Guide for Parents on Training Children Through Life

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 

Here the verb ‘train means to teach a child a particular skill or type of behavior through instruction over a period of time. Effective training takes place when it is used to help a child mature to the next stage of development.

Teaching a child involves all aspects of human life: spiritual, mental, and physical.  Children belong to God first, and secondly to parents.  What a privilege and responsibility God has given parents on earth.

When to Start Training 

Training should start as early as possible. In kindergarten, a child should learn the basics of responsibility and completing work on time. The skills developed will serve as foundational building blocks for children as they progress from one stage to the next. If training isn’t used effectively and strategically, children will have more challenges with maturing. Parents shouldn’t wait until children are older to have structured training, because every stage prepares the child for the next.

Life Training Stages

In general, training stages for children progress every three years, starting at birth until about 21 years of age. Each stage should follow a similar format where the child is introduced to the expectations, encouraged to practice them, and move toward mastering them to prepare for the next stage.

Below are the fundamental needs of a child for each stage. Followed by training tips that help to satisfy and encourage children as they mature:

Ages 0-3

Love, safety, and trust: Parents need to understand that the discipline practices that start at this stage will guide the direction of the child's personality traits.

Ages 3-6

Basic social/academic skills: That are learned at home, church and school, fundamentals of phonics and reading: This is when parents must help their children learn consistency, patience, and persistence.

Ages 6-9

Sports, music, polishing academic skills and responsibility: At this time, parents should be more consistent in enforcing consequences, whatever they may be.

Ages 9-12

Self-awareness, ability to express personal point of view, noticeable gifts in: math, science, language, social studies, sports, music, social skills, etc. Parents should encourage the child's gifts and a continual passion for learning and growth.

Ages 12-15

Teens: further self-awareness apart from environment, stronger desire to express their point of view, judging surrounding environment, curiosity for the unknown, and first feelings of attraction. Proper loving and understanding guidance is very crucial in this stage from parents to protect children.

Ages 15-18

Self-awareness as a member within the environment, high school: planning, choosing college, and graduation. This is the time for parents to understand that their children are becoming more independent and to work toward maintaining a relationship that’s conducive for open and honest discussions with their children. Parents should respond through love and understanding rather than fear and threats.

Ages 18-21 College: identifying major, pursuing career, maturity, and beginning desires for a long term relationship. At this time the children have ideally matured to young adults where the parent should act as a counselor yet let their children make their own decisions.

Note: the time it takes a child to progress from one stage to the next varies depending on the child and the level of parental involvement according to the needs of the child. If a parent is not as involved as the child needs, it could cause children, teenagers and even young adults to behave in an immature fashion. However, if the needs of all stages are met and proper training has taken place, children will have the proper building blocks to mature to teenagers and young adults. 

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