by Richard Mansel, managing editor
Children psychoanalyze everything we do as parents, and they are always watching. The atmosphere of the home becomes a barometer that feeds or stifles their suspicions.
The adage, trust but verify, certainly applies. We tell our children that we love them, but our actions have greater power than words. Our investments matter more than our currency.
Children are fearful in a world saturated with broken homes because they see the emotional scars of their classmates and they fear being rejected.
Harsh words pierce the psyches of our kids and can do long-term damage. Model Christ’s heart by showing them unconditional love (John 3:16; Romans 6:5-11).
Assure them that they will never stop being loved, no matter what they do. When they do something wrong, that behavior is wrong, not them. Never call them a bad child. That is like a knife-blade.
Be firm against misbehavior but gentle with their hearts. Help children see that they will make mistakes because that is the nature of humanity (Romans 3:23). If we cannot avoid making mistakes, we cannot expect them to do so.
As a result, when they do something wrong, it is separate from their person. We still love them as much as we ever did. If they mess up their room, criticize their behavior, not them.
Reinforce this distinction to them as they grow older so it becomes portable. Be sincere and open with them.
If they know they will be valued no matter what, they will hopefully feel safe enough to be their very best and pass this on to their children.
By utilizing unconditional love, learned from Christ, we have built a legacy of grace from above and we have changed a part of the world (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6).