Stop Causing Division Over the Non-Essentials of Child Raising

Stop Causing Division Over the Non-Essentials of Child Raising

All four of my children were born in a hospital and I had male doctors deliver all of them. The first two were delivered without epidurals and the second two were. I breastfed all of them for about a year and didn’t feed them on a schedule. We sleep trained them when they were about six weeks old and yes, we did the cry-it-out method. They were all in a separate bedroom by that time. I fed them mostly organic food. I didn’t vaccinate any of them. We put them in the nursery as babies during the church service and when they were older, they went to Sunday School. We didn’t do sleep overs. We spanked our children on their bottoms when they were disobedient. We taught them early to obey us.

They went to public school for elementary school, then I homeschooled them, and then they all spent a year or more in a small Christian high school. We didn’t allow them to go on individual dates until they were 18 years old and they knew that “dating” was for the purpose of finding a spouse. Yes, they all kissed before marriage but for some of them (including some of my daughters-in-law and sons-in-law), the first person they kissed was who they married. We were considered very strict parents and were careful who they hung out with, plus they had to be home by 10:00 or 11:00 pm (I forget the exact time – I should ask them!) until they graduated high school.

Why am I telling you all of these things? I want you all to know that none of these things have anything to do with the salvation of their souls. We must not allow our differences in the way we raise our children to divide us as believers in Jesus Christ! There is too much pressure on mothers today. We are to raise godly offspring in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. This is what God cares about. He doesn’t give us the exact methods how to do this and this is where we have liberty. It should never cause division!

Some women deliver at home with a midwife naturally and some deliver in a hospital with an epidural. So what? Some breastfeed their babies for a few month, others for a few years, and some give their babies formula. So what? Yes, breast milk is far superior but in the end, it doesn’t matter as long as the babies are fed. Some raise their children the “gentle parenting” way, have a family bed, would never spank their children, and wouldn’t dream of allowing their babies to cry-it-out. So what? As long as their children grow up to obey their parents and know the Truth found in God’s Word, this is all that matters in the end, right?

Women have become so angry with me when I tell them how I raised our children. Guess what? All my children are well-adjusted adults who walk in Truth. So what if we didn’t have a family bed? So what if I sleep trained them at six weeks old? Many women think their ways are far superior to mine and have even called me selfish. This is pride, pure and simple. If a husband doesn’t want a family bed, as the head of the household, the wife should obey him! The end results (the salvation of their souls) are all that matters in the end, right?

Some women don’t believe organic foods are important and fully vaccinate their children. So what? They have every right to raise their children the way they feel is best for them. If a husband wants the children vaccinated, vaccinate them and pray that the vaccinations won’t harm them. God cares a whole lot more about wives submitting to their husbands rather than if the children are vaccinated or not and eat organic food. I see too many women go way overboard on these issues and cause division among women and even in their marriages. I am a huge believer in organic food and not vaccinating, but I don’t want to use my views to cause division in the body of Christ. These are the non-essentials of the faith.

Concerning spanking, I believe I can make a strong argument from Scripture that we are to spank our children. I make this case in my new book. But, I don’t believe it’s a sin not to spank as long as parents teach their children to obey them. It’s a lot harder doing this without spanking them, but I know it can be done. My best friend didn’t spank and she raised godly children.

I also believe I can make a strong biblical case for homeschooling, as I do in my Biblical Womanhood Study Guide. However, it’s not a salvation issue and some husbands want their children in the public school system or a Christian school. We must respect their decisions. We can give our opinions and even convictions, but they should never cause division among friends or in marriages.

When our children were older, we were intentional about teaching them about their sexual purity before marriage so we taught them diligently. There is no right or wrong way to do this and what you allow your children to do or not do, but make sure you are praying over them daily. Talk to them! Be open with them about everything. If others raise their teenagers differently than you do, so what? The main goal is that they grow up to walk in Truth.

None of these issues ought to divide us, women. When we quarrel about these things and are so sure that we are right, this can lead to self-righteousness and feeling superior over others. We are called to love the Lord and love others in humility, not thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12:3). If we are causing division over the non-essentials and not loving others, then we are in sin. Yes, I am bold in what I teach younger women. Yes, I have strong convictions and I try very hard to stay true to the Word of God but please search the Scriptures for yourself and decide how to raise your children with your husband’s full input and support. This pleases the Lord! When we are living in submission to our husbands, we are living in submission to the Lord.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Philippians 2:3

25 thoughts on “Stop Causing Division Over the Non-Essentials of Child Raising

  1. Amen Lori! My parents raised me somewhat differently in regards to spanking and they didn’t use the “cry it out” method, but they raised me to be a responsible adult and not an entitled snowflake! I totally agree that we must be open with our children about the dangers of the world as forewarned is forearmed! Everyone is different….

