Category: Parenting

Collection of Things

In today’s busy world, many parents of teenagers find it difficult to spend quality time with their teen. Consequently, many teenagers live in houses filled with gadgets, but have love tanks that are empty. They often feel like they too are simply a part of their parent’s  collection of things.

Psychiatrist Ross Campbell said, “Without focused attention, a teenager experiences increased anxiety, because he feels everything else is more important than he is. He is consequently less secure and becomes impaired in his emotional and psychological growth.” Busy parents who want their teenagers to feel loved, must make time to give them focused attention.

Respecting Authority

Discipline is an expression of love. In Hebrews chapter 12 we read, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Why does God discipline us? Because He loves us. He wants to turn us from a pathway of destruction.

If you are a parent, you also are to discipline your children for the same reason. Your child will break the rules. Kindly, firmly, and consistently you must administer discipline. When you do, your child will learn to live under authority. When your child respects your authority, they are more likely to come to respect God’s authority. What could be more important?

Taking Care of Yourself

For the Christian, service is a way of life. It is interesting that one of the five languages of love is ‘acts of service’. For some children and spouses this is their primary love language. Have you noticed that serving others is physically and emotionally draining? In order to love well, and long, we must take care of ourselves.

For physical health we need balanced patterns of sleeping, eating, and exercising. For emotional health we need self-understanding, love, a sense of purpose, and times of relaxation. Taking care of yourself is often the best thing you can do for your family. After all, Jesus said that we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Blessed to Give

Adults and youth alike are attracted to the young man or woman who goes out of his or her way to serve others. Healthy families are producing this kind of young people. As parents we must seek to build an attitude of service into the hearts of our children. Start young by teaching children to be ‘helpers’. Then celebrate their ‘service’ with cheers and accolades. Make ‘service to others’ a big thing in your family.

When children see that serving others is important to you, it will become important to them. Take them with you when you deliver cookies to the elderly. Let them help you shovel snow from the neighbors drive. Children learn by experience that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Serving Children

Parents serve children in a thousand ways. These ‘acts of service’ may be done out of a sense of duty and even resentment. On the other hand, they may be genuine acts of love. Loving service is an internally motivated desire to give one’s energy to serve others. Loving service is a gift, not a necessity, and is done freely, not under coercion.

When parents serve their children with a spirit of resentment and bitterness, a child’s physical needs may be met, but his emotional development will be greatly hampered. Because service is so daily, even the best parents need to stop for an attitude check now and then, to be sure that their acts of service are communicating love.

Age Appropriate

If your child’s love language is acts of service, your acts of service must be age appropriate. You should do for your children what they cannot do for themselves. Making beds for four-year-olds is an act of service, but eight-year-olds are capable of doing that themselves. Children need to learn to operate a washing machine and dryer before they get to college.

As a child gets older, we shift from doing things for them, to teaching them how to do things for themselves. Parents who are too busy to teach children how to do laundry, or too perfectionist to let them do it, are not loving children, but crippling them. It takes more time to teach a child how to prepare a meal than it does to do it yourself, but which is more loving?

Little Love Tanks

Children with full love tanks are more likely to obey parents, help others, and reach their potential in learning. Keeping the love tank full means that we must discover the child’s primary love language and then speak it regularly. The five love languages are:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch

Out of these five, your child has a primary love language. How do you discover it? Three clues:

  1. Observe how they love you.  What they give is probably what they want.
  2. What does your child complain about?  The complaint reveals the love language.
  3. What does your child request most often?  The request gives you valuable information.

For an online quiz to help your child discover their love language, visit the following link:

The Two Greatest Commands

Jesus said that the two greatest commands are to love God and love your neighbor. During this week when our society is thinking about Valentine’s Day, what a wonderful time to focus on loving God and your family (who are your closest neighbors). Each day  ask yourself: What can I do today that will express my love to God?

Then, ask the same question about your family. For your wife, you might volunteer to wash the dishes. For your daughter you might purchase a valentines card. For your son you might invest an hour in playing with him. Do something each day this week to express your love to God and your family. This is the Christian lifestyle: Love as a Way of Life.

Service Vocation

Parenting is a service-oriented vocation. The day you decided to have a child, you enrolled for full-time service. Your contract called for a minimum of 18 years of service with an understanding that you would be on ‘active reserve’ for several years after that. For some children ‘acts of service’ is their primary love language. What makes them really feel loved is when you do something for them.

Cooking meals, mending doll dresses, washing clothes, and helping them with their projects are all acts of service. Your primary motivation is not to ‘please’ them, but to love them – to do what is best for them. As you serve them you are also providing a model which they will learn to emulate. You are following the example of Christ.