God’s plans for parents is outlined in the Bible and should be the ultimate guideline.
As parents of 5 children, Scott and Nikkie have learned (and are learning) a lot. Their oldest is 13 years old, so they still have a lot to learn, but they know that God will provide for all their years as He already has.
1) Psalm 127 says that children are an heritage of the Lord. They are a gift from Him for which we should be appreciative and protective. When parents give gifts to their children, they don’t expect to find it laying in the floor broken an hour later. They expect them be carrying it around, loving it, and enjoying it. God expects his children to love and take care of their children. Don’t get so busy that you don’t have time for your children.
Personal Experience: In Scott and Nikkie’s home, they strive to enjoy their children daily but as an extra bonus, they have what they call “Family Night.” One night a week, chosen by Scott and Nikkie based on what night is practical that particular week, the kids get very special attention. They take advantage of that night to also see to it that their kids have one-on-one attention. Therefore, one week, Scott does something with Matthew by himself while Nikkie takes care of the other children. The next week, Scott takes Gabrielle to do something, and so forth. Each child eventually has a night alone with each parent and the last two weeks of the cycle are for the whole family to do something fun together and for Scott and Nikkie to have a date night while the kids enjoy visiting with a grandparent. The kids look forward to this night and they always get to choose what they do with their parents. It is very special for everyone. 2) Proverbs 13 clearly encourages a parent to spank their child (when needed). This, they know, is a very controversial subject. Many reasons are given by psychologists why a person should not spank. However, if God says that this is the way to go, then they think He knows more than a psychologist (and that’s an understatement). Spankings and beatings are very different. One is at times necessary while the other is abusive and harmful to the child.
Personal Experience: Scott and Nikkie have always disciplined their children. They usually start off with warnings but when that fails, they receive a spanking. Elijah does not yet understand the rules in the home but he does understand what “no” means. If they tell him “no” repeatedly and he keeps insisting, then he gets a spanking. Jeremiah, understands the rules and most of the time, if he continues in being disobedient, all that is necessary is to tell him that he will be spanked and then he usually stops what he is doing. Matthew and Gabrielle also understand what is expected around the house and rarely need spankings. Both before and after the spanking, Scott and Nikkie review what the child did wrong, why it was inappropriate, and what would have been better behavior. Then the parents always hug and tell them the children they love them.
Scott and Nikkie have been criticized before concerning the spanking. However, when they go around families with undisciplined children and see how unruly the kids behave, they quickly remember why they do what they do. They have even had people who they did not know comment on how well behaved their kids are, especially in restaurants. Their good behavior did not come naturally. Scott and Nikkie could tell plenty of stories of disobedient behavior. But firm, consistent discipline has helped a lot.
Just as they have been criticized for spanking, they have even had occasions where they were criticized for not being hard enough. Once, Scott had Matthew at the store (Matthew was about 2 years old) and Matthew began to show out. Scott popped him one time and another lady commented that Matthew couldn’t even feel that. Apparently, she thought Scott was not being hard enough. And frankly, Nikkie doesn’t care for nosey people!
And, although some have criticized them for spanking, some for not spanking hard enough, they have also have MANY compliments on the behaviour of the children while out in public, and how there has been some obvious training at home.
3) In Ephesians 6, God shows that children are expected to obey their parents. At the same time, parents are not to provoke their children. Just as a husband should not be an overbearing, “I’m in charge” type of man to his wife, parents should not be constantly bossy to their children. But when orders are given, the children should obey.
Personal Experience: Children are not to be the ones in charge. However, Scott and Nikkie believe the childrens’ opinions and desires should be valued. In their home, they have a rule that says that everyone consider each other and each other’s desires. Therefore, each person is given opportunities to choose things to do or places to go. When they go on vacations, they try to eat at each person’s favorite restaurant and participate in each person’s favorite activity. Not every minute of their day revolves around any of their children but they do get a chance to do something they enjoy.
This lifestyle has proven to be effective. Once, on Nikkie’s birthday, the kids were excited about doing whatever she wanted on that day since it was “her day.” By supper time, she was very tired and ready to go home and call it a day. However, Matthew, their oldest, wanted to go shopping some more. He really doesn’t like shopping that much but he insisted, “Mommy loves to shop. We’ve got to let her shop.” Nikkie finally convinced him that she had a wonderful day but was very tired and would much rather go home to soak in a hot tub of water. When he was convinced that that’s what she really wanted, he agreed!