Failure in a child's upbringing may evolve from the parents' weak faith and engrossment in the material side of life. It may come also from their irritability and anger, which in turn are the results of selfishness and a lack of discipline. The irritability of parents summons a responding irritability in children.
Child psychology teaches that toward the third year a child starts to realize his individuality and begins to say "I." At this time parents should start to train him to be obedient. During the first several years of his life a child acquires approximately one third of the notions of an adult. After this, a person mostly broadens and deepens that which was imprinted on his soul during childhood. From infancy, a child must learn what is permissible and what is not. This knowledge should be imparted to him not abstractly, but by putting it on a religious foundation - on faith in God and our relationship with Him - with love, thankfulness, and hope in His help. The notion of right and wrong gives a child a sense of responsibility. Now he realizes that any bad behavior breaches not only the demands of his parents, but also the natural order directed by God, Who may punish him for disobedience. Simultaneously, parents should give to their child an example of Christian life. If they try only to stuff his head with dry rules, he will regard them as useless theories. A good example has a determining role in a child's development. To this end, all the members of a family must strive to respect and love each other, to pray together, discuss religious topics, attend Church, take Communion often, observe fast days, and help the needy. Failure in a child's upbringing may evolve from the parents' weak faith and engrossment in the material side of life. It may come also from their irritability and anger, which in turn are the results of selfishness and a lack of discipline. The irritability of parents summons a responding irritability in children. Children must be protected from temptations, which usually seep into them through television and voluptuous music. If the parents insist on having a television in their home, they must restrict the amount of time they spend in front of the TV and also check the contents of what they watch. It is crucial to remember that good results in rearing children are unachievable without a religious environment at home. The Church with its instructions, prayers and sacraments can only help parents in the process, and so mothers and fathers must strive to have the grace of the Lord in their home. This grace will guide and save their whole family. Lord, Our Heavenly Father, have mercy on our children (names), for whom we humbly beg You, and whom we entrust to Your care and protection. Instill in them the true faith, teach them to be reverent before You and deign them to love You dearly, our Creator and Savior. Direct them to righteousness, so that they do everything to Your glory. Teach them to lead a pious and virtuous life, to be good Christians and worthy people. Give them spiritual and physical health and success in their endeavors. Protect them from the wily snares of the devil, from many temptations, from bad passions and from all godless and disorderly people. For the sake of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, through the prayers of His most Holy Mother and all the saints, bring them toward Your calm refuge and Your everlasting Kingdom, so that they, with all the saved, forever thank You with Your only begotten Son and Your life-giving Spirit. Amen.
The fact is that subject to individual differences and to the influence of their upbringing,children do have the inherent capacities to distinguish right from wrong and to be generous,compassionate, and altruistic. They have biologically-based predispositions to attend to and torespond to others' emotional states that are evident by the age of one to two years. Thesepredispositions wither or are reinforced by subsequent life experiences in the form of parentalmodeling. Children also acquire prosocial or antisocial values from their peers, teachers, religion,movies, literature, and television.
The Bible says in Luke 15:7 that there is rejoicing in heaven over one lost soul who returns to Christ. As a mother, you are already entrusted with that one soul (more than one to others) and that is your very own child! In this post I want to share with you (this applies to fathers as well) four ways in which you can equip yourselves to bring up your children in a godly way:
The struggles and difficulties that parents go through in the upbringing of their children have a positive aspect. Striving to direct their children to the righteous path, they simultaneously strengthen their own faith and grow spiritually. According to the Creator's plan, this is the very object of the family. To teach others we have to learn first, and by saving others we save ourselves. When parents, realizing their ineptness and weakness in the task of bringing up their children, turn to God for guidance and help, God truly assists them, and family life flows safely under the shelter of the Almighty.
In this pamphlet we will discuss the aim of a Christian upbringing and its main components. We will explain the importance of the family, of the church and of parochial school, and we will discuss some difficulties and errors in bringing up children.
