Christian Parenting: Using Core Christian Values to Teach Tolerance to Kids

Christian parenting ...

... means raising children with strong family values. While it is essential to pass on values, it is important to remember that we live in an increasingly shrinking world. Today, more than ever, we need to teach children tolerance for people of cultures and creeds that are different from their own. This article explores three core tenets that parents can teach their children which will help them act from their beliefs no matter who they are with and treat others with respect and kindness.

Before I dispense this Christian parenting advice, I ask you to consider a few important points. First, you are the greatest influence in your child's life. How you treat your child is how your child will treat others. This means how you treat your child when he has made a mistake, behaved inappropriately or been unkind is how he will treat others when their shortcomings have been revealed. If you tend to blame, shame or punish your child, he will be as harsh and judgmental of others as you are with him.

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The second point is really an iteration of the first. Remember that we teach a value like respect, not by demanding it, not by talking about it (or ranting or raving about it), but by modeling it. As you teach your children the three core values I've listed below, make sure you are practicing these values yourself.

That said, there is a difference between teaching a child values and dealing with a kid who refuses to follow them. If you have a child who is constantly defiant, oppositional, mean-spirited or disrespectful, then the best course of action is to put a stop to it immediately with a behavioral program that will turn your child around. This is crucial because chronic defiance does not cure itself, in fact, it only worsens as your child grows older. If you don't deal with this now, you will be forced to deal with it lately, quite possibly when your child is bigger and stronger than you.

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  • No family code is complete without the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Although most people believe this comes from the New Testament, it is actually a universal spiritual principle that is found in diverse religions from Islam to Buddhism, from Native American practices to Sikhism. The central idea is this: treat others the way you want to be treated. Before you react to someone else's behavior, ask yourself how you would want to be treated in the same situation, then respond in this way. Teach your children the Golden Rule by practicing it in all your parent-child interactions.

  • Christian parenting requires that you remember that your son or daughter is a child of God, so treat him or her accordingly. When a child grows up to believe that he is a child of God, he knows that others are also God's children. This means that we are all related and what we do to others, we do to ourselves. Like the first, this concept is central to most spiritual traditions.

  • The third core value of Christian parenting is forgiveness. To clarify this, here is a quotation directly from the Bible: "And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." Take my advice and note that this bit of wisdom applies first and foremost to parents. Be kind to your children and they will be kind to you and others.

    Teach your children that we are here to learn. Like children, adults are learning too. When you finding yourself overreacting or being harsh, stop yourself, apologize for your behavior and ask your children for their forgiveness. Remember: we teach forgiveness by giving it and by asking for it when our inhumanity has been revealed.

  • Show your children how to give. The power of tithing, of showing appreciation for what is given to you or sharing your wealth with those who are less fortunate is immeasurable and leads to the development of a conscious, caring and compassionate human being.

Christian parenting requires practicing these core values, so you can pass them on to your children and they can pass them on to theirs. Since these beliefs are universal to most religions, you will also be giving your child a way to meet others on common ground.

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About the author:
Laura Ramirez is the author of Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting . This award-winning book is the only parenting book that combines ancient native ideas (like stewardship) with heart-centered psychology to show parents how to raise children to develop their natural strengths unfold their spiritual nature. This book will open your heart and mind and turn parenting into a spiritual practice.

Laura teaches a parenting class that is starting soon. Since it's a teleseminar (conducted via telephone), you can take it from the comfort of your home. Click on the link for a schedule and a preview of all that you will learn.

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