The Intelligent Person

The Life Foundations Nexus






Copyright February 14, 2005 1:41 AM CST

By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti


Updated September 3, 2009 5:32 PM CST

Copyright September 3, 2009 5:32 PM CST

By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti






One of the most important things to do in raising your children is to be sure that they come to know God’s message of salvation (see How To Get To Heaven).




Provide your children adequate food, drinking water, clothing, and shelter.




Take care of your children’s health.  See the Child’s Healthy Lifestyle.




The most important part of moral instruction is for you to be A GOOD PERSON.  In other words, SET AN EXAMPLE, LIVE A DECENT LIFE.  The example you set accounts for 75% of your children’s moral instruction.  What you do counts ten times more than what you say.


Begin moral instruction within one month after your children are born.  Speak to your children in a gentle tone of voice.  Speak to your children in simple words.  Moral instruction for a baby consists of saying, “Mommy and Daddy love you.”  Love is the essence of ALL moral instruction.


Most moral instruction in families is learned “ad hoc.”  “Ad hoc” means “when the occasion calls for it.”  In other words, your children do something wrong for the first time then you respond with a warning against their behavior.  However, proactive moral instruction will save you a lot of grief.  Proactive moral instruction is MORAL INSTRUCTION GIVEN BEFORE YOUR CHILDREN DO SOMETHING WRONG.


Moral instruction will have greater impact if it is linked to the knowledge of God.  Therefore, use the WORDS of the Bible when you provide proactive moral instruction.


Babies and little children learn more from our attitudes than from our words.  Attitude is your facial expression, tone of voice, and body language.  Older children learn equally from our attitudes and words.




When your children do something wrong, correct them.  How strong your correction is depends on two things:  their level of understanding, which generally corresponds to how old they are, and how bad their behavior was.  A one-year-old does not have the understanding of a five-year-old.  Therefore, you do NOT spank a one-year-old.  A five-year-old who steals a cookie gets a warning, NOT a spanking.  A five-year-old who steals a cookie three times gets a mild pat on the “seat of learning.”  Note:  we said a MILD pat.  “MILD” means “the same force you would use when patting someone on the head.”  At five, your children are more sensitive to the MEANING of the pat than older children.  Their emotions will provide the real chastisement.


 A ten-year-old who curses a parent for the first time gets a strong warning.  A ten-year-old who curses a parent a second time gets a spanking (on the “seat of learning”).  The second offense calls for a MODERATELY STRONG spanking.  “MODERATELY STRONG” means “five swats starting one foot from the ‘seat of learning.’”  A ten-year-old who curses a parent more than twice gets a STRONG spanking (on the “seat of learning”).  “STRONG” means “five swats starting three feet from the ‘seat of learning.’”


NEVER SPANK YOUR CHILDREN’S BARE BOTTOMS.  Your children should always be FULLY CLOTHED before they are spanked.  NEVER spank your children with a belt or any other physical object.  ALWAYS use your hand.  This accomplishes three things:  (1) you will have a better idea of how much force you are applying, which will help to keep you from using too much force, (2) your hand communicates the idea of your personal involvement in the chastisement process better than a belt would (your children need to know that YOU are HURT by their chastisement, as well), and (3) you will be less likely to cause severe bruises.  Severe bruises could be interpreted as child abuse.  NEVER “spank” your children on the face.  NEVER spank your children in public.  Doing so causes your children unwarranted humiliation.  In addition, in some countries, your spanking might be viewed as “child abuse” by some foolish bystander(s).  If your children commit offenses in public, whisper in their ears (never say this out loud), “You will get a spanking when we get home.”  NEVER FAIL TO GIVE THE SPANKING WHEN YOU GET HOME.


As with offenses committed by anyone, there is a place for mercy.  However, your children must be old enough to understand what mercy is.  When do you show mercy?  You show mercy when your children show that they are remorseful for what they have done.  “Remorseful” means “sorry for having done something wrong.”




