Parents, Ten Commandments for

Parents, Ten Commandments for

by Rubel Shelly

Published in LoveLines (May 4, 1994)

Ten Commandments for Parents

You shall not fail to speak of God, truth, and right behavior before your children.

If these concepts are not meaningful enough to you to be in your hearts and on your lips, donít expect them to be the guiding influences in their lives.

You shall not put work, golf, or weekend getaways before your children.

Parenting is a full-time moral obligation, not an occasional task. Moms and Dads canít afford to communicate the message to their children that they are less important than career or entertainment.

You shall not use profanity, abusive language, alcohol, or drugs.

If you break this one, donít be surprised when your children follow in your footsteps. What you model for them will mean far more than what you tell them they should or should not do. In everything you do, your children are learning to be just like you.

Remember that worship and Sunday School are good for the whole family.

In spite of the fact that itís harder to get up Sunday morning than any other day of the week, it helps keep a family on track to sing, pray, and study the Bible together.

Honor your role as parents by affirming each other before your children, working out your own disagreements in private, and taking charge of your home environment.

It only makes your children feel insecure and more likely to act up if they feel insecure about the stability of your marriage. So iron out your (inevitable) differences in private, support each other, and be the adults in your house. Agree on the boundaries for your familyís life, state them clearly, and donít let your children intimidate you by whining or telling you that other families do things differently.

You shall both model and teach responsibility.

Adults take care of the major home activities, but even young children should have regular chores ó and consequences for not getting them done. For older children, homework comes before TV, forgotten lunches donít get delivered to school habitually, and school projects are done by students rather than by their parents.

You shall not play favorites or be inconsistent in discipline.

Children want you to be fair with them, and it is the acme of inconsistency to punish today what you laughed at yesterday or vice versa. Donít try to have a rule to cover everything, but the rules you do have must be enforced.

You shall not be afraid to say "No."

Children need to know that a family canít afford everything it would like to have, that some things simply arenít worth having, and that other people and families will not be allowed to dictate this familyís lifestyle.

You shall not be afraid to say "Yes."

Being a parent is not a power game to show you are the boss. When the requests are reasonable and within the familyís total value system, give the kid a break.

You shall not be too proud to apologize when you mess up with your children.

You will make some wrong calls, and it will do wonders for your relationship with your children to let them see your humble and penitent side. It will take away some of their fear about growing up, for they know they make a lot of mistakes.

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