Successful Parenting

February 22, 2012


Today I want to speak to parents, grandparents, future parents, aunts, uncles; young people, anybody who feels the weight and the responsibility of equipping an infant, a child, a teenager, a middle schooler, or a high schooler. Today I want to talk about parenting. If you are not married, do not worry, this is good information for you to relate with kids in your family; and you can relate to your parent’s parenting styles and its effects on your overall growth.

HF: I am going to speak to you from three sources:

  • The Bible.
  • Our experience of parenting for the last 20 years.
  • Hours of counseling with children and parents over the last 20+ years.

Marriage and family is one of life’s greatest privileges and most amazing adventures designed by God. But the devil’s plan for family is to make life miserable and destroy people by splitting families and dividing children. A commitment to the Bible’s teachings and principles are the only hope for the recovery of family life.

Remember, you can have a great marriage and not raise great children.

On the flipside, can have wonderful children, and when they leave home, your marriage can fall apart. So both marriage and children are very important.

Parental stress

Parents are actually stressed out and overloaded with job, society, finance, relationships inside family and outside of the family. All this plus parenting really takes effort. Just because I was a kid does not mean that I know anything about raising one.

Glory and I, raising up our kids have realized that the “parenting days are long, but the years are really short.” The responsibilities of every day seem like never ending. Every day we feel that we have plenty of time with our kids and then you blink and they are 10, then they are graduating from 12th and then they are gone to college. I just remember like yesterday that I drove our children from hospital after birth. And then it dawns on us that we have now the responsibility of razing our kids.


  • Dads spend on an average 8 minutes a day talking to their children.
  • Working mothers spend 11 minutes a day with their children.
  • Stay-at home moms spend less than 30 minutes a day on average.

We need to be intentional in parenting.

Proverbs 14:26

Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.

The Bible portrays the family as a fortress. A fortress has a boundary and it is the responsibility of the people living inside of it to safeguard its boundary. To guard the borders of our country, it takes the gatekeepers, the soldiers, the army, navy, Air Force, intelligence all to work together to keep intruders out. As a family you are building a wall, you are protecting your marriage, your kids, and all what God has given you. Remember Satan is an intruder waiting to attack Christian families and it takes the husband, wife, and children to work together in the fear of the Lord to safeguard your family. So everyone has a responsibility and a role in the family. Only when we fulfill our God given roles in the family can our family be safe and protected.


See what God spoke to Abraham regarding his children.

Genesis 18:18-19

Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

Remember God has chosen Abraham and given him promises. In order for God’s promises to be fulfilled Abraham will have to direct his children and his household in fulfilling what God has asked them to do. So we have a responsibility to direct our family in the way of the Lord.


Children are God’s possession.

Psalm 127:3

 Children are a heritage from the Lord.

The term heritage means property or possession, which refers to the ancestral property that we inherit from our father. Children are the Lord’s possession, the Lord’s property. They first belong to God. God assigns them to be grown under the parents’ care. So our children belong to God, we are just caretakers. I have to take care of them diligently.

Children are a reward.

Psalm 127:3b

Offspring a reward from him.

Reward means – gift of appreciation, of pleasure, of joy.

Children are never to be viewed as a sign of God’s displeasure or His punishment for man’s sin. The fruit of the womb is the trophy of God’s love. Wise parents and grandparents take pleasure in children. Children bring joy into our lives. A world without children would be a dull world. Their zest, their laughter, their excitement, their unique way of viewing things adds to the fullness to the life of parents.

Every child is unique, uniquely formed by God.

I have two children; Sam and grace. Both of them are so different and unique.

Our Indian, Eastern mindset segregates children based on their colour, capacity to study, male and female. Some consider girls are not beautiful and some kill them in the womb and some put their newborn near garbage bins or railway tracks, some differentiate beauty based on color and some on looks. If you are unable to love your children equally and treat them special, it is the heathen mindset. Kingdom mindset sees every child equal and special. Remember, there is also no accident child in the Kingdom. You would not have planned for a child, but God formed that child fearfully and wonderfully in the mother’s womb.


In the Indian context, people are fascinated by boys. People want a boy. The girl is pressurized for a boy child. Do you know that Men determine the Gender/sex of a baby depending on whether he is carrying an X or Y chromosome. An X chromosome combines with the mother’s X chromosome to make a baby girl (XX) and a Y chromosome will combine with the mother’s to make a boy (XY).12-Dec-2008


Psalm 78:1-4

1My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. 2I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—3things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. 4We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.

