To end his incredibly thorough book, Tripp gives specific training objectives and procedures for the following stages of growth and development: infancy to childhood, childhood, and teenagers.
At the time I’m writing this (who know’s, I may update it down the road!), my oldest has just turned 2. Though she hasn’t ventured farther than the terrific twos, after reading the chapters on infancy to childhood, I do feel I can speak to Tripp’s instructions. Disclaimer: as for the other stages (childhood and teenagers), I will not claim any understanding beyond what is written in his book. While I have worked with teenagers my entire teaching and coaching career, I do not claim to have inside knowledge of how to parent children of these ages (though sometimes I feel like I do!).
Infancy to Childhood: Training Objectives
Parents, we have an amazingly difficult task in front of us. We have been charged to teach our children to honor God in a world where no one is honored. In order to do this, even at the young ages of birth to 5, we must identify what the most important objectives are of our job. As Tripp points out, “Respecful teenagers are developed when they are 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, not at 13, 14, 15, or 16.”
Obedience is the willing submission of one person to the authority of another
We must teach our children that they are under authority. In order to truly obey, they must do what they are told…
Submission means honoring and obeying God
As they demonstrate obedience to us as their parents, they are also demonstrating obedience to the Lord. We are His agents and act in His place. While they may not make the connection at such a young age, we are laying the groundwork for their understanding of the bigger gospel message.
Honor your [honorable] parents
Parents, you must be honorable in your conduct and demeanor. If you are not an honorable person, put the biblical parenting thing on hold and fix that first. God gave all of us an innate sense of justice and no child will willingly honor you if they sense (for appropriate reasons) that you are unworthy of honoring.
Our children need to treat us with respect and esteem because of our position of authority as God’s agents NOT because we are in charge of them. Yes, we are in charge of them. However, being in charge for the sake of being the one giving “orders” is not what God is getting at when He commands children to honor their father and mother in multiple places in the Bible.
We will know if we – and God – are being honored by how our children speak to us. Monitor this and you will know what is in their hearts.
Appeals are appropriate only when done in a respectful manner
While we need to be firm in our directives at these young ages, we also need to give our children an appropriate and respectful way to appeal. This is not teaching manipulation; rather, it is giving them a pattern to follow that is biblical, respectful, and obedient. It also gives us some breathing room as parents. It gives us an opportunity to pull back on something we said inappropriately or too quickly while still enforcing the truth of our position of authority.
How is this accomplished? By teaching children to follow these 4 steps:
- You must obey immediately, not after appeal
- You must be prepared to obey either way
- You must appeal in a respectful manner
- You must accept the result of the appeal with a gracious spirit
(to be addressed in depth in the following post)
This is part of a 31 day series of shepherding a child’s heart in 5 minutes a day (click here for the series intro). I pray this series edifies you as much as reading Tripp’s book has encouraged and challenged my husband and I in how we raise our children. Subscribe to the blog in the side bar if you’d like to get posts emailed to you in a weekly digest or subscribe on your favorite blog reader.