The best parents are the ones who are trying to be authentically true to their core beliefs. To say it in another way, I believe the best parents are not the ones who are concentrating on parenting all the time; instead, they live life by their convictions. Our children have a way of catching these beliefs from us if they see their value and benefit.
Parents today often do everything possible to seek the happiness of their children. Although their intentions may be good, the outcome often is not. They make the happiness and pleasure of their children their primary goal of parenting, going so far as to spend money they really don’t have—giving their children the false impression they can have anything in life, whether they can afford it or not. Parents often work tirelessly to remove any painful or uncomfortable situations from their children’s lives as soon as they arise—never allowing them to learn from those tough challenges. This is something that God doesn’t even do for us. They shield their children from anything fearful—failing to help them learn to be brave in the face of fear.
Desiring our children to be brave and humble means that we have to teach them discipline, and removing every painful situation is not the means to learn how to be brave. Every child needs discipline in the form of boundaries and principles of how to react to the varied situations they encounter. Discipline is like the forms that we pour concrete into so that it has form and usefulness. Though discipline requires a lot of work, believe me, when I say that an undisciplined life is in the end much more work.
I want to encourage parents to resist the temptation to say to your child, “If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.” Say rather, “Let’s pray about it and think about it, and we can talk about this again.” In this approach, you are teaching your child to consider God in every situation and learn dependence upon him.