We Have Great Power to Influence Our Children…for Better or Worse

With Father’s Day around the corner, here’s one of my most popular parenting articles in my personal/parenting site.  I’m publishing it here with minor revisions.  Enjoy.

Here’s a parenting truth that is so obvious, yet many parents are guilty of not realizing it: Children See, Children Do.  In other words, what the little kids see mom and dad do, they will copy.  If they copy long enough, that is what they eventually become. 

Be careful with your parenting style, folks, because all parents influence their children.  The issue is, are we influencing them positively or negatively?

It’s unfortunate that some parents have the “do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do” parenting style.  They say “don’t smoke” or “respect women” or “cussing is bad” and other rhetoric; but here they are saying certain words when they are mad, smoke cigarettes themselves, and have some questionable magazines at home.  Hmmm.

But, hey, I am sometimes guilty of this, too.  I’m kind of a messy person, yet I tell my kids to keep their rooms clean as much as possible.  So do they follow what I say or what I do?  Well, let’s just say that when you come over my house, stay downstairs.

I belong to a church that strongly advocates a strong family life for the congregation, and one of the small group study guides we use is called PARENTING THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE. 

This blog entry will give a very short summary on the 2nd session of the study, called HOW TO POSITIVELY INFLUENCE YOUR CHILDREN.  It was a very powerful lesson that convicted me when we first gone through it.

The foreword for the workbook goes like this: “This session will give you practical guidelines on how to draw close to your children in order for you to positively influence them.  Maintaining good relationships is the key to influence and so will be the main focus here.”  Sounds good to me.

So how do we positively influence our kids?  Do you want to find out?  Here’s a brief rundown of session 2’s main points (it’s a very anemic rundown, I’m afraid; you really have to study the material yourself to really get the full meat of the lesson)

1.  Good MODELING.  You have to be the person that you want them to become.  I’m not talking about perfection, because that’s impossible.  I’m talking about authenticity.

Philippians 3:17 – “Brethren, join me in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.”

2.  Good RELATIONSHIP.  The closer the relationship, the greater the influence.

1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” 

3.  TIME.  The more time you spend with the person, the greater is your influence on him/her.

Deuteronomy 6:7 – “And you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”  

4.  LISTENING.  the more you LISTEN to your children the more you UNDERSTAND them and the more you understand them the more you can INFLUENCE them.

James 1:19-20 – “This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”

5.  POSITIVE words.  Boy oh boy do Pinoy parents have a problem with this one.  But the truth is, words impact lives.

Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need at the moment that it may give grace to those who hear.”  

6.  UNCONDITIONAL love.  Harsh rules do not positively change a person.  Unconditional love does.

Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

7.  Expect the BEST. 
What we expect our kids to be, they will live up to it.  If we think they’re stupid, they become stupid.  But if we expect the best from them, they will soar and even demolish our expectations.

Philippians 1:6 – “ For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Make this effort to Positively Influence Our Children, the consequences of our failure here is too great.

Meanwhile, here are two videos to ponder on:

author:  Carlo Alado

p.e./mj

About Lessons Of A Dad

A happily married Filipino father of three. Loves God, his family, and his job as a teacher. Has a blog on parenting, Christian living, and other stuff.