Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 12:28
Charlyne and I know there is much going on in your life right now over which you have no control. There seems to be no solution to your marriage concerns, apart from praying and following the leading of the Holy Spirit. There is one area of your life over which you not only have control, but are commanded by God to be in control. That is in child rearing.
Dr. James Dobson and many other experts on raising children God’s way have told us for years that our kids need boundaries. Until they become adults, they need to have the structure of knowing the limits, on both sides of the road.
He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. Proverbs 14:26
Charlyne and I were not perfect parents. Following my exit from our home, Charlyne began to see problem areas in all three of our children. Were these corrected when I came to my senses and returned home? In truth, I returned home to a wife and mother who had her children under control.
Our home is situated between an elementary and a middle school. Each afternoon, we see scores of children and youth pass by. It would be easy to pass off their foul language, sloppy appearance, and antics, as signs of the time, but this is not true. Look carefully and you can also see polite, neat kids come down our street.
Your children’s likelihood at success in school, as well as in life, is already being threatened by your prodigal spouse. You will be doing your children a grave injustice if you become so wrapped up in standing for marriage restoration that you allow their behavior, their manners, and their appearance, to decline because you are a “single parent” and can do nothing about it.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 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. Deuteronomy 6:5-7
When I was away in the far country, Charlyne played, “Who’s in charge here?” with our children more than once, and she won every time! Yes, kids will push a parent who is alone, but nevertheless, they leave those moments of intense fellowship knowing they have the love of that one parent, who has established, and is willing to enforce, boundaries.
Where do you, as a stander, start in your quest to raise kids God’s way, even after your spouse leaves? The foremost place has to be in the prayer closet. You must understand that even though you might be an abandoned spouse, that you are not a “single parent;” you have our Lord God as your spouse for this season.
The starting point for your kids has to be truthfulness. If you catch a child in a blatant lie, are there consequences, or do you pass it off as, “Oh well, they are having a hard time with our divorce.” Yes they are, but your assignment as a Christian parent is to make their “hard time” a bit easier by providing boundaries. You must start today teaching your children there are consequences for bad behavior, and that starts with not telling lies.
Your behavior needs to be the example for your children. If you rant and rave to an absent spouse, and tell half-truths, expect no more from your children. If you are always truthful, regardless of the consequences, expect your kids to follow.
How can a young person who does not respect a parent ever learn to have respect for teachers, future employers, or any authority? Life can be a tough road for a disrespectful child. The lessons you can teach your kids while growing up, about respect, honesty, and human decency, can put them ahead for a lifetime.
We are not experts on parenting, but there is help available for you. The Christian bookstores are filled with material on Christian parenting. There is more available online than any of us can read. You may need to seek help from your pastor, or from a youth pastor at church. Above all else, be careful that whatever source of help you turn to exalts Jesus in all things.
There is much that you need to be asking God alone, such as how much to tell an absent parent. God, and not any person, has the correct answer for your every question. He created your children, and only He knows exactly what makes them tick.
The changes may not come all at once, just as with marriage restoration, but if you can start today to put the brakes on the runaway freight train called disobedience that is tearing through your home, God will be honored, and you and your children’s lives will be richer. The enemy has attempted to steal your marriage. Do not allow the evil one to take your children also.
Raising kids God’s way while alone is the other side of standing. Charlyne and I pray that you will allow Him to help you to do it.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3
Because He lives,