Train Up a Child

Christian parents must realize they have a responsibility to train their children, just as we read in Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it” (emphasis added).

Training involves not only punishment for disobedience but reward for good behavior. Children need to be consistently praised by their parents to reinforce their good behavior and desirable traits. Children need to be reassured often that they are loved, accepted and appreciated by their parents. Parents can convey their love by praises, hugs and kisses, and through the time they spend with their children.

To “train” means to “make to obey.” Christian parents, therefore, should not give their children the option of whether or not they will attend church or pray every day and so on. Children are not responsible enough to know what is best for them—that is why God gave them parents. To the parents who invest the effort and energy to see that their children are properly trained, God promises that their children will not depart from going the right way when they are older, as we read in Proverbs 22:6.

Children should also be given increasing responsibilities as they grow older. The goal of effective parenting is to gradually prepare the child for the full responsibilities of adulthood. As the child grows older, he should be given more and more freedom to make his own decisions. In addition, the teenager should understand that he will accept responsibility for the consequences of his decisions and that his parents will not always be there to “bail him out” of trouble.