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Christian Parenting Advice: Developing Auto-Pilot Responses

One piece of Christian parenting advice that is based on my firsthand experience is that training our children in the ways of the Lord helps them to develop Christian “autopilot” responses. As they encounter various circumstances (and temptations) in life, their childhood training in the ways of the Lord automatically kicks in and helps them make the right decisions.[1]

Here’s something for you to think about: Whether you realize it or not, you’ve been training your child from the moment he or she was born.[2] Whether for good or for bad, you’ve been training your child by what you’ve modeled for him or her. Your child is an observer and an imitator, and puts into practice what he or she sees you do. Your child mimics your modus operandi in solving problems and handling life’s challenges.[3]

Since this is the case, I’m sure that from henceforth you see the wisdom of taking a carefully planned approach to training your children. Just as a pilot instructor has a well-planned agenda in training his student pilots, so we as parents need to have a well-planned agenda in training our kids in the ways of the Lord.[4]

Our “training manual” is the Word of God. As 2 Timothy 3:16-17 puts it, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The more we teach our children from the Word of God, the more they will have “Christian autopilot” responses to life’s challenges.

Training for Responsible Independence

As “trainers,” one of our goals as parents is to increasingly enable our children as they grow up to confront life’s challenges with responsible independence. Children are only with us for a certain number of years, and after that they’re on their own. When they leave the safe haven of home, they need to be ready to “fly it alone.”

You might look at it this way. When your child is helping you in the garden, you provide him with tools but you don’t do all the digging for him, right? If we did all the digging for our child, he or she wouldn’t learn anything about gardening. We model for our child how to use the tools, but we don’t do the digging for them.

In the same way, when training our children for life we give them tools for living but we don’t do all the digging for them. Otherwise they learn nothing. They need to increasingly become skilled in confronting life’s challenges with responsible independence (but being carefully supervised by parents the entire time).[5]

This way, when it comes time for our child to leave home, making responsible independent choices is not a new experience but is rather something our child already has a great deal of experience in. This way he doesn’t “crash land” upon “take-off” but rather soars with confidence into the wild blue yonder.

Of course, the older our children become, the more age-appropriate training exercises we can introduce them to. As each year passes, they will become ever-more equipped to “fly it alone.”

[1] Kathi Hudson, Raising Kids God’s Way (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1995), p. 14.

[2] Hudson, p. 92.

[3] Hudson, p. 95.

[4] Hudson, p. 95.

[5] Ray Stedman, “What Every Child Should Know,” Guidelines for the Home series, Peninsula Bible Church. Downloaded from Internet.

— Dr. Ron Rhodes

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Christian Parenting Advice: The Necessity of Christian Parenting
Christian Parenting Tips: The Myth of Quality Time
Christian Parenting Advice: The Gift of Love
Christian Parenting Tips: Parent-Parent Intimacy
Christian Parenting Resources: Training Your Children
Christian Parenting Tips: Modeling for Your Children
Christian Parenting Tips: Ingredients of a Good Model
Christian Parenting Advice: Setting Boundaries
Christian Parenting Advice: Boundaries and Authority
Christian Kids Activities: Say Yes When You Can
Childrens Bible Lessons: Your Children Can Trust in Christ
Childrens Church Lessons: Six Keys to Evangelizing Children
Christian Parenting Resources: Make the Most of Family Devotions
Christian Parenting Resources: A Family Devotion Game Plan
Christian Parenting Advice: Teaching Responsibility
Christian Parenting Tips: Teaching Humility
Christian Parenting Advice: Teaching Honesty
Christian Parenting Tips: Teaching Good Work Habits
Christian Parenting Advice: Work is Good
Christian Parenting Tips: Teach Your Kids to Control Emotions
Christian Parenting Advice: Teach Your Kids to Control Anger
Christian Parenting Tips: Teach Your Kids to Handle Failure
Christian Parenting Advice: Four Suggestions to Help Kids Handle Failure
Christian Parenting Tips: Teach Your Kids Decision-Making Skills
Christian Parenting Advice: Teach Your Kids to Make Wise Decisions
Christian Parenting Tips: Teach Your Kids to Take the Long Look
Christian Parenting Advice: Teach Your Kids to Avoid Hurtful Words
Christian Parenting Tips: Teach Your Kids to Speak Kindly
Christian Parenting Advice: Teach Your Kids to Guard the Mouth
Christian Parenting Tips: Help Your Kids Gain a Healthy Self-Concept
Christian Parenting Advice: Teach Your Kids to Resist Peer Pressure
Childrens Bible Lessons: Solomon on Friendship
Christian Parenting Tips: Teach Your Kids to Guard the Mind
Childrens Bible Lessons: Teach Your Kids to Love God
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