What do developmental stages have to do with Christian parenting? If our goal is to raise children who are blazing hot Christians, we need to understand what to expect at different ages in order to optimize our teaching.
None of us chooses to be lukewarm for Christ. “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,I will vomit you out of My mouth.” Revelation 3:16 NKJV Lukewarm-ness sneaks up on us. It’s an act of omission.
To raise children who are sold out to Christ, loving him above all else, we must be intentional in our parenting. Hence the term—blazing hot Christian parenting. For that reason, we need to understand developmental stages and practice parenting that fits those stages.
Begin All Lessons Early-Earlier Than You Think You Should
Research about the learning and developmental stages of children and teens shows that the best way to teach children anything is to begin early. Then, as they grow older, we need to adapt our method of teaching to their way of learning.
Twelve-Year-Olds Know What’s Right
By ten or twelve, children know what is right and wrong. According to some theories of developmental stages, middle school is the age that children question what they have learned. (We didn’t need research to tell us that.)
A Timeline for Instruction
Therefore, if kids receive instruction through elementary school and then have about three years in which they question all they were taught, that leaves high school to put those lessons into practice. That is a major concept to understand from a parenting point of view. Think about it: Twelve years of instruction about all moral and behavioral issues, three years of questioning and comparing what they have learned to what peers tell them, and finally—a chance to try out what they’ve been taught while experiencing the consequences of poor choices.
What the Developmental Stages Timeline Teaches
- We need to put major effort into those first twelve years of instruction so we ingrain the lessons in our children before peer influence dominates.
- We must expect middle-schoolers to question these lessons. If we handle it correctly, the questioning will decrease in the teen years.
- We let our high schoolers experience the consequences of their choices—an internship. It is better for them to experience failure while still at home than when they are in college, a career, or a marriage.