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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - Keys to Successful Parenting

Charles Stanley - Keys to Successful Parenting

Charles Stanley - Keys to Successful Parenting
TOPICS: Parenting

Who is a successful parent? Well, you say, "Well, what does it take to be a successful parent? Isn't that just somebody's personal opinion"? Not really. The Bible's very clear about what it takes to be a successful parent. But let me ask you this question: What would have to take place in your home among your children in order for you to feel like you had been, or that you are a successful parent? What would have to take place among your children? What would you have to do? And are you willing to pay the price for your children to be the persons that God intended them to be? For you to be able to sit back one of these days and say, "Well, I do believe that I was a successful parent".

Kids need successful parents. Children need parents who care, who love them, who are interested in them, and who are looking out for their best. And God has given very clear instruction. So, let's ask ourselves the question, what is a successful parent? What does it take to be a successful parent? So, I want you to listen to this definition. It's the definition that I believe that is absolutely true of a successful parent. A successful parent is one who has faithfully and adequately transferred to their children, both by precept and practice, those principles that will equip that child to discover and fulfill God's will for their life. I believe that is the true, the true idea of real, genuine parenting.

Say it again so you get it down. And that is, a parent who faithfully and adequately transfers to their children by precept, by that is by lessons, by instruction, and by practice, their behavior, those principles that will help that child to discover and fulfill God's will for their life, because if a child doesn't discover and fulfill God's will for their life, listen, you have not been the kind of parent you ought to be. Now, if you've not done it, you have not. Does that mean that if you do your best and if you follow the principles, which I'm gonna share with you in a few moments, and then they go off base somewhere along the way, that you've not been a good parent? No, it doesn't mean that. But listen, a successful parent is one who has done it. And if you have taught your children these principles, if you've been able to convey these things to them, then you know what? Doesn't mean that somewhere out there they won't get off base for a season.

When the Bible says, "Train up a child in the way he or she should go and when they're old, they will not depart from it," here's what it means: It means they may get off base somewhere there, but they're coming back. Because you see, once it's ingrained, listen, once the child understands the principle and it's a part of their thinking and a part of their life, they'll never be able to escape that no matter what. They may get away, but they won't be able to escape it. And eventually they're gonna have to return. So, what are those principles? I believe there are seven basic principles that every child needs to hear. It needs not only to hear them but to be able to understand them. And remember what we said: Transferring these principles first of all by instruction by word and then by practice. Well, I want to give you seven words and just a word of explanation for each one of them.

The first one is spiritual, the spiritual principle; that is, every parent has the responsibility of teaching that child who Jesus is, teaching that child how to be saved, how to learn forgiveness for their sins, how to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, the importance, listen, of growing as a Christian. You have the responsibility of teaching that child the importance of the Word of God. How do you teach them that? By reading it in front of them. By hearing you talk about what the Bible says, answering questions around the table, or when you're discussing situations and circumstances with your child, ask him, "What does the Word of God say"?

Let's get God's instruction and His Word about this. Teaching them the importance of the Word of God. Teaching them how to pray. How do they learn to pray? Listening to Father and Mother pray. You also teach them to serve the Lord. And you serve the Lord by serving others. Learning very early in life to do things for other people as unto the Lord. You teach them, you instruct them in those things that are spiritual. You want them to be saved early in life and to grow in their Christian life and to be a member of a fellowship of people, a church, and to be baptized and to acknowledge their dependence upon the Lord. And when the Communion time, the Lord's Supper, is served in the church, they are there to participate and to be reminded of the cross and the place that Jesus Christ has in their life. That is the most basic principle every single child needs.

Second principle is moral, or you could say ethics; that is, teaching a child to be honest. "You don't lie to me. You lie to me, you lie to God". You see, what we don't realize is this: When a child disobeys their godly parents, they're disobeying God. When they are disrespectful to their parents, they're disrespectful to God. And so, children need to understand the importance of honesty and integrity and loyalty. And so, when we raise our children and we teach them these things of purity, how you care for your body, what you do and what you do not do, that you're governed by the morals of the Word of God, and also teaching them, listen, teaching them the consequences of violating, first of all, their conscience and violating the Word of God.

