The study investigates a child upbringing in the Christian home. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). Biblical discipline focuses on heart changes, not merely outward behavior changes. It includes consistent training, calm correction, biblical teaching, and clear communication. It also includes punishment, but only in the context of unconditional love. This study considers how parents should discipline their children in love. This article deals with raising children in an evangelical environment which assumes God’s presence, the reading and keeping of God’s Word, love between the parents, prayer, and worship of God. Clear goals for raising children are presented. This study offers valuable and lived examples of biblical discipline. It discusses the topic of discipline from childhood to the teen ages, trust, responsibility, communication and relationship with God. Finally, the study points out the importance of times of family worship. God’s plan for marriage and the family has not changed, only the human approach to this institution has changed. Therefore, it is vital to re-emphasize how important it is that the family functions according to biblical standards.
1.1 Background of the Study
Children are the heritage of the LORD” as clearly stated in (Psalm 127:3a). The Bible teaches Christian parents to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6) and specifically says to fathers: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4).
Having a Christian home and training children in a way that is pleasing to God, and seeing each child personally receive Jesus Christ and grow to love and serve Him, requires commitment and diligence, along with trust and dependence on the Lord by each parent. May we be strong in the Lord as we accept our God-given responsibility to have a Christian home and to train our children. Vigilant parents are concerned not only with the physical spaces their children inhabit, and media influence, but are also concerned with “existential spaces” and seeks therefore to understand the convictions, goals, desires and dreams of their children. Good parenting involves vigilance, not obsession says Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation The Joy of Love. Highlighting the role that parents play in the moral development of their children, he states that parents “should take up this essential role and carry it out consciously, enthusiastically, reasonably and appropriately” (AL, 259). Parents need to be concerned with those influences to which their children are exposed. Moral education can lead children to grow in maturity and discipline so they are able to “act intelligently and prudently whenever they meet difficulties” (AL, 261). Vigilance always seeks to develop processes that strengthen and prepare children for challenges when they are apart from parents.
“The family is the first school of human values, where we learn the wise use of freedom…It is where we first learn to relate to others, to listen to share, to be patient and show respect, to help one another and live as one” (AL, 274, 276). The heart is the wellspring of life, according to Proverbs 4:23. The behavior a person exhibits is an outward expression of what is happening in the heart. Luke 6:45 tells us good and evil come from what is stored in our hearts, and our mouth speaks what our heart overflows. Current child psychology focuses on teaching our children to behave through external pressures. This includes methods like “behavior modification.” Instead of following pop psychology, Christians need to discipline based on biblical methods. This means we must get to the heart issues of behavior.
The raising of children takes place in the family, the church and in schools, but what happens in the family is primary and most important. God created humans in his image. A child is a person in a small size. Therefore, a child also needs to reflect God’s image. Since children are not mature, parents need to train and raise them in the way that will enable their development into a person after God’s character. When we got married, my husband and I asked the Lord to give us children, but with a special clause in that prayer. Although we wanted children very much, we boldly asked God not to give us children if they were to belong to the devil. We did not want to bear children to the devil (cf. Jn 8:39-45). We prayed that if God wanted to give us children, that he would make sure they would be saved and serve him. Now we have children who love God. We believe that in his grace God foreknew their futures and knew of our determination to raise them for his glory. Our goal is to train our children to come into the fullness of maturity in Christ for the glory of God, the Father, to escape the deeds of the flesh (which are many), and to abound in the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:16-25).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Raising children to develop a sincere and personal faith in Jesus Christ is the need of the hour. Raising children with good morals and characters is about building moral and ethical character and increasing self-esteem and self-confidence in children and families. It is about empowerment and responsibility. Children are not born with the skills for active involvement in a democratic society. We, as adult citizens, must carefully consider what we and others do to convey healthy values that support and preserve our precious democracy. There is a window of opportunity for educating children and their parents when children are young. The children are willing learners, and often their parents are more interested in improving their parenting skills at this time than they are later in their children’s lives. Today, a great percentage of our children are living a life of disobedience to their parents, they are copying the patterns of this world with dexterity. Today, the lifestyle of these kids is such that it is very difficult to have a distinction between children raised in Christian homes and of those of the world. How can we change the perspective of our children who are easily lured and enticed by bad habits from the world? This research is vital because it aims at making an analysis of the child upbringing in the Christian home, enlightening them and warning the world of the dangers ahead.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The primary objective of this study is to examine child upbringing in the Christian home. The specific objectives are:
- To uncover the root cause(s) of moral degradation and eroding of our Christian values among the Godly child.
- To discover the effects of raising Godly children in an ungodly society.
- To establish what the Bible says about Godly children upbringing.
- To proffer solutions and admonish Godly youths to return to Christian values.
1.4 Significance of the study
This study will unveil the root cause, the effect and the appropriate way of solving the negative attitudes of our children so that the society, parents and the church will benefit from the research findings. This research is very significant because children are the future of every society including the Church. Many, if not all church denominations in Nigeria have been affected by the bad images projected by stubborn children in the society. The findings of this research work will immensely assist parent, pastors, and the church in discovering the vital roles their children plays in the life of a Church as they are the leaders of tomorrow and future of every church. From this research, we will discover what a healthy church is like and how Godly children raised from Christian homes can draw the world to Christ. Finally, the findings of this study will serve as reference materials to scholars in this field of study.
1.5 Research Questions
The following determining research questions will serve as a guide to the process:
- Are there some implications of raising Godly children in an ungodly society?
- Do the Godly children add any moral values to the society?
- Can a God fearing child overcome these negative tendencies in the world?
- What are the roots causes of the moral degradation and eroding of our Christian values among Godly children?
- Does the parental upbringing of Godly children included in the church doctrine?
1.6 Research hypothesis
The following research hypothesis will guide the study;
H0: there are no implications for raising Godly children in an ungodly society.
H1: there are implications for raising Godly children in an ungodly society.
H0: A God fearing child cannot overcome bad influence from peer groups.
H2: A God fearing child can overcome bad influence from peer groups.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the study
This study examines child upbringing in the Christian home and its impact in the society at large. A research of this nature seems broad such that it cannot be exhausted in this research work. For this reason, the research shall focus on some selected Christian families from different churches in Nigeria. There were some constraints tending to interrupt the flow of this study such as;
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Members Reluctance: In most cases the members of the contacted respondents often feels reluctance over providing required information required by the researcher. This result in finding information where the structured questionnaires could not point out.
Inadequate Materials: Scarcity of material is also a major hindrance. The researcher finds it difficult to lay hands on several required material which could contribute immensely to the success of this research work.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Child: A child is a young human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of majority.
Teenager: Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood. Adolescence is usually associated with the teenage years, but its physical, psychological or cultural expressions may begin earlier and end later.
Upbringing: Parenting or child rearing is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parenting refers to the intricacies of raising a child and not exclusively for a biological relationship.
Parent: A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child. A biological parent is a person whose gamete resulted in a child, a male through the sperm, and a female through the ovum. Biological parents are first-degree relatives and have 50% genetic meet.
Parental care: Parental care is a behavioural and evolutionary strategy adopted by some animals, involving a parental investment being made to the evolutionary fitness of offspring.
Christian Home: A Christian home is simply defined as, not just a family where everyone is a Christian, but much more, a Christian-like home. That is the home run by the principles of Jesus, a home run according to demands of scriptures, which represent God’s mind, ways and styles. So, a Christian home is a home that is run the same way Christ would run His own home.