<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=838528320191540&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Latest Broadcast

Nurturing a Child's Prayer Life - Part 2

Guest: Dr. Jerry Kirk, Candy Marballi, Rick Schatz

Recent Broadcasts

Nurturing a Child's Prayer Life - Part 2

Guest: Dr. Jerry Kirk, Candy Marballi, Rick Schatz

Nurturing a Child's Prayer Life - Part 1

Guest: Dr. Jerry Kirk, Candy Marballi, Rick Schatz

The Flipside of Feminism - Part 2

Guest: Phyllis Schlafly and Suzanne Venker


June 26, 2024

6 Crucial Concepts for Your Child's Spiritual Development

It is my strong belief that a child should be exposed to a carefully conceived, systematic program of religious training. Yet we are much too haphazard about this matter. Perhaps we would hit the mark more often if we more clearly recognized the precise target.

A checklist for parents—a set of targets at which to aim—is included below. Many of the items require maturity which children lack, and we should not try to make adult Christians out of our immature youngsters. But we can gently nudge them toward these goals—these targets—during the impressionable years of childhood.

Essentially, the six scriptural concepts that follow provide the foundation on which all future doctrine and faith will rest. They comprise, in effect, the substance of the conscience. Christian parents can use these six concepts as broad guidelines in the nurturing of their children.

Concept 1: Love the Lord your God with all your heart (Mark 12:30)

• Is your child learning of the love of God through your own love, tenderness, and mercy as a parent? (Most important)
• Is your child learning to talk about the Lord, and to include Him in his/her thoughts and plans?
• Is your child learning to turn to Jesus for help whenever he/she is frightened or anxious or lonely?
• Is your child learning to read the Bible?
• Is your child learning to pray?
• Is your child learning the meaning of faith and trust?
• Is your child learning the joy of the Christian way of life?
• Is your child learning the beauty of Jesus' birth and death?

Concept 2: Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31)

• Is your child learning to understand and empathize with the feelings of others?
• Is your child learning not to be selfish and demanding?
• Is your child learning to share?
• Is your child learning how to be kind to others?
• Is your child learning to accept himself/herself?

Concept 3: Teach me to do your will, for you are my God (Ps. 143:10)

• Is your child learning to obey you as preparation for later obedience to God? (Most important)
• Is your child learning to behave properly in church—God's house?
• Is your child learning a healthy appreciation for both aspects of God's nature: love and justice?
• Is your child learning to cooperate with, and submit to, authorities outside of self: parents, teachers, policemen, etc.?
• Is your child learning the meaning of sin and its inevitable consequences?

Concept 4: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man (Eccles. 12:13)

• Is your child learning to be truthful and honest?
• Is your child learning to keep the Sabbath day holy?
• Is your child learning the relative insignificance of materialism?
• Is your child learning the meaning of the Christian family, and the faithfulness to it which God intends?

Concept 5: But the fruit of the Spirit is...self-control (Gal. 5:22,23)

• Is your child learning to give a portion of his/her allowance (and other money) to God?
• Is your child learning to control his/her impulses?
• Is your child learning to work and carry responsibility?
• Is your child learning to tolerate minor frustration?
• Is your child learning to memorize and quote Scripture?

Concept 6: He who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 14:11)

• Is your child learning a sense of appreciation?
• Is your child learning to thank God for the good things in his/her life?
• Is your child learning to forgive and forget?
• Is your child learning the vast difference between self-worth and egotistical pride?
• Is your child learning to bow reverently before the God of the universe?

In conclusion, your child's first seven years should prepare him/her to say at the age of accountability, "Here am I, Lord, send me!" A properly informed conscience is the key to that preparation. 

Download a PDF of this list


From Dr. James Dobson's Emotions: Can You Trust Them?

Related Articles

  See More Articles

May 16, 2024

Faithful Parents and Rebellious Children

Question: Dr. Dobson, you have said that the children of godly parents sometimes go into ...

January 23, 2024

Teaching Children About Jesus and Faith

Question: Dr. Dobson, I have heard you say that the most important responsibility for ...

March 04, 2024

Managing Your Hyperactive Child

Question: Dr. Dobson, how is a hyperactive child to be managed? Answer: Let me share a ...