There is a consequence in violating scripture, a consequence in violating the Word of God, a consequence in violating, listen, the teachings of godly parents. Children need to learn that principle. Who's going to teach them that but you? Whose responsibility is it to teach them? Listen, here's what He said. He said, "Fathers have this responsibility". And so, I say to all you mothers out there who are living without a father, what kind of environment are you creating among your children? Do they see you as a spiritual, godly woman who loves God, who depends upon God? Do they see you as a moral woman? Do they see you as one who tells the truth and is loyal and devoted?

We create in an environment, and these principles, first of all, by practice and then by precept because they're gonna learn by what they see quicker than what they hear, and more impacting upon them is what they see. You want your child to grow up to be the kind of child that, listen, discovers the will of God and the purpose of God for their life and fulfills that purpose? It begins in the home with the father and the mother. And oftentimes there's a father and no mother; oftentimes, a mother and no father. But oftentimes today these are deadly choices, especially when people decide to live together without the other and keep bringing different persons into that relationship with their children that absolutely frustrates, confuses, and causes them to grow up in an immoral environment.

Principle number three is relational. We need to teach our children how to relate to others. And you look at and see what's happening in our schools and people shooting each other, somewhere along the way, somebody didn't teach the worth of the individual. Somebody didn't teach somebody how to relate to others, that is, to choose godly friends. And the Bible is very clear about the kind of people we should stay away from. You should teach your children according to scripture the kind of people you do not want to be your friends, because the Bible says that the wrong kind of friendships are ruinous to the person who develops them. Teach your children how to develop relationships, not only with other children, how to develop relationships with their parents, develop relationships with other adults, how to be transparent, how to be open, how to be helpful, how to give themselves to others.

These are basic principles that are absolutely essential because then brothers and sisters get along better. Doesn't mean they never have a little fight with each other, they're children. They have to learn. And because in the learning process, they're gonna make mistakes, but the principle is there: learning relationships, learning to love someone else, learning to cherish. How do we expect children to grow up learning to love someone who will be their husband or wife, or to cherish someone else if they don't learn it at home? If there is selfishness and self-interest and self-centeredness and pride that permeates that home, how do we expect these children to grow up and be the kind of children you want them to be, the kind of adults you want them to be, the kind of young men and women you desire that they be?

Principle number one is spiritual. Number two is moral, ethical. And number three is relation. Number four is vocational. It is the responsibility of the parent to guide your child in their education, to guide them to discover, what does God want you to do? To help them to understand the difference between spending their life and investing their life, the difference between just getting a degree and getting a job and just making money, and helping them to understand that's not what life's all about, that God has a will, God has a purpose, God has a plan for your life. Therefore, in making a choice of their vocation, "Son, sweetheart, is this what God wants you to do? Is this the best way you can invest your life? Do you want to spend it and waste it? Or do you want to invest it, make it count, make it fruitful, make it productive? Do you want to have an impact in other people's lives"? You don't compare them with others, brothers and sisters. But you ask, "What does God want you to do? What has equipped you to do? How are you gifted"? Help that child understand.

Then of course, there's the whole issue of finances, the principle of finances. How many parents teach their children what money is all about? What is money? What is the purpose of it? The purpose of it is not "to get rich so I can retire early and do nothing or just do what I wanna do". And so oftentimes, people very, very young today are talking about retirement. That is not the purpose of life. That's not what life's all about. The purpose of life is productivity. The purpose of life is fruitfulness. The purpose of life is bringing glory and honor to God. And that is absolutely a foreign idea to so many. But, listen, the principle of finances. Where does all finances come from? What does God say? He says that He's the source of it all. He owns it all.

And so, we teach our children what? We teach them what the purpose of it is and we teach them to earn it honestly, to spend it, listen, to spend it carefully, to save it consistently, to invest it wisely, and to tithe it faithfully and to enjoy it hilariously. And you can if you have done the others. But today, the whole idea is you can get it now. And you see, when you teach your children the right principles about finances, one thing they're gonna try to do, they gonna try to avoid debt at all cost. Remember what we said, to be careful how you spend it. And a child who understands very early in life, when they begin to understand the meaning of money, the purpose of it, that it belongs to God, we are accountable to Almighty God for what we do with our finances as well as our gifts, whether it's our gifts concerning our talents and abilities, or whether it's financial things. You teach them, listen, you teach them the principles. Teach them the principle of finance.