Godly parenting is to revolve the family around the centrality of God.

Psalm 78:4

We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.

  1. Marriage Precedes Children In Priority.

I heard parents say, “Nothing is as important to me as my children.”


In a parenting conference, the husbands were in one room and the wives were in the other room and they were talking about their children. Some women were going around and saying, “Nothing is as important to me as my children.” This sounds great but what did not is that their husbands were in the other room talking about how frustrated and violated they were that they did not get enough of their wives because they were always busy mothering their children. These husbands were bitter, frustrated, and angry and the mothers were saying, “Nothing is as important to me as my children.” Well, fathers can do the same thing.

If you in your heart or in your mind think that nothing is more important than your children, you are wrong. There are two things that are more important than your children.

God & Marriage.

God Is More Important Than My Spouse.

My Spouse Is More Important Than My Children.

Those two things are more important in your life and then once those things are set, then your children are the third most important thing in your life.

Why is this so important?

Your relationship with your God and your relationship into your marriage is what makes you into a great parent. When you wake up every day and when you have a relationship with God, God fills you, God heals you, God loves you, God gives you wisdom, strength, God solves problems that nobody else can solve; God enables us to be parents.

Galatians 5 says about the fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Those are the 9 relational qualities that make you into a good spouse and a great parent. That come from God and His Spirit. By ourselves, we are not good enough. It is amazing how petty we can be as people under pressure, but under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is amazing how godly we can be under pressure.

When I wake up in the morning, I pray and I have my devotion, it is amazing what I can do that day, because I depended on God as a husband, as a father, as an employee etc. But I wake up and don’t depend on God, it is amazing how carnal I can be.

To Have Good children I’ve Got To Have God As My Priority.

To Be A Successful Parent, I Need My Spouse As My Priority.

God and my spouse meet 95% of the needs of my life. As a happy person because I know God, and because I am a happy man because I know Glory, I am ready to parent. I am not overly in need, I’ve got my needs met, I have got my priorities right. My children’s security comes from that.

When Your Children See You Happy, They Are Happy.

When Your Children See You Secure, They Are Secure.

And When Your Children See You Godly, They Want To Be Goldy.

When Your Children See You Come To Church, The Come To Church.


Research finds that children catch parent’s nonverbal signs. Children internalize issues. Research finds that if the parents are fighting and never say anything, children can pick-up on the tension in their relationship and they will internalize that begin to get sick, even if you are not fighting in front of them.

If you are not happy, if you are struggling in your relationship your children are insecure. Your children’s security comes from you being secure. You cannot be secure in your children; you can be secure only from God and in your marriage. So God comes before children, Marriage comes before children. Our children are precious and they deserve the best of us except for God and our spouse.

Remember Children are temporary. When you have your children in your home for 18 or 24 years and in the process, you violate your marriage or you violate your relationship with God, you have done them no favour. How can your children succeed unless they see you succeed? We show them a successful relationship.

Your Children Are Always Studying From You.

They will know what it is to be a believer from you. They will know how is marriage from your marriage. The Children will know what is church and priority for church, just like the priority you give for church.


Actually, our kids are better than us. They have taken devotion and church life and commitment to ministry more than us. We do not plan anything on a Saturday afternoon onwards, since we need to be here at church. If they have a special class on Saturday afternoon, they are not happy. We never plan anything on a Sunday until 2 pm, neither my children come up with any plans.


Do you want your children to be like you because the way you are living your life is empowering them for success? Or is your children confused as to what your priorities are and you are giving them something they will have to overcome in their life?

Marriage precedes children in priority.

Single Parent/Nonbeliever spouse

If you are single, or if your spouse is not in faith for any reason, do not be disheartened; you too can raise a godly child by God’s grace. God can fill the void of your spouse if you are intentional.

  • Elijah and the widow of Zarepheth. 1 Kings 17
  • Hagar and Ishmael. Genesis 21
  • Naomi & Ruth. Ruth
  • Look at the family of Timothy.

2 Timothy 1:5

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

Children are not highest value – God is. Yes, children are precious, children are a God’s possession, children are a reward from God, and they are special but children are not the highest value – God is. God should be the number one priority of the parents. For that case even your husband-wife relationship is not one the number one priority. God comes above my spouse and my children. Godly parenting revolve the family around the centrality of God.

