Roles – Children
Good morning, Five Minute Families. It is great to be with you again this morning for our third devotion about the roles of family members. We discussed the leadership and managing roles of the parents, but what roles do the children of the family play?
First, let’s discuss what a child’s role is NOT. It would be unhealthy for a child’s mental and emotional growth for them to be placed in the role of parent on a constant basis, nor is it ok for a parent to confide in a child as they would their spouse or close friend.
Children are immature – physically and emotionally; they are inexperienced, rightfully so. Children need to be sheltered, fed, warmed, and loved. The most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world concerns children. Children have the right to survival – food, water, shelter; the right to development – education, religion, and rest; the right to protection – safety and identity; and the right of participation in society without abuse or isolation. We have a responsibility to meet their basic needs and rights in order for them to perform their roles properly.
When we asked our almost 9-year-old what he was expected to do in our family, he answered, “to do my school and listen to my mother and father.”
When we asked our 17-year-old, he answered, “to grow up, work hard, get a family, and then teach my kids to do the same thing.”
Our 9-year-old is correct about his role right now. Consider Proverbs 1:8 “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.” And, Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Hey, parents, note, that we are to be in the LORD!
And, our 17-year-old was correct, too, based on the changes he is facing in his very near future. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
No matter what stage of life our children are in, we are training children here. Children. We must let our children be children, not mini-adults. We are, of course, trying to work ourselves out of the full-time role of parenting, but before we do that, we must remember that our children are children, learning as children learn and growing as children grow.
The main role of a child is to be a CHILD. And, that manifests primarily for a younger child into those roles of learner and helper. As children get older, their roles shift. With increased maturity and experience, older kiddos’ capacity in the roles of part-time decision-makers, part-time caregivers, and part-time teachers increase. Remember, we are, of course, trying to work ourselves out of the full-time role of parenting, but it will not happen overnight, and our older children will still need guidance.
So, what responsibilities should we five-minute parents ensure our children have to fulfill their secondary roles of learner, helper, teacher, caregiver, and decision-maker in the family?
Children should have chores, and, yes, that means even in homes where one or both parents feel guilty about something and they are tempted to make up for it by catering to the children’s lack of desire to do a chore.
Children should be given care over something living – a plant, a pet, or a younger sibling, depending on your household circumstances.
Children should be helpers – let them help you cook, do a project, and more. They should be working ALONGSIDE you as often as possible.
Children should be active participants in family life. While chores, caring for something living, and helping out will also change with age, be extra mindful that active participation in family life for older and younger children will look very different depending on extracurricular, health, and financial needs.
And, last, children should be encouraged to share their opinions – respectfully, of course. By learning as children how to separate fact from opinion and share their opinions kindly and clearly, they will be better contributors to society both as children and as adults.
Family roles are important for the functioning and health of each of the family members. Remember Proverbs 29:17 – “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.” This discipline that Proverbs speaks of is not always referring to punishment and admonishment; it is also instruction and correction. If we parents embrace our roles in leading and managing, we equip our children for success in leading godly, productive lives.
Thank you for joining us this morning. Need a place to refresh your family, reconnect with God and learn about your family identity in Christ? If so, please check out our website at clearviewretreat.org. Be blessed!
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