Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Most parents know that lying to our kids is not a good idea — it’s not respectful or kind, and is likely to cause our children to mistrust us in the future. And that mistrust could possibly carry over into their adulthood.

However, what about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy? Is it okay to tell our children that Santa Claus is real? Or is this just another innocent “white lie” that we all tell our kids so we can watch their faces light up with joy on Christmas morning?

Some believe that the “Santa-Hoax” is a dangerous path that can psychologically affect our children’s capacity to trust adults when they eventually find out the truth. But I believe that it all depends on the child’s emotional make up. I think some kids don’t completely buy the Santa story, but others might feel betrayed when they find out that it had all been an elaborate lie concocted by their own parents.

Some parents go a bit overboard on the Santa hoax — actively doing things to make it look like Santa had visited or telling stories of hearing noises on the roof or just missing seeing him.

On the flip side, some parents, (thinking they’re being honest and progressive) go too far and end up killing all the joy Christmas. However, there are gentler approaches besides outright lying to children about Santa and exposing the whole thing as a cruel hoax—as long as these approaches are motivated by joy, love and respect.

I explained to my children when they were very young that Santa wasn’t a real person but that he represented the “spirit of Christmas” that so many people enjoy. But I also taught them to respect those who believed in a “real Santa” and that we should let their parents explain it to them.

I remember the next year while me and my son were in a convenient store a woman looked down at my son and said, “Is Santa coming to your house?” My son looked up at the woman and in his matter-of-fact voice answered, “No.” Stunned at his answer the woman said, “Haven’t you been a good boy this year?” “Yes.” He replied. “Well then Santa’s coming to your house!” The woman exclaimed. My son then looked at me strange and whispered, “Dad, no one’s told her yet!”

Talking to our kids about the “Santa Game” can be great fun—just like we might talk about fictional characters such as Iron Man, or Sleeping Beauty. But going out of our way to try to make our kids really believe that there’s a man who rides around in a flying sleigh and lives at the North Pole with his wife and elves, just isn’t necessary. Our children are naturally able to enjoy the wonder of make-believe without our fabrications. It’s possible to really get into the whole Christmas spirit as much as our children do by just following their lead.

Remember, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

May your holidays be filled with the joy and wonder of a child.

I recently read an article by Elizabeth Ester  about children who have been “chastised” to death after parents followed the “Biblical” child-training methods of Michael & Debi Pearl.

Elizabeth Ester states that she escaped from an abusive fundamentalist church after years of being influenced by its teachings. So she naturally writes from that prospective.

Whenever I read articles like this I am always reminded of the day the Lord taught me and my son a very important lesson about grace. When my son, Sean was very young he became angry with me when I told him it was time to come inside from playing with his friends.

After many warnings and threats from me Sean reluctantly agreed to come inside. Angrily storming inside, Sean swatted at my prized guitar I had leaning against a wall and then watched in horror as it fell to the floor, snapping off its neck. Staring at my mangled guitar on the floor and without looking up, I very slowly and quietly told Sean, “Go to your room; I’m gonna hurt you.”

After allowing myself several minutes to calm down, I went to Sean’s room to find him hysterically crying. (Knowing in his mind, I was about to end his life.) After calming him to an uncontrollable whimper, I asked him, “Sean do you know what judgment is?” He answered in that little kid whimper voice, when they try to stop crying and take short deep breaths between each word, “N-n-n-o.” I explained to him that judgment is getting what you deserve.

He immediately began sobbing uncontrollably all over again. (Now being perfectly convinced in his mind that he was about to die!) After calming him down once again I asked him, “Sean, do you know what grace is?” He again answered, “N-n-n-no.” I immediately picked him up and put him on my lap and hugged him and said, “THIS is grace.”

What does it really mean to “spare the rod, spoil the child”?

Although it’s not written in the Bible exactly that way, the phrase “spare the rod, spoil the child” comes from Proverbs 13:24, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”

The Lord uses discipline to reveal our sin to us. This is also how we, as parents, should reveal to our children how God expects us to live and our need for a Savior. When children do not realize the consequence of their sin, they will not understand that sin requires punishment. God provides a way to salvation and forgiveness through Jesus, but that means little to those who do not see their sin. Furthermore, correction shows us that we are accountable for our actions. Our natural pride blinds us to our need for a Savior, but discipline reveals the truth of our wretchedness. (Revelation 3:17)

Since salvation is the most important choice the child will ever make, it is imperative that parents are leading them to Christ, and discipline is critical to this process. Proverbs 23:13 says, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.” In the context of verses 13-18, “die” means spiritual death. Children who respect authority and feel sorrow for their sin are much more likely to ask Jesus to forgive them and be saved.

Some people don’t believe in any type of physical discipline such as spanking. Others, like Michael & Debbi Pearl and their followers allow the pendulum to swing the complete opposite direction and misinterpret Scripture’s definition of a rod.

The word “rod” mentioned in Proverbs indicates a thin stick or switch that can be used to give a small amount of physical pain with no lasting physical injury. It is intended to steer the heart of a child toward Jesus and forgiveness of sin. A child should never be bruised, injured, or cut by a physical correction. The Bible warns us that we should never abuse the power and authority we have over our children while they are young because it could provoke them to anger. (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21) Physical discipline should always be done in love and never in a moment of frustration. It is also just one part of discipline and should be used only when the child shows repeated intentional defiance to a clear limit.

God instructs us to discipline our children the same way He disciplines us. Hebrews 12:5-11 tells us that God disciplines those whom He loves to perfect their righteousness. God only disciplines His own, which proves that if we repent and surrender to Him, we are His beloved children. And we can say with David that the Lord’s rod comforts us in our time of trouble. (Psalm 23:4)

Finally, we know that no discipline feels good while it is happening, but afterwards the rewards are rich. (Hebrews 12:11) Godly character, fruit of the spirit, and peace are the rewards of God’s discipline. The same is true for our children who have learned from godly discipline, how to take responsibility for their actions. And they will grow up to be much happier people. (Proverbs 3:11-18)

Resources: Parenting Is Heart Work by Dr. Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller

Got Questions.org   – http://www.gotquestions.org/