Godly parenting is to teach God’s word. If God is our priority, we will teach God’s word to our children.

Psalm 78:5-6

5He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children 6so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.

God has a law, the word of God. And we have that teaching in a book, the Bible. If God is more important than anything, then the Bible is more important.

We are to teach the testimony of God to our children.

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

If you have to teach your children the Bible, you first have to learn the word of God.

  1. Unity Is Essential

Jesus said a house divided against itself cannot stand. In parenting, you always present a united front.

Unity in Parenting

a. Unity in Decisions

As parents we have to make a lot of decisions daily for our children. Always present a united front to your children and never let your children divide you.

Example: I want to go for a sleepover? You say, “Let me talk to your mother.” She said yes. I want to hear it from her. Why? I want to make sure she said yes.

Speak with once voice. Not, “I want to let you go but your mother won’t.”

b. Honor Your Spouse

Always honor each other in front of your children and make your children honor your spouse. You never disrespect each other in front of your children. If your child disrespects your spouse, address and make them honor your spouse.

Unity means what you do to her, you to do me. Division means you can pick on her the whole day and I am just going to sit here and watch it and act as if it is not bothering me.

When you hear a disrespectful tone in your children, you get up and say, “You don’t talk to mom like that.

c. Be United in Loving & Disciplining.

Never allow a significant difference to develop in how you express love or enforce discipline.

You children need both of you to be affectionate with them. Your children need both of you to discipline them. Both the husband and wife are given the responsibility to discipline.

The problem is when on parent is too relaxed, the other parent has to take up the role of the disciplinarian in the home in order to bring a balance in the family. When one spouse is out of control, the other spouse will go the opposite extreme to gain control. If you are a spendthrift, I am going to hold back money. One of you need to discipline, the other can be loving. If you are too relaxed, then I will discipline.

Children need both of us to show love and give discipline.

If one parent is the disciplinarian, then the spouse has robbed this parent the ability to show the affection. Come together and make this commitment: Children need affection from their mother and father. You don’t divide that. Children’s sexual and emotional development is very much tied to the affection and discipline they get from both parents. So both are to love and both are to discipline. They need two parents.

d. Get Help When Needed

Go outside of your marriage and input when you reach and impasse, (Impasse: A situation where no progress is possible).


When you have a circumstance when you cannot solve and you cannot talk it to your children. Take external help. When you have an opinion and spouse has another opinion, take external help. They will be able to help you with the right opinion if you submit to a counselor or a pastor.

Getting help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of wisdom.

Wise people get help. Rich people have financial counselors all around them. People who are broke, do not read any book on financial management. People who are successful parents make time to attend seminars on parenting and seek help. So have a teachable spirit.

  • Marriage precedes the priority of Children.
  • Unity is essential.
  1. Parenting Takes Faith

It takes faith for parenting for the days we are living in. You do your part in doing what is right, now you pray for them. Have faith that God will lead them and they will be godly

Proverbs 22:6

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Children require direction.

Psalm 127:4

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.

Imagine a warrior in the battlefield. He has bow and arrow supplied to him by the king but it is up to the soldier to direct the arrow toward the target.

Children are like arrows. A child, like an arrow, is incapable of directing himself. It is the basic responsibility of parents to direct the lives of their children.

Training does not mean talking alone, training means showing and talking. It includes living in front of them. Talking is teaching, training is talking and showing.

You will have to have faith that if you do the right thing in front of them, the will follow them one day.


Psalm 78:7-8 7Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands8They would not be like their ancestors—a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.

  • Children put their trust in God.
  • Children will know God’s deeds.
  • Children would obey God.


Do not exasperate or embitter your children.

Ephesians 6:4

 Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Colossians 3:21

 Fathers do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Now, Paul in the letter to the Ephesians addresses only to the fathers.

In Paul’s day, especially among non-Christian and non-Jewish households the father was like a dictator. He had the choice on which child to love and which child to ignore. Under the Roman law a father had power of life and death over his children. When a child was born it was placed at its father’s feet. If the man picked the newborn baby up, it would be accepted into the household. If he turned and walked away, it was disposed of in much the same way as aborted children are today. In the first century the father made the decision and the mother had no say. Therefore whatever Paul wanted to instruct the parents he addressed to the fathers, keeping in mind the society then.