Any upbringing, either within the family or the school, can only pursue temporary aims related to the needs of the family and society when divorced from religion. For instance, the aim of education in totalitarian countries is to make a person an obedient instrument of the government. In contemporary public schools in the USA and many other countries, the object of education is not a person's highest welfare or his spiritual integrity, but the material needs of the government and community. An Orthodox religious upbringing, on the other hand, is concerned with the moral development of the soul and is guided by eternal spiritual principles. Here the content does not change with political trends or new sociological ideas but is founded on Divine revelation. Parents should direct their child not according to fashion or society's needs but according to the Word of God.
Since our nature is two-fold, consisting of body and soul, every child needs not only physical but also spiritual nurturing. If the parents only nurture the child physically, while neglecting him spiritually, he will grow up a "child of nature" and a slave of carnal desires. St. John Chrysostom says the following about this: "To educate the hearts of children in goodness and virtuousness is the sacred duty of parents. The violation of this duty makes them guilty of spiritual infanticide ... There are parents who spare no efforts to make their children happy and wealthy; but for their children to be good Christians - for such matters the parents have little need. This is a terrible shortsightedness! This is the very reason for the problems from which society groans ... If the fathers strove to give their children a good upbringing, there would be no need for laws, or courts, or punishments. Prisons and executioners are necessary due to the lack of morality." The Gospel teaches that the principal thing in a man's life is the proper state of his heart. One should understand "heart" as the center of one's spiritual life, wherein all the feelings and desires are concentrated. Here is the location of the origin of a person's behavior and moral attitude. If, according to the Savior's words(Matt. 15:19), then it should become evident that the main task of rearing a child is to give a proper direction to his heart. Because temptations are unavoidable, it is important to educate a child to distinguish unambiguously between right and wrong, to choose virtue and to despise immorality. Parents should nurture in their child a deep love of God from a very early age, before he loses his sensitivity and receptiveness. here are differing opinions regarding the best age to begin the spiritual upbringing of a child. Some parents think that in the first several years a child needs only external care, and consider him like some amusing kitten, unreceptive to spiritual influence. Such an opinion contradicts Christian teaching and experimental evidence. Psychology has established that a child is receptive to many external influences right after his birth. A certain scholar compared the subconscious process of a child to that of a movie strip, which records all perceptions non-stop. A child may as yet lie in the crib, but his soul already amasses impressions, picks up sounds, follows movements around him with his eyes, discerns voice intonations and even the mood of his parents. From all these non-stop impressions the child's personality is formed, and after they sink into his subconscious, they cannot be blotted out by any means.
The absence of a religious upbringing unfailingly manifests itself in a person's character - a sort of fissure can be perceived in his spiritual makeup. A child is extraordinarily receptive to religious impressions. He is instinctively drawn toward everything that opens up the beauty and meaning of life. Take this away from him and his soul will become dulled and he will feel lonely in an unfriendly and cruel world. Something similar happens with the physical appearance of a child. If he lives in dismal, damp surroundings, he will grow underdeveloped, ailing and without joy. In both cases of malady, physical or spiritual, the fault lies with the parents. On the other hand, when we consider prominent and successful people, people of great integrity and energy, we see that the majority of them came from large, hard-working families, brought up in religious traditions.
Since our nature is two-fold, consisting of body and soul, every child needs not only physical but also spiritual nurturing. If the parents only nurture the child physically, while neglecting him spiritually, he will grow up a "child of nature" and a slave of carnal desires. St. John Chrysostom says the following about this: "To educate the hearts of children in goodness and virtuousness is the sacred duty of parents. The violation of this duty makes them guilty of spiritual infanticide ... There are parents who spare no efforts to make their children happy and wealthy; but for their children to be good Christians - for such matters the parents have little need. This is a terrible shortsightedness! This is the very reason for the problems from which society groans ... If the fathers strove to give their children a good upbringing, there would be no need for laws, or courts, or punishments. Prisons and executioners are necessary due to the lack of morality."