An out-of-control child is one who is acting wildly, thrashing about, kicking, yelling, and screaming.  This type of behavior can be a temper tantrum or it can indicate a serious problem.  Serious problems can be “typical” or “atypical.”  A typical problem could be a physical, possibly medical, condition.  Possibly, your child is choking on something they have swallowed.  An atypical problem could be a traumatic experience, such as someone being hit by a car before your child’s eyes.  Do NOT assume that an out-of-control child is a disobedient child.  However, if you establish that your child is being disobedient, treat it like any other disobedience.  IF YOUR CHILD IS OUT OF CONTROL IN PUBLIC, YOUR FIRST RESPONSIBILITY IS TO STOP YOUR CHILD’S BEHAVIOR.  YOU DO NOT DO THIS BY SPANKING, HITTING, OR SLAPPING YOUR CHILD OR SCREAMING AND YELLING AT YOUR CHILD.  INSTEAD, YOU GRAB AND EMBRACE YOUR CHILD; THUS, PREVENTING ANY NEGATIVE IMPACT THEY MIGHT HAVE ON OTHER PEOPLE’S PERSONS AND PROPERTY.  YOU DO THIS EVEN IF IT MEANS YOU GET BEAT UP IN THE PROCESS BECAUSE OF YOUR CHILD’S KICKING AND FLAILING.  If your child does not calm down within five minutes, this is a good indication of a physical, possibly medical, problem.




There is a difference between moral instruction and spiritual instruction.  Moral instruction deals with “right and wrong.”  Spiritual instruction deals with “the crucial unseen realities of our existence.”  Of course, above all else, that means the knowledge of God.  Spiritual instruction will have greater impact if it is linked to the WORDS of God.  Therefore, use the WORDS of the Bible when you provide spiritual instruction.


Take your children to church.  This will strengthen both the moral and the spiritual beliefs that you are trying to instill in them.  DON’T ASSUME that everyone at church is the most decent person in the world.  YOU MUST BE ON GUARD AT CHURCH JUST LIKE YOU WOULD ANYWHERE ELSE.  Know the people at church.




Teach your children to be orderly in everything that they do.  THIS SIMPLE PRINCIPLE WILL PUT YOUR CHILDREN ON AN ADVANCED PATH COMPARED TO CHILDREN WHO ARE NOT TAUGHT TO BE ORDERLY.  They will do better in school than other children.  As adults, they will be more successful at their jobs and in their professions than adults who were not trained to be orderly as children.




Expose your children to ALL of the good things in life.  IT IS NOT ENOUGH THAT YOU TAKE THEM TO CHURCH.


Be sure their school is a good place.  Know their school inside and out.  Meet the principal, the teachers, school volunteers and anyone else who is involved with their school.  Don’t assume that their school, their principal, and their teachers are going to look out for your children’s best interests.  Your evident, great concern for the welfare of your children will also influence school personnel to be more diligent in treating your children the way they should be treated.  There is nothing that strikes more terror in the heart of a teacher than the possibility of an enraged parent.


Get your children involved in sports.  This can be through their school and/or through community organizations.  Take your children to the library and the bookstore.  Take them to the store.  Take them to good movies.  Take them to good eating establishments.  Take them to good amusement parks.  Take them on vacations to visit good places, including places of historical interest.




Teach your children to love the land of their birth.  If you are an American, teach them to love America.  If you are a Canadian, teach them to love Canada.  Whatever country you are from, teach them to love their country.  If your country is not the greatest country in the world, your children can worry about that WHEN THEY BECOME ADULTS.  Do not saddle your children with adult problems.  They have enough to deal with just growing up to become adults.




Give your children the best education you can give them.  If you live somewhere where the educational system is not the greatest, MAKE UP FOR IT BY TEACHING THEM AT HOME.  If there is no educational system where you live, TEACH THEM AT HOME.  Above all else, teach them to read, to write, and to do arithmetic (expanding it to include fractions, decimals, and percentages).  These are the foundations of later learning and knowledge.




Be consistent in the way you raise your children.  This is so important that it would be better to CONSISTENTLY raise your children in a merely adequate way than to INCONSISTENTLY raise them in the best way.