The next principle you want to be sure to teach them is the principle of authority, which is what most people never think to teach their children, that is, there are authorities in life. God is the ultimate authority. Every single one of us is accountable to the living God for our life. I wonder how many children grow up and never even hear that principle. "In fact, you just do what I tell you. You just behave yourself. I'm your dad. I'm your mom. You do what I tell you". And then the same parent lives an immoral life right in front of them. It's difficult for them to respect them. They have little or no respect, "And you want me to do what you tell me"?

Our first responsibility of authority is to Almighty God; secondly, to parents; thirdly, to the leadership of the church; fourthly, those leadership in the schools, then leadership in the government. We are accountable. We have authorities to whom we must give an account. And when a child has no concept of accountability, there's anarchy. And what we see happening all across our land is the absence of the understanding of the necessity and the rightfulness of God, listen, given, divine authority beginning in the home. When a child has no respect for their father, no respect, no sense of accountability to their parent, do you think that they are gonna say, "Well, you know, I'm gonna ignore all of them. I just want to be accountable to God"? Not gonna happen.

And let me just say this: One of the most important principles that you'll teach your child, if you want to, listen, if you want your children to be loyal and devoted to you, this is one of the basic principles of all, and that is, first of all, that they are accountable to God. When you teach a child early in life that you're accountable to God, your conduct, your behavior, the way you act, the things you say, the things you do, the people you run with, you're accountable to God. Now, both of my children said to me one day, said, both of them were in seminary at that time and they came home, and they said, "You know what? You know what the question we get most of the time? They want to ask us, why didn't we rebel against you? You're pastor of a large church and there's TV ministry and all this and you're busy, busy, busy. Why didn't we rebel against you"?

So, they said to each other, they said, "You know what? Why didn't we rebel against our dad? Why didn't we rebel"? They got to thinking about it and they said they came to this conclusion: I never gave them anything to rebel against. Somebody says, "Well, you must have been a very weak dad". Oh, no, this is what they concluded, and this is the principle. Every time they would come to me with something, maybe something I didn't agree with, I would say to them, "You need to talk to God about that". Now, every once in a while, they'd come back to me and I would say, "Well, did you talk to God"? "Yes, we did". "What did He say"? He said, "Come ask you". I said, "No, He didn't. No, He didn't say that". So, I'd send them away again. Said, "No, you go ask God. What did He say"? "He didn't say anything". I said, "Oh, He's trying".

Now, you say, "Well, isn't that risky"? It's risky if they don't see it lived out in your life. But it's the right thing to do. You ask God. So, what happens? When they grow up having to face God as children with those decisions in life, what happens? You think they're gonna run away to go to college and just live like the devil? No. You know why? Because the same person that they're accountable to is in the college and on the beach and on their date. He's still there. Dad's not there, Mother's not there, but you know who's there? God's there. Because they've learned in the very beginning that He's everywhere because everywhere is in His presence and therefore on the date, there's God. In the restaurant, there's God. In school, there's God.

When you're by yourself, there's God. When you are in a big crowd and there's lots of peer pressure, there's God. The most powerful principle you can teach your children is dour, listen, is their constant, continuing, unending, unchangeable, accountable to the living God, and you know what happens? Those kind of kids don't run away from home. They don't know running away from home, why? Because they know that before they get to the end of the block, there's God. "Now what do I do"? And so, what you do is you teach them the principle of accountability, of authority, that God-given authority is for your protection, but you can't do that if you don't protect your children. You can't do that if you're indifferent to their needs and careless and don't love them.

And then there is the personal principle. The last one is personal. So, what do we mean by that? Simply this: every child needs to understand to be taught "I'm worth something. My mom and dad think I'm really worth something. They love me". They need to be taught a sense of worth. They need to feel that they belong to that family, a sense of belonging. There's something very secure about feeling that you belong. This is, listen, this is why people would go out and join all kind of organizations. This is why kids join gangs, why? "Now I belong". A sense of worth, a sense of belonging, a sense of competence. "Son, I know you can do it. Sweetheart, I know you can handle it. You can do it. I believe you can do it". A sense of acceptance, a sense of love.

