Scriptures

1. Learning How To Love Your Child

Introduction

This is an exciting age in which to live, it is an age of unprecedented opportunities and blessings. Children today have so many more advantages to develop both physically and mentally than ever before. Yet the paradox to this is that this is also possibly the most difficult age we have ever had to raise children.

When Jimmy was growing up he didn’t have to face many of the things that I face and many of today’s children have to face. Below are a few of the things Jimmy didn’t face.

1. The drug culture which has reached even the very young.

2. The rock rebellion. Anger and rage against established principles.

3. Pornography.

4. X Rated movies.

5. The tremendous brainwashing done by television. 14,000 hours or 4.9 years of a child’s life is spent viewing television.

6. Humanism which assaults Christian principles on every hand.

7. Divided homes. A higher percentage of children than ever before are now living in single-parent homes. This is resulting in a tremendous amount of emotional problems for our children.

8. The age of conformity. This drive has become all-consuming to Britons destroying their ability of one to act and think for themselves.

All of these things place tremendous pressure on parents and their children. It is a difficult challenge that they face. They need all the support and help they can get.

God provides us with a lot of good advice in His word. Also, older Christians who have raised children have learned much from experience and can be of help.

The author of these notes does not claim to be any kind of expert or authority on the matter. However, experience can be a great teacher. The unfortunate thing is that after you have gained experience and have learned what not to do and what to do then it is usually too late.

If you could have known what you know now when you started raising your children how much better it would have been. However, this experience can be passed on so that others can profit.

The Greatest Need of A Child

A child is the most needy person in our society and their greatest need is love. Love is first and foremost. It has been proven by experiment that if you withhold love from an infant by not holding it, talking to it, or just feeding it, it will soon die.

During WWII many young children were removed from London during the bombings into the country so they would be safe. They were not with their parents but placed under the supervision of certain guardians.

The results were that all developed serious emotional problems. It would have been better for them to have suffered through the bombing and been with their parents.

Love is basic and fundamental and this is how God has always operated. Love is the basis of the relationship between God and His Son, John 15:9. It is also the basis of God’s relationship with us, John 3:16. As God loved His son and loves us so we must manifest love to our children.

Learning How To Love Your Children

There is a remarkable passage in Titus 2:4. Speaking to the older women Paul instructed them, ‘that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.’

For a long time, I wondered why would a parent have to learn how to love their child. The answer to this has become clearer with the passing of years.

It is simply because many parents don’t know how to love their children. This is true because so many have a false concept of what it means to love.

Certainly, most parents love their children but it is not always the right kind of love. The problem is they don’t know how to convey or transmit their heartfelt love. Thus many children do not feel genuinely, unconditionally loved and accepted by their parents. This has been called the apathetic age. Why?

Because so many children and young people are saying, ‘no one cares’. This is the most frequent statement made by our young. While their parents may love them, their children do not feel loved.

We must keep in mind that teens have the same emotional needs as young children. They may be bigger, stronger, and even smarter than their parents but emotionally they are still children and they need to feel our love.

Unconditional Love

Most concepts of what a child needs centre around protection, food, clothes, education, guidance and affection. If we do this we feel we are showing love for a child. While all these are good and should be provided they do not constitute unconditional love.

What Is Unconditional Love?

It is loving a child with no strings attached. It is loving a child no matter what, what they may look like, what their assets may be, and even their liabilities and handicaps.

I may not always like their behaviour or their actions but I will still love them. I will love them when they please or even when they displease. They must see that I love them in spite of their faults.

This does not mean I will condone their bad behaviour. I may have to discipline them but even in discipline, they must see that I love them. It is not the child who is told they are loved but the child who experiences unconditional love that grows into a happy, well-adjusted adults.

Love Is Communicated Through Actions

A child from birth is extremely sensitive to the feelings of his or her parents, especially the mother. Their first impression of the world is through their feelings. It is extremely important how they see their world, their parents, their home, and themselves.

If they sense their world as rejecting, unloving, uncaring, or hostile, then anxiety, a child’s greatest enemy takes charge. From the very beginning, they have an ability to recognize our feelings for them by our behaviour and often our behaviour is saying the wrong thing. A child is constantly, continually asking their parents, ‘do you love me?’

This is not done with words but with their behaviour. Thus their behaviour may be such as to test our love. ‘Do you love me even though I do this?’ Our reactions to their behaviour often say we don’t like them. So we must learn to love them behaviourally, 1 John 3:18.

If we withhold our affections, warmth, or praise, they know it immediately. If we are constantly scolding, yelling, nagging, arguing, and prompting them to do better, then they get the message of conditional love. We are saying, ‘I love you when you are good but I don’t love you when you are bad.’ This is conditional love.

We all have high expectations of our children. It is so easy to leave the impression we will love them when they meet these expectations but we are disappointed if they don’t.

Go To Lesson 2

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness."

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