In today’s context the Bible holds both the father and mother responsible for raising your children.

Do not exasperate or embitter your children.

Exasperate – to make your children very angry or to annoy greatly.

Embitter – to continue to make your children angry over an extended period of time.


Tom was just 12 when the Scouts troop planned a family camp out. He was thrilled and could hardly wait to rush home to invite his parents. Tom wanted so much to show them all he had learned in scouting, and he was so proud when they said they would go with him.

When the Friday of the camp finally came, Tom was ready, put everything in his bag, kept it out on the porch, ready to stuff it in dad’s car the moment he arrived from work. When he looked back mom was still not ready and he shouted, “Mummy we are getting late, get ready. We need to go as soon as daddy arrives.” They were supposed to meet at the school at 5 pm to go to the campsite with other friends.

Dad did not turn up on time and Tom was pacing up and down the gate of his house. When dad finally came it was 7 pm, Tom knew it was too late and kept quiet. Dad said, “Tom, I am tired and we will get up first thing in the morning and join the others.” Tom was disappointed but hoped for the next morning.

Tom was up early morning.

Not finding dad he knocked dad’s room. Dad said they would leave around 7 am but dad never came out of his room until 9 am.

When finally dad came out saw he said, “Tom I am tired. I hope you understand me now that you are a ‘big boy,’ let’s go for the next camp.” Tom was heartbroken, but kept quiet. Soon dad went inside put his golf clothes in, took his golf clubs and stuffed it in the car and went golfing to keep his commitment with his friends.

That is when Tom realized that dad and mom never wanted to go with him to the campsite but for dad golf was more important and for mom off on Saturday was more important than Tom.

Ways parents embitter their children:

  • Smother them. Never giving them a chance to take chances.
  • Favoring one kid over the other.
  • Comparing your kids with one another.
  • Pushing their achievement beyond reasonable bounds.
  • Discouraging them.
  • Failing to make the child feel wanted. Always treating them like they are intruding on your life.
  • Using love as a tool for reward and punishment.
  • Physical and verbal abuse.
  • Teasing and taunting them.

Discipline your children.

Hebrews 12:9-10

 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.

Proverbs 23:13-14

 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.

Proverbs 19:18

 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.

Proverbs 29:17

 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.

Discipline your children in the Lord and discipline your children in moral values.

Pray for your children.

Pray that your children receive Jesus Christ, that they grow in love, honesty, integrity, purity, mercy etc.

David prayed for Solomon.

1 Chronicles 29:18-19

 18 Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. 19 And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided.

Parents be a good role model.

We as children are just the examples of our parents. You react to your circumstances just the way your parents reacted to their circumstances. Always know your children are watching you and you need be good role models to your kids.

2 Chronicles 26:3-4

 3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 4He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done.

You provide your child an example, an identity, moral and social values. Spend time with your children, let them see godly example in you.

What Successful Parents Have in Common?

Here are some observations about successful parents who have a good relationship with their children: Parents who maintain a strong relationship with their children even through middle school and high school years.

Fewer Rules.

They had fewer rules than the parents whose kids were always in trouble for breaking their rules.

Less Restriction or Grounding.

These parents used restriction or grounding to discipline their children, but comparatively very less.

When you restrict you are getting into a legalistic mentality. While rules are must in giving guideline to children, do not be legalistic but relational. We need a balance of more relational parenting and less legalism or rule-based parenting. Set rules but with love.

Let us have open communication and tell them if you see and hear these things, you will not be punished but we will help you deal with things. If they are asking to go to a friend’s home and you do not know those friends nor their parents, it’s better to have friends home when you are there are they are monitored. If you do not those kids and their family, it is not safe to send them over.

Are Not Afraid Of Their Children.

Parents who had a strong relationship with their children were not afraid of their children. It is easy for parents to become afraid of their children. If you fear your children, what they will think, how they will respond, they are in-charge of the relationship, in some cases they are in charge of the marriage. But these unique parents did not fear the rejection of their children. That is often times what parents fear. They did not fear the rejection of their kids. They were not afraid to discipline their children.

Be Facilitators than Dictators.

These parents discovered their kids talents and then they facilitated their kids interest, their kids strengths and their kids talents rather than forcing their children embrace what was most interesting to the parents or what came naturally to the parents.


