By Janis Dearman

The Challenge of Parenting


  1. A major and important aspect of the overall challenge of living in this world
    a. To nurture and protect the young
    b. To prepare children to live independently
    c. To exemplify proper godly parenting to the next generation
    d. To equip and encourage the child to honor the sacred institution of marriage
    e. To strengthen the child to live in a manner pleasing to God, regardless of physical circumstances
  2. Same foundational elements as meeting the challenge of faithful Christian living
    a.) Diligent Bible study to build faith
    b.) Drawing near to God in worship and prayer
    c.) Being edified and encouraged by fellowship with the people of God
    d.) Growing in the fruit of the Spirit
    e.) Commitment and effort to remain sanctified to God, to be “faithful unto death”
    f.) Assuming the responsibility to reach out to love, to serve, and to lead souls to God, including the souls of our children.
    g.) Agape love – love that seeks the best for every soul, whether or not it’s popular with society or agreeable to anyone but God

I. Principles of Parenting

A. Proverbs 22:6
1. “Train up a child” = the basic function of a parent
2. “In the way he should go” = “train up a child in the way of his going” – recognizing his individual personality, temperament, strengths, talents, etc.
3. “When he is old” will be very difficult to sway, if training maintained to old age

B. When best efforts fail
1. Free will, with individual responsibility and accountability for decisions
2. Proverb = general truth and guideline, but no guarantee of success

C. Isaiah 1:2: “… I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” Was there a problem with God’s parenting?

II. Picture of Parenting as God would have it (Proverbs 31:10-31; Ephesians 5:22-6:4; Colossians 3; Titus 2:1-8; 1 Peter 3:1-7)

A. Parents
1. Father
a. Who loves his wife, like Christ loves the church
b. Who dwells with his wife with understanding, giving honor to her, as to the weaker vessel and as an heir with him of the grace of life
c. Who bring his children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord
d. Who does not provoke his children to wrath, discourage them, or abuse them
e. Who protects his family from harm

2. Mother
a. Who loves her husband and children
b. Who respects her husband and is submissive to his headship
c. Who has the faith and strength to obey and serve God and rear her children in the word of God, even without the participation of her husband
d. Whose husband appreciates and “safety trusts her” (Proverbs 31:12)
e. Who “watches over the ways of her household”
f. Whose “children rise up and call her blessed”

3. Children
a. Who honor and obey their parents
b. Who listen and heed their father’s instructions

III. Pattern of Parenting: “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children” (Ephesians 5:1)

A.) “God is love” (1 John 4:8)
B.) ”God is a just judge” (Psalm 7:11) – “A God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4)
C.) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1)
D.) “The Lord our God is holy” (Psalm 99:9)
E.) “Our God is merciful” (Psalm 116:5)
F.) “God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33)
G.) “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5)
H.) God is gracious: Titus 2:11-14
I.) God is a vigilant overseer: Hebrews 4:13
J.) God is consistent: Malachi 3:6

IV. Place of Parenting:

A. The world: 1 John 2:15-17
B. “The last days” = the final dispensation of time, the Christian Age
C. 2 Peter 3:3, “scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts”
D. 2 Timothy 3:1-4

V. Practices of Parenting

A. George Barna, Revolutionary Parenting: three dominant approaches to parenting
1.  “The path of least resistance” – parent-centered parenting
2. “Trial-and-error parenting” – child-centered parenting
3. “Revolutionary parenting” – Christ-centered parenting

B. Desired outcomes

C. Parental authority, responsibility and accountability
1. Parental roles
2. Discipline
3. Parental agreement, cooperation, and support
4. “Quality versus quantity” of time
5. Child’s view of his role in the family

VI. Problems of Parenting

A. Failure to teach and discipline – Eli: 1 Sam 2:12,29; 3:13

B. Failure to set proper example: “Do as I say – don’t do as I do”

C. Attachment

  1. “Why Juveniles Commit Crimes” (Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute):
    Number 1 contributing factor, careless or inadequate supervision by the mother or surrogate mother
  2. Mothers missing from the home by necessity or by choice
  3. Potential impact upon child – in the development of trust and conscience

D. Parental favoritism, sibling rivalry, and jealousy

  1. The family of Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Esau (Genesis 25:27-28)
    a. Identifying more with one child than another
    b. Valuing one child more than another
    c. Interruption of natural affection
  2. Jacob, Joseph, and his brothers
    a. Giving one child more affection or privileges
    b. Hatred and hostility
  3. David and Adonijah (1 Kings 1)
    a. Failure to rebuke him
    b. A beautiful child

VII. Pointed on discipline

A.) Acting as a sensible Christian adult in dealing with the child
B.) Yale-New Haven study on increased risk of delinquency: Number 2 contributing factor, erratic or overly strict discipline
C.) Clear rules, consistently enforced and reasonable
D.) Judgment and discipline appropriate to age, stage, and nature of infraction
E.) Punishment that advances the lesson to be learned
F.) Modes of discipline
G.) Proper parental demeanor

Conclusion: Purpose of Parenting

  1. A work grounded and founded on parents’ love for God and love for each other
  2. Preparing the child’s mind, emotions, and will to stand firm through spiritual trials and temptations
  3. Sharing eternity with the souls of our precious children