How To Teach Your Children Instead of Just Telling Them No

Raising and teaching your children is no easy feat.

Ask any parent.

It isn’t for the weak of heart.


I was recently asked a very good question by a girlfriend who was single, no children, but genuinely wanted to know how we taught Madi and Sean. What tools did we use? What kinds of words did we speak to them so not to harm their spirit but to lift them up even in correction?

Great question.

In all honesty, Dan and I don’t really follow a set “parenting style.”

Sure, we have read plenty of parenting books and listened to many speakers who are “experts” in parenting and child rearing.  We have sought wisdom from our parent as well as those in the church who have reared their children into Godly adults.

But our real source of instruction comes from God’s word.

And that means that Dan and I have to know His word.  That means we have to parent ourselves.

This past weekend, Madi was signing a song while coloring. She had heard it from Yo Gabba Gabba.

“No Cuts, No buts, no coconuts.”

Dan and I didn’t hear her correctly, so we asked her to repeat what she said.

Tears started to form. She thought she was in trouble.  My heart broke because I never want my child to be afraid to repeat something she has said or done because she fears we might get mad at her.  I want her to understand and know that discipline, although it can be painful, is good for her because it helps her grow.

We explained to her that the song she sang, while not horrible (there are far worse songs in my opinion) was not very kind.  Or it could make someone feel bad.  We also talked together about how it might be best to not watch certain shows as it can fill our minds with things that are not good to have inside.  Not all shows we watch are uplifting.  (I am looking at Dan while saying this. Haha! There are a few shows we could definitely cut out!)

And then we took her back to God’s word. That we should not follow what the world does, but follow the Spirit. That we should focus on what is good, holy, pure, lovely, worthy of praise. And that seemed to help her.  She understood that we weren’t mad, but that certain language does not glorify God.  We hugged and moved on.

We didn’t just tell her No. That she couldn’t watch Yo Gabba Gabba because we said so. We do our best to take her back to the source. To the One who loves us the most and knows what is good for us.  It is far too easy to just tell kids no.  Teach them why and how.

I know that while they are little, these issues can be a tad easier to tackle than say when they are 16 and think they know everything.  That is why it is so important to really invest in your children while they are young. They watch you, you know.  They see if you are reading your Bible. They see if you pray, not just before meals, but on a regular basis.  They hear the words you say.

They deserve your time and instruction.  And take them back to His Word.

In His Grace,



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