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Things I've Learned About Parenting
© 1997 by Kevin Swanson

One of the most dangerous things to write about is parenting, especially when you start getting down into practical issues, but I've learned some basic rules that I thought might be worth mentioning

One of the most dangerous things to write about is parenting, especially when you start getting down into practical issues. It is even more dangerous to write about parenting before your kids are all sucessfully grown up. But, I've learned some basic rules that I thought might be worth mentioning.

The first thing I've learned is that God gave us ten rules. This principle, I think is an important one. When we set out to become the best parents on the block (about 6 years ago), we began legislating rules right and left. I'd come up with rules off the cuff, without much thought, and usually forgot what the rules were. Before long, I realized that I was turning into a little tyrant with all my arbitrary rules. Tyrannies are best marked by the size of their lawbooks. The laws tend to be contradictory, needlessly restrictive, and inconsistently applied. God gave us ten basic laws. He boiled it down to a form that most people can memorize. So I figured that I should try to boil my rules down to ten.

The second thing I've learned about parenting is that God wrote his rules down. So I judge from this that rules tend to stick better when they are written down. I wrote my ten rules down on paper. In fact, when I first published Daddy's Ten Rules and signed them (to distinguish mine from the counterfeits running around), I had to modify one of my rules a week later. That's one of the reasons why I don't write mine on stone. The rules are basic, which means the applications could be plentiful. But the point is that they are easy to understand and memorize. Here are three of our rules:

Obey Daddy and Mommy
Don't Lie
Don't Complain

The third thing I've learned about parenting is that God's rules aren't made to be broken. God takes His rules seriously and that goes for all of His children. So I figured that I should enforce my rules as consistently as possible. Enforcing the rules is the toughest part. For example, how to determine the difference between wilful disobedience and forgetfulness is not always easy. How to discern when a child is lying, complaining, etc. can be similarly difficult.

The fourth thing I've learned about parenting is that "Some sins are more heinous in the sight of God than others." So it is with children. We must be able to distinguish between major and minor infractions and punish accordingly. The more obvious the infraction, the more serious the infraction, and the more pronounced the rebellion, the more certain the punishment.

With children, we should be clear on the rules, cognizant to the severity of the infractions, alert to the infractions, and consistent with the discipline. That's ideal. Get back with me in 15 years and I'll tell you how it went.

Reprinted from Mayflower Chronicles, October 1997

Last updated: 12 April 2006
Updated by: Matt Bynum