals and chasing after benefits, it is also the ability to live a life as an act of worship to God.Dr Bill Price
It means that we need to have the attitude of Christ so that we discover the lives of our children from their perspectives. We need to invite our children to tell us more about their feelings and when they do, to use words like “tell me more”, “no kidding”, “really?”, and “I want to be sure I understand you.”
Living consciously means we need undivided attention when talking to one other – this will include abstaining from watching television, falling asleep or making ourselves busy with other tasks. We need to honour and welcome the other person into our lives with respect and awe. This would also mean that we must stop ourselves from becoming too angry or upset at situations to the degree where we can’t think straight.
Conscious Christian parenting means we are to educate ourselves on the lifestyle of our children and everything that goes with that. We must be there for them in whatever phase of development they may find themselves, learning the basics of every phase so we are able to focus on the appropriate development of our children’s potential. Keep the rules simple, rather focussing on creating that safe environment – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual safety.
A conscious parent refuses to be confused and to act like a two-year-old. Parents who are consciously aware have taken ownership of their role and function, and will look at the child’s potential reminding themselves that children should be raised according to their God-given character (Proverbs 22:6). “Character” translated from the Hebrew can also mean “being”; thus parenting becomes more intentional at the core issues. It’s not about children having to live out the dreams of their parents, but rather pursuing their own.
Parents who are living consciously fully understand that they need to know themselves better than ever. In terms of parenting styles we need to identify ourselves as authoritarian, permissive, or all assertive-Democratic-deeply connected parent. Whatever style, we are to ensure the establishment of a safe environment in our homes. It must be a place where values and issues are clarified, reasons are given for limits and learning is a high priority in terms of internalising what is learned into a lifestyle.
Home is a place where we can have lots of practice in making choices that are woven into the fabric of our relationships. Ownership and responsibility is not used as punishment or a sense of judgement, but is expressed with clear limits so that children are not confused, feel insecure and then make poor choices. Talent is set, skills, sporting abilities, musical capacity, social capacity and personal dreams need to be known and nurtured and put into context so that the parents don’t turn into slave drivers of talent.
Life has never been easy and is certainly not going to get any easier in the future. Each person has been born into their own generational time to have their potential fully developed so they will live fully, completely and consciously to the glory of God. It is more than just achieving goals and chasing after benefits, it is also the ability to live a life as an act of worship to God.
Christian Parenting in these times isn’t easy but then again I am thoroughly convinced that parenting has to be enjoyed. Consider the home in which Jesus grew up within the Jewish culture; He enjoyed and had the privilege of being part of many table and dinner conversations, being blessed every Friday night by His father Joseph, being tutored and mentored by His father and mother in the ways of the world.
There is no greater joy in my life as a father and grandfather to look at my children and their children and see them living fully, realising their ever growing potential in an ever challenging world. I cherish having the ability and capacity to look deeply into their eyes and hear their heartbeat and know that whatever intentional thing that I’m about to do with them now or in the future will add to their capacity to deal with the realities of life as they encounter them.
Our true inheritance is our children and children’s children. We need to parent consciously so that we can give the world both now and the generations to come quality of character, deep and meaningful connection in relationships and conscious lives that will add great worth in future generations.
Also read: Being a dad is one of the greatest gifts!