Are biblical principles still relevant, even to parents who face challenges raised by new technologies? Do we really, as some suggest, need to compose new values for a new age? The following parenting principles, distilled from four contemporary parenting books and held to the template of the Bible, would seem to tell a different tale.
- Teach your children respect for their purpose in life, for you, for others and for nature, thus cultivating their character. Respectful behavior means, among other things, that you don’t lie, cheat, steal, falsely accuse, bully or misuse others, etc., whether online or in person (Matthew 22:37–40; Exodus 20:1–17; Deuteronomy 6:6–7).
- Love your children, and make sure your love shows in your treatment of them, thus fostering their emotional development and reducing their fears. Love also implies discipline that doesn’t rely solely on punishment but also includes rewards when appropriate (Proverbs 3:12; Hebrews 11:6; Galatians 6:7).
- Help children learn how to solve problems wisely (Proverbs 18:13, 15, 17).
- Give children opportunities and places (both online and off) where they can interact with their peers, and help them learn to manage interpersonal conflicts (Matthew 18:15–16, 21–22).
- Teach children how to communicate effectively, beginning with your example (Proverbs 25:11; Proverbs 17:27; Colossians 3:8; James 1:19).
- Teach the importance of working and producing (Colossians 3:23–25; Ephesians 6:7–8; Proverbs 14:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; Ecclesiastes 9:10; 10:18).
- Teach that a reputation is worth protecting, both online and off. This includes teaching them about their worth as well as the value of sex and of their bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19–20; Proverbs 3:1–4; Proverbs 22:1; Proverbs 11:22).
- Teach them that there is a time for everything and that ensuring balance in their life is important for their physical and mental health and well-being (Ecclesiastes 3:1–8; Exodus 34:21).