1. RIGHT AND WRONG ATTITUDES
a. What is essential for parents in maintaining family discipline? Matthew 18:19. Give an example of how home attitudes carry over into church life.
“The father is to be the houseband of the family. This is his position, and if he is a Christian, he will maintain family government. In every respect his authority is to be recognized. . . . If fathers and mothers are at variance, one working against the other to counteract each other’s influence, the family will be in a demoralized condition, and neither the father nor the mother will receive the respect and confidence that are essential to a well-governed family. . . .Would that parents would work in harmony, guiding their children in the fear of God and remembering that they are His agents.”—The Review and Herald, March 13, 1894.
“The managers of our institutions have a most difficult task to maintain order and to discipline wisely the youth under their care. The members of the church can do much to stay up their hands. When the youth are unwilling to submit to the discipline of the institution, or in any matter of difference with their superiors are determined to have their own way, let not parents blindly sustain and sympathize with their children.”—Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 185.
2. CORRECTING CHILDREN
a. What is often necessary in our efforts to correct our children? Proverbs 19:18.
“After you have done your duty faithfully to your children, then carry them to God and ask Him to help you. Tell Him that you have done your part, and then in faith ask God to do His part, that which you cannot do. Ask Him to temper their dispositions, to make them mild and gentle by His Holy Spirit. He will hear you pray. He will love to answer your prayers. Through His word He has enjoined it upon you to correct your children, to ‘spare not for their crying,’ and His word is to be heeded in these things.”—The Review and Herald, September 19, 1854.
b. What wrong management on the part of parents may be ascribed the rebelliousness of some children in professed Christian homes? 2 Timothy 3:2.
“One of the signs of the ‘last days’ is the disobedience of children to their parents. 2 Timothy 3:2. And do parents realize their responsibility? Many seem to lose sight of the watchcare they should ever have over their children, and suffer them to indulge in evil passions and to disobey them. They take but little notice of them until their own feelings are raised and then punish them in anger. . . .
“Parents, correct your children. Commence while they are young, when impressions can be more easily made, and their evil tempers subdued before they grow with their growth and strengthen with their strength. You should correct your children in love.”—Ibid.
c. As their children develop in maturity, what is essential for parents to recognise in their rules and methods of discipline? 1 Corinthians 13:11.
“Do not treat your children only with sternness, forgetting your own childhood and forgetting that they are but children. Do not expect them to be perfect or try to make them men and women in their acts at once.”—The Adventist Home, p. 196.
3. SECURITY THROUGH CONSISTENT LOVE
a. In what attitude should we approach our children in order to train them? Matthew 18:3 (first part). Explain some key principles on this point.
“Mothers, is there not a work for you to do in your families? You may inquire, how can we remedy the evils which already exist? How shall we begin the work? If you lack wisdom, go to God; He has promised to give liberally. Pray much, and fervently, for divine aid. One rule cannot be followed in every case. The exercise of sanctified judgment is now needful. Be not hasty and agitated and approach your children with censure. Such a course would only cause rebellion in them. You should feel deeply over any wrong course you have taken, which may have opened a door for Satan to lead your children by his temptations. . . . Before you engage in the work of teaching your children the lesson of self-control, you should learn it yourself.”—An Appeal to Mothers, pp. 20, 21.
“Few parents begin early enough to teach their children obedience. The child is usually allowed to get two or three years the start of its parents, who forbear to discipline it, thinking it is too young to learn to obey. But all this time self is growing strong in the little being, and every day makes it a harder task for the parent to gain control of the child.
“At a very early age children can comprehend what is plainly and simply told them, and, by kind and judicious management, can be taught to obey. . . . The mother should not allow her child to gain an advantage over her in a single instance; and, in order to maintain this authority, it is not necessary to resort to harsh measures; a firm, steady hand and a kindness which convinces the child of your love will accomplish the purpose. . . .
“Never should [the children] be allowed to show their parents disrespect. Self-will should never be permitted to go unrebuked. The future well-being of the child requires kindly, loving, but firm discipline.”—Child Guidance, pp. 82, 83.
b. lf the power of love is exercised by concerned parents, what will it do for their children? 1 Corinthians 13:7, 8 (first part); Romans 15:1.
4. EXPRESSING LOVE AMONG FAMILY MEMBERS
a. What is one of the main factors in having a successful family life? Philippians 2:2. Explain how parents should ever show that they love their children.
“Mothers are needed who will so guide their children that they will regard themselves as part of the family. . . . You should ever impress upon your children the fact that you love them; that you are laboring for their interest; that their happiness is dear to you; and that you design to do only that which is for their good. You should gratify their little wants whenever you can reasonably do so.”—The Adventist Home, pp. 197, 198.
“If your child is playing with something that is not a proper article for him to use as a toy, do not snatch it from him; but get him to exchange it for something that will be proper for him, and that will give him as much pleasure.”—The Signs of the Times, April 30, 1894.
“Educate your children from their babyhood to be cheerful and obedient. Teach them to help you. Tell them that they are a part of the firm, and that you need their help, so that you will be spared to care for them. ‘Oh,’ say some mothers, ‘my children bother me when they try to help me.’ So did mine, but do you think I let them know it? Praise your children. Teach them, line upon line, precept upon precept. This is better than reading novels, better than making calls, better than following the fashions of the world. We shall go through this life but once. We cannot afford to fail of reaching the goal for which Christ has told us to strive.”—Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, pp. 325, 326.
b. How should the members of Christian families express affection one for another? Ephesians 4:32; James 3:17.
“In many families there is a great lack in expressing affection one for another. While there is no need of sentimentalism, there is need of expressing love and tenderness in a chaste, pure, dignified way. Many absolutely cultivate hardness of heart and in word and action reveal the satanic side of the character. Tender affection should ever be cherished between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters. Every hasty word should be checked, and there should not be even the appearance of the lack of love one for another. It is the duty of everyone in the family to be pleasant, to speak kindly.”—The Adventist Home, p. 198.
5. HAVING THE HOLY SPIRIT IN CONTROL
a. What example should fathers and mothers demonstrate before their children? Matthew 11:28–30.
“In the family, fathers and mothers should ever present before their children the example they wish to be imitated. They should manifest one to the other a tender respect in word, and look and action. They should make it manifest that the Holy Spirit is controlling them, by representing to their children the character of Jesus Christ.”—The Review and Herald, March 13, 1894.
b. What aim should parents have constantly in mind in the training of their children, and how should they go about it? 2 John 4–6.
“Parents should make manifest in their daily life what it is to love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves. Where religion is a practical thing in the home, great good is accomplished. Religion will lead the parents to do the very work God designed should be done in the home. Children will be brought up in the fear and admonition of the Lord.”—Ibid.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why does the little child need firm guidelines? Why should he or she know the difference between what is good and acceptable behavior and what is unacceptable in the home?
2. Distinguish between right and wrong methods of correcting children.
3. What principle should we hold up before our children as the foundation of all wisdom?
4. How essential is the expressing of affection among family members?
5. How will Christian parents show they are controlled by the Holy Spirit?