I am writing this blog not as a trained psychologist but as a father of 21 years and a youth pastor that has worked with teenagers for more than two decades. Thru the years I have seen that there are certain thing that are non-negotiables in parenting. I must say I have not been perfect at all of these, but I have strived to live them out the very best I possibly can each and every day.

Here are the Ten Commandments of Parenting:

1) WALK WITH JESUS.

It is true that, "You teach what you know but you reproduce what you are". It is also true that, "If you want your children to walk with Jesus you must model what that walk looks like first". However, the real reason you need to walk with Jesus, is not so your kids will walk with him, the reason you need to walk with Jesus is because, you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Surrender to the grace of Jesus Christ and walk with him because you need what can only be found at the foot of His Cross....forgiveness. 

2) LOVE AND SERVE YOUR SPOUSE.

Your marriage is the foundation of your family. The more you love and serve your spouse the stronger your relationship with them will become. The stronger your relationship is, the more stability your family will experience. Note: If you are a single parent, my advice would be love and serve Jesus the very best you can. Let your relationship with Jesus become the foundation of your family. Be confidant in who you are and the role you play and if God should eventually bless you with a spouse...love and serve them sacrificially.  

3) DON'T SAY IT IF YOU DON'T MEAN IT.

The more you promise things and don't deliver the more you undermine your authority and the trust your children place in you.  Before you commit to a family trip, eating out, or purchasing something ... check your schedule, your finances or other commitments that you've made to make sure the words you are getting ready to speak will actually become a reality. 

4) INVESTIGATE BEFORE GIVING PERMISSION.

Your child comes home and asks to go see a movie. Before you give permission, ask a few questions. When is the movie? Where is the movie? Who all is going to the movie with you?  What is the movie about? What type of content is in the movie? Note: a great place to find details about the content of movies is http://www.pluggedin.com Whether it is going to a movie, the mall, or hanging with a friend, it is always better to find out the details before hand, rather than dealing with the issues afterword. 

5) REWARD GOOD BEHAVIOR - PUNISH BAD BEHAVIOR.

Too many times we live in the world of "either / or" when it comes to this subject.  Either we reward good behavior or we punish bad, but we rarely do both all that well.  As parents we need to move out of the world of "either / or" and move into the world of "both / and" when it comes to rewarding and punishing our children.  

6) SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD OVER YOUR CHILDREN.

James says that our words will guide where we go and what happens to us in life.  Because of this we need to speak the promises of God over our children. In doing so we will protect them from harm as well as propel them into the future Jesus died for them to experience.

7) STAY IN CONTROL.

When you lose control of your voice flexions you have lost control of the situation.  Scripture teaches us that "A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger". You are the authority figure, you don't have to yell to stay in control...turn away the bad attitudes and tension in your family by staying in control of your voice, even in trying situations.

8) PRAY WITH YOUR KIDS EVERYDAY.

Jesus once said "Up until know you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you shall receive that your joy may be full". If you want your children's life to be full of joy. You are going to have to ask God for it. If you ask, you will receive, so get into the habit of praying with your children everyday. 

9) MAKE MEMORIES.

All we have in life is right now...and our memories. Make as many memories with your kids as you possibly can. Play catch out in the front lawn. Go on "Daddy Dates" and "Donut Days". Sit on the couch and read to your toddler. Tuck your kids in every night and tell them a story. All your children have is right now and their memories...so fill their life up with great memories of time spent with you.

10) ENJOY TODAY BECAUSE TOMORROW COMES TOO QUICKLY.

My kids are 21, 18, 13 and 5.  I love each of them and we have a great relationship.  However, I would give any amount of money to be able to go back and play catch with my 10 year old son, or dance with my 3 year old daughter to "Butterfly Kisses". But I can't. Those days are gone and I can never get them back.  

This week make a pledge to yourself, to enjoy every moment of today with your children...because tomorrow is coming way to quickly.  

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