Sometimes during moments of frustration I think "Why wasn't this kid born with an instruction manual?!" Thinking about that made me wonder, why didn't YHVH give us an instruction manual for raising our children?
I know that He cares about them before they are even born. David said he was "knit together in his mother's womb," and God told Jeremiah "Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came out of the womb I set you apart." The Bible frequently calls children a blessing.
YHVH gave us very specific instructions about many things that he deems important. What we eat, the day we rest, how to have peaceful homes, communities and relationships. YHVH's not vague about how He wants us to live.
Yet, there are very few verses specifically about parenting. The ones most often referred to are the "rod" verses, which are often used to justify spanking, but are in fact about authority and leadership. We are told to "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he turns not away from it." (Proverbs 22:6)
So, why didn't YHVH give us more specific instructions about raising, disciplining, and teaching our children? What is the "way he should go" and how are we to go about "training" them up?
I believe that YHVH didn't give separate instructions for raising children, because he had already given instructions for how we are to treat other people. YHVH clearly doesn't see children as a separate class of people that require different treatment from adults or He would have given us separate instructions. I believe that the verses that give instruction on how we are to treat others, include how we are to treat children.
The Bible repeatedly says to "love your neighbor as yourself."
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you." Mat 7:12
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1Th 5:11
"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else." 1Th 5:15
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Eph 4:29
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Yeshua forgave you." Eph 4:32
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Eph 4:2
The only thing different about the way we are to treat our children is that we have a responsibility to lead them and protect them that we don't have to anyone else. In addition to all the verses about being patient, kind and gentle, we are told not to exasperate them (Ephesians 6:4).
I often need to remind myself that raising my children starts with working on my own heart, so I can show them Yeshua's love.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1Cr 13:4-7