Parenting Young Children – Some Basic Rules

When children are young, it is easy to set up some basic “rules” that will help them to understand their role in the home and their role towards others if you take the time to craft your rules in simple, easy to follow terms. As they grow, the rules can expand to fit children's changing situations. The challenge is determining a set of definable standards that will fit most every situation you might encounter. As a Christian, we found it fairly easy to adapt three simple rules for our children, and each was easy to remember, both for us and for our kids. We started when our children were very young, and as a result, the tone has been set for years to come.

All of our rules were from the Bible, and the first was taken from Matthew 22:37. It states, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is our first rule because it's the ultimate foundation for everything we say or do at home. This says that we belong to God, so we'd better act like it. When we do that, we will also learn obedience to God’s Word. That takes a lifetime of application, so we continually work in this area, both for our children and ourselves, but setting the tone for love of God, and study of His Word and His expectations begins the process.

Our next rule of the house is from Deuteronomy 5:16, and we shortened it when our children were young to this part, “Honor your father and mother.” That was very simple for young children. We could show it to them in children’s Bibles as they got a little older and then even later, they could read it for themselves to see the rest of the verse, but the idea was clear that mom and dad were to be honored, treated with respect, and trusted to lead in godliness since they could trust that everyone in the family was already obeying the first rule, to love God. Clearly, this rule got some challenging from our children over the years. But we kept coming back to it. It also covered many, many issues that came up for our children, and ones that we could not have foreseen, without being too specific up front. This allowed us to be flexible for a variety of discussions and situations, again, assuming that the parents too, are following the first rule and seeking to mentally and spiritually follow God in love.

The final rule, and this one covers a lot of ground so it has been a favorite for my husband and me, is from Ephesians 4:32. It says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” When our children were very young, we had them memorize the first part only, but we always said the entire verse. Over time, they learned the whole verse and it was amazing how many of life’s issues were covered by this single verse, and still are! How we treat others is truly learned in the home, both by what is said and by what is done, so this verse taught us to be kind and considerate, to be forgiving because we were going to need forgiveness ourselves, and to remember that it all starts at home. We had to model patience, kindness, forgiveness, and compassion to each other and by doing that, we learned to think that way all of the time, even outside of our home.

My children are getting older now, but we still live by these rules. We may not address them specifically as rules now, but we certainly hold them as the standard in our home. Because of that, our home is a refuge and pleasure to be in for all of us. I encourage you to consider the essential rules for your home, and begin to train your children in your rules of the house from an early age.

Mrs. Camille Rodriquez is a wife and mother, with experience as a pastor’s wife for more than a decade and as a homeschool mom for almost 20 years. Visit her website at National Homeschool Academy.

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