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Christian Parenting Advice: Teach Your Kids to Make Wise Decisions

Another piece of Christian parenting advice that I think is extremely important is the need to progressively train children to make correct decisions so that by the time they leave home for college, they'll be pretty good at it!

You don't want them to make bad decisions and then offer lame excuses, as illustrated in this humorous story:

A frightened fifth-grader stood silently before his father, who was sternly reviewing an unsatisfactory report card. Grasping at anything to break the deafening silence, the youngster said, “Do you think those grades are the result of heredity, or could it just be my environment?”

Like every student in a jam, this boy was looking for an excuse. The father was not amused.[1]

Scripture says God created human beings in His image. Part of that image involves a rational nature. It follows, then, that we must teach our children to use their God-given capacity to reason for the glory of God.

We need to help our children learn to think and make decisions for themselves. If you make all decisions for them in their childhood, then they won’t be prepared to make any decisions when they leave home. We mustn’t be so overprotective that they are shielded from real life. We should allow them to make as many age-appropriate decisions as they can.

A Principle to Remember: God wants us to train our minds so we can make the right decisions in life. He wants us to be able to test what is right and wrong, and choose the right. He wants us to be able to test what is the right choice versus a foolish choice, and then make the right choice.

Biblical Basis
: “Test everything. Hold on to the good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

God gave us minds so that we can think. But our minds need to be trained so we can make the best decisions. Following are a few “training exercises” to help your children learn to make the best decisions:

• When you give your kids an allowance, help them think through alternatives on the best way to spend it — or save it! Let them make the final decision, but help them think through all their options. This will help them learn to weigh alternatives.

• As you and your spouse are making important decisions, you don’t necessarily have to go through the decision-making process out of sight of your children. If appropriate, let your children witness you wrestling through the process. In so doing, they will pick up decision-making skills as they see how you weigh alternatives.[2]

• Help your children start thinking in terms of “taking the long look.” Help them to see that present decisions can have an effect on the future. An example would be the fact that if a child commits to saving his allowance instead of spending it today, a few months from now he can buy that costly toy he’s been wanting for so long.

Principles like these will greatly enhance your child’s decision-making ability.

[1] Les Parrott, “Grades and Grace,” in Raising Them Right (Colorado Springs, CO: Focus on the Family Publishing, 1994), p. 237.

[2] Kathi Hudson, Raising Kids God’s Way (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1995), p. 147.

— Dr. Ron Rhodes

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