The following guidelines are called the “super Ts” and are the foundation of any good parenting, whether the parent is single or not. They are a basic guide for all parents on how to build relationship and bring up a happy and healthy child. (It should be apparent that for many of these tasks, the single parent will need the help of other adults. No one person can accomplish all these alone.)
Kids spell love T-1-M-E. There is no substitute for every hour, minute, and second of quality time fathers and mothers spend with their children. Kids need heavy doses of you every day if possible.
A hug and kiss, holding hands, brushing hair, wrestling, high fives, even cuddling on the couch-most child experts agree kids need at least eleven touches a day. Christian child psychiatrist Grace Ketterman once told me she believes children need at least one hundred loving touches a day!
Find the interests you and your child share, and talk! Or ask your child about his or her day. Remember, communication is more nonverbal than verbal, so be careful of all the different ways you "speak" to your child.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (NIV). Parents' morals fill the little hands and hearts of their children. Therefore, ground your child in the truth of God's Word.
Tenderness is to love unconditionally, and it is having a soft hand of discipline-even when children irritate, argue, or disappoint. It is the same message Jesus shouts to us-in any condition of sin or grace, we are worth everything to Him!
Also learn the way your child gives and receives love and overdose him or her with that love! According to Christian child psychologist Fran Stott, "Every child needs at least one person who's crazy about him."
Whether present or absent, a parent is always teaching something to his or her child. Your child learned something from you today, guaranteed. Don't miss a moment to teach your child important life lessons. And if one parent is absent, assure the child that he or she deserves two parents-even though one might not be around.
Today kids need structure and stability more than ever, for their lives are more erratic, confusing, and rapidly changing than for any generation in history! Parents, be a reference point, an anchor that holds firmly against powerful countercurrents.
The hardest part of parenting is staying persistent. Your investment now is what your child has to "bank" on as he or she grows into a compassionate, competent adult. The truth is children grow up way too soon. Never quit being the parent your child needs.
The most beautiful part of God's love for us is in what Scripture calls the "blessed hope"-an eternity with Him in heaven. Parents, fill your children's hearts with hope. Believe in them. Dream with them. Look expectantly to the future! Be big on praise, forgiveness, and grace-and be small on criticism. There is no better inheritance- no amount of money or privilege or worldly power- that can compare to a legacy of hope in a godly future.
"For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the LORD." So they worshiped the LORD there. 1 Samuel 1:27-28
Parenting is demanding and rewarding. Many people prepare and study for years to enter a chosen profession, but for parenting it's usually on-the-job training. The goal of parenting is to eventually let the children go.
For I have told [Eli] that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. 1 Samuel 3:13
Eli did not discipline his sons, even though they were priests under his supervision. These men were treating the sacrifices ofthe people with contempt (2:12-17) and were committing sexual sin with women of the tabernacle. Certainly Eli, as parent and as high priest, had the authority to deal with his sons but he chose not to do anything. Eventually, God stepped in. God gives parents authority over their children. Parents should use their authority wisely to guide their children away from sin.
Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, "I will be king"; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. (And his father [David] had not rebuked him at any time by saying, "Why have you done so?' He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after Absalom.) 1 Kings 1:5-6
One of David's apparent weaknesses was the inability to discipline his children. His failures as a father led to a number of failures and sins in his children. Parents always influence their children-for good and bad. There is no substitute for invested, caring, loving parents who discipline when necessary.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them. Psalm 103:17-18
One of the great promises of the Bible is that the mercy of the Lord continues from one generation to the next, even to our children's children. This does not mean that the children of believers will automatically believe in God, but that God's mercy and goodness are available to each generation that follows the good example set by the previous generation.
Parents must set the right example for their children, including serving the poor and the needy, as James directs. They must learn not to live only for themselves, to realize they are setting a precedent that will affect generations to come.
But you [Timothy] must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:14-15
Timothy had been learning the Holy Scriptures from childhood. Young children can learn the great truths from stories found in the Bible that show God's love and power, and Christian parents have the God-given responsibility to raise their children to know and love God and His Word. The teaching given to young children will be embedded in their minds, giving them a strong foundation on which to build. This training is able to make them "wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."