In other words, instead of the doctor dad insisting that his son or daughter be a doctor, they stood with their kids and figured out the natural flow of their children and they invested in the natural flow, rather than trying to force the children into what they want but the kid did not want and leading them into something.

We have seen parents doing the opposite of that. Maybe that is your story growing up, your mom or dad had a special interest in your career and you were forced to take up a particular stream and there was a relational friction. Somehow, these wise parents avoided all of that.

Did Not Overload.

They resisted the temptation to involve their kids in everything. They did not fear their children missing out. Parents prioritized (their relationship with their kids and the kids relationship with each other, family, society, and church over achievement.) Relationship Over Achievement. They prioritized experiences that they could enjoy together, over experiences that sent them all in different directions.

Research: Parenting more important than schools to academic achievement

New research from North Carolina State University, Brigham Young University and the University of California, Irvine finds that parental involvement is a more significant factor in a child’s academic performance than the qualities of the school itself.

Healthy Marriages.

All of them had healthy marriages, not perfect. The best parenting tool of all, the best thing we can give our children is a healthy marriage. Some of you feel it is not possible, and you feel you cannot make it in parenting. We cannot isolate parenting from Marriage.

Communities don’t raise children, parents raise children.

When it comes to parenting, marriage matters.

Kids are bullied like never before. Look for attitudes in your children Observe the child’s behavior and you will see the signs of bully and addition or wrong influences.

Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied

Bullying is an intentional, aggressive and repeated behavior that involves an imbalance of power or strength.

It can take several forms:

  • Physical (hitting, punching, beating)
  • Verbal (teasing, name calling, threats)
  • Emotional (intimidation using gestures, social exclusion, threats)
  • Sexual
  • Racist Bullying
  • Cyberbullying (Online harassment, hate messages, threats, impersonation, and other digital abuse)
  • Hazing (Hazing is any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.

Warning Signs:

  • Your child comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings
  • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches
  • Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she spends time
  • Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with peers
  • Finds or makes up excuses as to why they can’t go to school
  • Takes a long out of the way route when walking to or from school
  • Has lost interest in school work or suddenly begins to do poorly in school
  • Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomach aches or other physical ailments
  • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
  • Experiences a loss of appetite
  • Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem

Note: Children with disabilities may be at a higher risk of being bullied than other children.

What to do if you suspect your child is a victim of bullying?

The above signs are signs of bullying but are also signs of other abuse as well. If your child displays any of these signs talk with them and talk with the school staff to learn more about what’s going on.

  • When talking with your child, don’t just ask if they’re being bullied.
  • A better way to approach it is to say:
  • “I’ve heard a lot about bullying in the news. Is that going on at your school?”
  • “I’m worried about you. Are there any kids at school who may be picking on you or bullying you?”
  • “Are there any kids at school who tease you in a mean way?”
  • “Are there any kids at school who leave you out or exclude you on purpose?”

If your kids or teens are being bullied do not over-react. Assure them that you love them that this is not your fault and you will help them. Let them know they can talk to you about anything.

Talk with your kid’s/teen’s school. Call or set up an appointment to talk with their teacher. Teachers are likely in the best position to understand the relationships between your child and other peers in their school.

Children and Internet:

Where Should Parents Begin regarding internet use for children?

Internet is an extremely dangerous place. Your child can see and hear things that are unthinkable. They are tempted and their friends send them those things. Your children are smarter than you think. Over 50% of the parents say they are too busy to monitor the child’s activity on the net.

  1. Build media literacy.

  2. Limit the children’s use of technology.

You need to constantly say to your kinds, you can use this only for a certain amount of time you set. There plenty of parental controls that are available.

Have a gadget cut off time. Preferably after 9 pm until 7 am.

  1. Discuss issues related to sexuality openly and early as per their age.

  2. Tell the truth about the porn industry and its dangers.

  3. Schedule time for exercise.

Because too much technology is bad. It is proven that too much technology makes you depressed, unhealthy, gets you addicted and does all kinds of bad things to you.


A godly family is a family who fulfils its God given roles. Many of you sitting here are parents others are children. How is your family today? Is your family a palace of joy or a prison of conflict and confusion? How is your relationship with your spouse?

Spend time with them, coach them, play with them, have fun with them. Mold them up in the values of God. If you do not spend time with your children, they will they will get on what family values are and morality is from their friends outside.

God is interested in making your family a happy home, but for that God wants you to fulfill your role in the family.