As parents, it’s important that we communicate to our children the things that we want them to know. Sometimes it’s easy to just assume that they will know our thoughts, and therefore we neglect to verbally and intentionally communicate to them about important things.
What are some things we need to communicate to our children?
1. Why we have the rules and standards we do, and that they are based on God’s Word.
Our kids need to know that we didn’t randomly come up with a list of rules and standards, but we made them based on what is pleasing to God. His Word is our guide book.
It’s important that you take your kids to God’s Word and show them WHY they need to obey, or why they should tell the truth, etc.
2. What we love about you, and what you do that pleases us.
Kids LOVE to please their parents, so if we let them know what pleases us, they are very likely to repeat that behavior.
They also need to know all the things we love about them, and that they are special to us for who they are. We need to communicate acceptance and affirmation to them regularly.
3. What we pray for you.
Do your kids KNOW you pray for them?
They should know you pray for them regularly, and what it is you are asking God to do in their lives.
If you struggle and get in a rut with praying for your kids, I would suggest finding Scripture to pray for your kids. God’s Word has power that our words don’t have, and when we pray HIS Words back to Him, He does amazing things in the hearts of our kids.
If you need help getting started with praying Scripture, check out Praying Through Proverbs For Your Children. The book of Proverbs covers almost every issue your kids will face in life, and as you pray through these prayers for them you will see God begin to work in their lives.
After praying through Proverbs for only 3 weeks, four of our eight kids came to me at separate times, in tears, asking me to pray for them in certain areas where they were struggling. I have NO DOUBT that it was the prayers from Proverbs that were working to bring conviction to their hearts.
4. How to respond when someone treats you wrong.
Life often isn’t fair, and your kids WILL be treated wrong at some point. It’s important that they know how to respond to that in a biblical way, rather than responding based on their emotions.
This is an area where we need to be very careful as parents. It’s so EASY to rush to our child’s defense when someone wrongs them, and teach our children the WRONG way to respond by our example. Even though it’s hard, encourage your kids to love those that have wronged them, and not return evil for evil.
5. We will always love you.
Our kids need to know beyond any doubt that we will ALWAYS love them. When your kids behave wrong and need correcting, it’s important to convey that you dislike the behavior, but you still love them.
6. We dedicated you to God when you were a baby.
When each of our kids were just babies, we dedicated them to God, acknowledging that we are stewards, and our job is to prepare them to serve God.
Our kids need to know that we realize they belong to God, and not to us. Remind them often that you are teaching and training them the way you are to prepare them to fulfill God’s purpose and plan for them.
7. How to respond when someone compliments you.
It’s often awkward to kids when they get a compliment. Without teaching, they won’t know how to respond.
We taught and encouraged our kids to defer the praise. For example, if someone told them they did a good job on their piano solo, they should mention being thankful for the piano teacher who spent time helping them.
8. How to make a respectful appeal.
When our kids are very young, they need to learn to obey right away, without question. We taught ours that if they didn’t know why, they should obey first, and then ask questions.
As they get a little bit older, they need to learn how to make respectful appeals. They should accept your answer, but can come back to you with a polite appeal.
That doesn’t mean you will change your answer, but they should know that you will hear them out, and consider their appeal. Say YES whenever you can to your kids!
What would you add to the list? Comment with what you feel is important to communicate to your children!
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Hi Rosa! I am sorry to hear of the struggles you are having with your daughter. I will email you about it.
“Explaining” to them PRIOR TO them obeying you – even now, before a demand is put on them – is the antithesis of obeying without questioning. 🙂 Explaining will ALWAYS come afterward; at least, that’s how _I_ have taught my children. OBEY first, and – at an appropriate age or time – explanation will be given. Of course, this is age specific. Children should obey without question to about 6 or so; after that, they’ll need reasons why… and that’s actually a GREAT thing!
I have a 33monts old daughter who sometimes obeys at once and some others will say ˋno no matter how many times I tell her ,calmly or strictly
For ex.we come back home and I tell her she must wash her hands. She says no and runs away. This happens,too,before and after meals. She resists so intensely that I sometimes lose it and hold her hands under the tap until they are clean! I hate doing that!
Another problem I have is that I don’t want to put her in time out anymore because she doesn’t seem to care and sometimes provokes me by saying ˋˋsend me to time out , I want do it´´. I feel helpless since I don’t know what consequences to implement. We don’t have a TV at home, generally I don’t give her sweets and similar snacks and she doesn’t care if she stays home instead of going to the playground. I don’t know what appropriate consequences to give…
Could you please help me?
If you have the time I would appreciate an email from you!
Tnx in advance!
Great article. I have two questions…how would you explain to a child the reasons why they should obey right away? And, my second question…I was curious why you taught your children to defer the praise instead of accept it? Thanks! God bless.