Now listen, a tripod has three legs. Every single child needs to grow up with the emotional stability of belonging, worthiness, and competence. "I am somebody. I'm worth something. I belong, I'm wanted, I'm desired, I'm competent, I can to it". You can knock down either one of those legs, the tripod's gonna fall. You can't have emotional stability without a sense of belonging, competence, and worthiness. When a person grows up without that, think about this for a moment, no matter what else is going in their life, there's a sense of emptiness, there's something missing. When you don't feel like you belong, especially to a family, you don't feel like that anybody feels like that you're competent, that you can accomplish.

Listen, when you don't feel worthy, when you don't feel like that you're considered... and how do these things come about? They come about the way you treat your children. Every child needs to feel accepted, wanted, desired, loved, belonging, competent that they can. Now, that being true, here are the principles. Now, what will make these principles work? It is the attitude of the one who's doing the instructing, or living. And what is that attitude? That attitude is, listen, servant-leader. Do you think that a child who sees Father and Mother serving them, what does that say? It says, "I'm worth something". It says, "I count". It says, "I belong". Somebody says, "Now wait a minute. This servant business, doesn't the Bible say that the husband's the head of the home"? Right. Servant-head, servant-head.

A servant is one who voluntarily, sacrificially, joyfully gives themselves away to help others reach their desires, their needs and their goals and their purpose in life. Any person who leads the family as a servant head, any woman who disrespects that, any woman who overlooks that, who disregards that is headed for trouble and will make serious, deadly mistakes in her life. There are a lot of women out there who'd love to have that kind of husband. Servant-head. Because you see, while he's the head, remember, he is sacrificially, joyfully, listen, willingly, voluntarily desiring to create the best atmosphere in that home possible, for both a wife and the children. What is the attitude that makes it work? Servant attitude. Now, what's the characteristic of a servant? We said not only voluntarily and sacrificially and joyfully.

Well, let's think about what are the characteristics of a servant? A servant has a humble spirit. So, they're not gonna be provoking their children to anger, for example. A person who is a servant is disciplined. There's a sense of love. They can be very firm when it's necessary, very dependable, very helpful, very encouraging in every way. I believe every single child would respond to that kind of a father. God doesn't give us responsibility without giving us a know-how. He's not going to tell us to do something without enabling us to do it. It is the servant attitude. It is the willingness to love and to forgive and to be consistent and persistent. You don't tell a child one thing one time and they get the message. You know why I know that? You don't even tell an adult one thing one time and they get the message. But what happens is we tell them over and over and over again. What do you say?

You say to that child very early in life before they can ever remember, "God has a will for your life. God has a plan for your life. God's got something good for you". You know what you do? You ingrain into their heart by repetition. And then they watch you live out God's will in your life. And you may go through difficulties and trials and heartaches and pain, and you know what? You say, "Well, my kids are gonna wonder, 'If God's so good, why does He allow these things?'" No, here's what's gonna happen. They're gonna watch your response to those things. Your godly response to difficulty, hardship, pain, trials, and tribulations does what? Builds strength, confidence, and assurance that what you have taught them works because they see it working in your life. You wanna be a successful parent? It takes work, it takes prayers, it takes time, it takes diligence.

What you have to ask is, "Will this precious gift that God has entrusted me with, is he or she or they, are they worth my time, worth my effort, worth my diligence, worth my loyalty, worth my investment of finances, whatever's necessary, to help them become the persons God intended them to be when He placed them in my womb"? Can you say that? And, Dad, can you say that maybe things are tough in your family, but more important than you just having your way and doing your thing, you stick in there? You stay in there for the sake of your children because you're gonna send them fantastic message. I don't know where you are as a parent, but this much I do know: You've heard seven very simple principles. Are they easy to work out? No. Where do they begin? In your heart, between you and God, and your commitment to Him. First of all, to accept Him as your Savior, Lord, and Master. And then say to Him:

Father, I want to be the kind of parent You want me to be because I want my children to grow up to be godly, to fulfill Your purpose and plan for their life. Now, Lord, You said You'd send the Holy Spirit to help us and to be our instructor and our enabler. So, I'm gonna trust the Holy Spirit now to enable me to be the kind of parent who can teach that spiritual, ethical, who can teach that relationship, who can teach that vocational, who can teach that financial, who can teach that authority, who can teach that personal principle in the life of my children so that one of these days I'll know I've done my best. And now I trust You to guide my children to be their best in life.

Can you do that? Yes, you can. How does it start? With a surrender of your life to God and the acknowledgment that you need Him to help you to be a successful parent.
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