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3 Vital Concepts a Child Needs to Learn Before Five

Author : Tom Graneau

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Good parenting is an extremely important and complex responsibility. It is possibly the most serious and difficult undertaking that any human being will encounter in life. Past infancy or the baby stage, most people have no idea how to handle the challenge. Many with the best intentions have looked back over their child-rearing years and wished they had done things differently.

If you have or planning to have children, there are three fundamental concepts that you need to convey to them between the ages of one and five. They are: “You are unique, I love you, and you need to obey me.” These will not be the extent of your parental duties, but they will form a solid foundation on which to formulate the rest of your parenting philosophy.

Three basic parenting principles for every child

  • You are unique. Each child is indeed unique. In other words, there are no two individuals on earth among 7 billion people who are the same. Apart from the external conditions of birth such as race, religion, geography, wealth, poverty, etc. that set us apart, our biological makeup uniquely carve us into distinctive individuals. The genetic combination of two people, regardless of race or ethnicity, that come together to form a child is truly one-of-a-kind. Even when the same parents have more than one child, the arrangement of internal elements in each child emerge uniquely different, hence the diversity in sex, hair color, facial composition, and more. Everything is divinely ordained, even under the most adverse circumstances. Part of your role as a parent is to appreciate the difference in your child, but more importantly, convey the significance of this uniqueness to him or her in a healthy positive way. For example: “You are a special person. There is no one in the entire world that is exactly like you. This means that you’re uniquely created by God to be the person that you are.”
  • I love you. A child needs to be regularly told that he or she is deeply loved. Pass the nursing and cuddling stages, you need to purposefully express the following message to him or her with genuine affection: “I love you more than you know. You are precious to me, and your (father/mother), and I thank God for bringing you into our lives.” Granted, your specific language may be different, but the message needs to be the same: “I love you very much.”
  • You need to obey me. The concept of obedience underscores the need for protection. “Because I cherish you more than anything in the world, I must teach you to obey me. This is the only way I can protect you from things that are harmful to you.” The Bible says it this way: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). There are several benefits that follow this principle: Respect, safety, and family harmony. The Bible further expresses the idea in the following fashion: “Honor your father and mother…that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2-3). As you notice, God promises long life and wellness, but only to those who obey the rule.

As indicated earlier, the task of raising children is enormous. It is an emotional process of learning and doing that requires great sacrifices. During the developmental stages of your child, you will experience joy, happiness, sadness, disappointments, frustration, and other emotions. The best way to approach the challenge is to visualize the process in small chunks, working with your most immediate circumstances and emphasizing critical elements that promote internal and external well-being in your child. The preceding concepts serve as a good example.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

While growing up, did your parents provide you an adequate assurance of love and protection? Do you believe that children need these things for emotional stability? Do you think that most children today lack these positive reinforcements in their lives, particularly from their parents?

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