What Does Your Child Need to Know?

Your child needs to know that he or she is unique.

Every child is special with individual gifts, talents and potential. There has never before been a human being quite like your child and there never will be again. Each person is an original creation, and therefore of priceless value. Make sure that your child knows this and make sure that he or she knows that this is how you view every other person too. This is important because it is only in this way that a child can begin to understand the significance of creation and the value of all God-given life.

Your child needs to know that he or she is loved permanently and unconditionally.

Your child needs to know this when they are good, bad, attractive, unattractive, clean, dirty, at home or away. Make sure that you tell your child how precious they are to you and how much you love them. Try to create an atmosphere of love in your home which is unconditional and which includes everyone you share your lives with, including yourself. This means that even when your child or someone else does something wrong, lets you down or behaves badly' you can make it clear that you reject and dislike the behavior but not the person, not your child. This is important because it is only through the experience of unconditional love that a child can begin to understand God's love for us.

Your child needs to know that other people are also unique, valuable and lovable.

You have let your child know that he or she is unique and lovable and so are all other people regardless of race, creed, color, class or age. Here your influence is vital. Only parents can provide a sound foundation for young children to learn and experience freedom from prejudice. It is in the relationships you form, and the kind of family life that you create, that your child will learn your values and attitudes towards others. It is in this setting also that the foundations of a child's concept of loving acceptance and forgiveness are laid.

Your child needs to know that God is at the heart of creation.

As you tell your child about life, the world around you and your relationships, talk also about the influence of God, as you see it in all of these areas. Talk about how you see God, what you find easy about being a Christian and what is not so easy. If you are not a Christian yourself it is helpful to tell your child this and also talk about your commitment to your Christian partner. In this way your child learns about tolerance, understanding and commitment.

Your child needs to know the stories of the Gospels.

Talk or read about the life of Christ: the kind of person he was, the stories he told, the way he treated people. Explain that Jesus was the Son of God who came to show us how to live a life of love. Don't feel you have to offer a complete course of Bible study. Simply make your child familiar with the gospel stories and with Jesus Christ.

Your child needs to know how to communicate with other people.

Try to make sure that you create times in the day when you can talk to one another and listen to one another as a family. Whether your family consists of just you and your child or you are part of a larger group, make sure you give full attention to everyone. Mealtimes provide a good opportunity for communication. If that is not a daily custom in your home, try to share a morning cup of tea, coffee or a bedtime drink, when you can talk a little and share what is going on in your lives. If that doesn't work in your family try to find things you can do together which will give you an opportunity to share yourselves with each other. We need to plan such times; otherwise the days slip by and we find we really haven't communicated for ages.

Your child needs to know how to pray.

The only way we can learn to pray is by doing it. Make prayer a part of your everyday family life. It doesn't have to be a long drawn out affair. Nor do you need special books, special words, special positions or special facial expressions! Simply choose a few moments, perhaps your child's bedtime, and sit together thanking God for the day. Say that you are sorry to one another and to God for things that have gone wrong; remember anyone who may be sick or having a difficult time; and ask God's blessing on one another. If you don't pray together at present, don't worry. It's never too late to start introducing prayer into your family. Let your child know that you pray. There's no need to make a big fuss about it. Simply make it clear that you pray about any problems or difficulties that arise and that you thank God for his blessings. Think about going to Church regularly if you don't go often; perhaps try going during the week sometimes. Make sure though: that you don't start trying to force all your family to pray whether or not they wish to. That is one way of making sure that they never pray! By helping your child become familiar and comfortable with prayer, you will help him or her to begin to build a deep and very personal relationship with God. 


Our Patient Merciful God
The Bible and the Gospel speak of God's great mercy for us ...

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