  2. So true! And how many of us have changed our thinking and opinions over the years? We have 13 kids from 2 to 24, and I laugh at myself for some of my STRONG opinions of the past (not on essentials, but exactly the kind of things you’ve brought up here.) I loved breastfeeding and know it’s the best, but our last little guy wouldn’t have made it without formula. When all of us got sick last year (nasty flu), he was one of the two, that didn’t get sick – I considered that the grace and mercy of God.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  3. I love this!! You are so right – none of this matters. Two of my babies came so fast they were born at home, one without even a midwife! It doesn’t matter.

    Only one of mine was fully breastfed for more than 6 months, yet they’re all healthy today.

    I co-slept with 2 of my babies, one for an entire year. They all sleep through the night in their own beds today. It doesn’t matter!

    Like Rebecca, my thinking and opinions on how to do things has changed a lot over 16 years of parenting. I do things differently with my youngest than I did with my oldest. It doesn’t matter.

    The Bible tells us to love our children, to discipline them, and to raise them to love God. How we do that, is up to us.

  4. There is far to much “mummy shaming ” that goes on. What works for one child may not work for another. So called helpful tips (my late mother in law told me to put honey on my son’s dummy so he would take to it! I smiled, and said that I would think about it! ). Your kids won’t remember about how they slept. They will remember a safe , warm bed. They will remember mum cooking for them, not if it was organic etc. Keeping your child healthy, safe and loved is the first and foremost goal of child raising.

  5. I agree with this post, Lori. I don’t spend time on social media, and my Christian friendship circle is mature, educated, and extend grace regarding non-Biblical absolutes, so we have not experienced dissension regarding parenting decisions.

    What we have experienced is other parents, teachers, and church staff/ workers complimenting us on our children’s behavior (social and spiritual-we humbly give God the glory) and (gasp) they’re all attending our local public school. This leads me to a concern in your writing regarding your own parenting practices in the area of homeschooling. I’ve only read your blog for less than a year, and haven’t read your books, so maybe you explain your philosophy more in depth, but the impression you’ve given (and used as a platform in your teaching) is that you exclusively homeschooled your children, when in actuality you utilized a combination of educational methods. Elementary school in our state is mostly K-5. Those six years + “a year or more” in a small Christian High School is over half of a child’s formal education. As believers, we must always strive to be completely forthright, and in your past accusations to parents of letting the state raise their kids instead of having them home with their mother all day, every day for 18 years is exactly what you did for 6 + “1 or more” years.

    Contradictory counsel such as this is what fuels unbelievers’ paradigms of Christian hypocrisy.

    I worked diligently to earn a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, and from the dedication I see from our district’s Board, administration, and teaching staff to ensuring a high quality, rigorous program, I can assure you that your children didn’t just play with friends for 7 hours each day while in school. Those years helped pave the way cognitively to help ensure the success of your (albeit short) homeschool.

    However, it’s always wonderfully refreshing when a Christian blogger stresses the paramount nature of the Gospel. I found William Farley’s book “Gospel Powered Parenting” an encouraging read.

    Like us, our children have free will, and must make an individual faith commitment by responding to the Holy Spirit independently. Our prayers and actions must be of total reliance on Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord. As devastating as it sounds, there are no guarantees that our children will accept Christ as their Savior and choose to follow and dedicate their lives to Him. As believers, there aren’t enough minutes in the day to engage in debate over non-Biblical absolutes in parenting or get worked up over blog posts attempting to create doubt and dissension over “grey area preferences”.

    We should use that precious time to study the Bible and pray for the souls of our family, and for God’s direction in leading a Gospel-centered life. We shouldn’t allow blogs (and the reading community) or online programs to become our only source of Biblical instruction and Christian fellowship. We should attempt to find a Gospel-centered, Bible-preaching church, and allow for a community of like-minded believers for encouragement, prayer, accountability, and service to others as we daily strive to follow God’s Word through the transformational power of Christ Jesus.

  6. My convictions have changed over the years as you have read in my posts. Just because I did something in my past, such as quarrel and try to control my husband, doesn’t mean I believe it was good and right. Now, I teach the opposite! In the same way, I can’t figure out why I thought it was wise to send our children to a godless institution for so much of their childhoods. The public school system is growing darker by the year, if you haven’t noticed. They are teaching kindergartners about the LBGQT movement now and introducing all types of deviant sexual behavior to them as they get older. Now, most children carry around smart phones where they have free access to all sorts of abominations, therefore, I have changed my mind and have tried to support it with scripture since parents are the ones called to raise their children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord, not those who aren’t even allowed to mention His name. However, as I stated in this post, you are free to raise your children the way you feel best as I am free to teach my convictions and yes, some of these convictions have come out of past errors in judgement.

  7. What elementary school or any school for that matter teaches deviant sexual behavior??? This is the most bizarre statement I have ever seen in my life. Disgusting. Whether you intended it or not, you make it sound like teachers are showing children sexual positions etc. Statements like these are what turn non Christians away from Christians. I think you need a serious reality check.

  8. No, where we live, we have not encountered a darker public school environment (yet), but we’re blessed to live in a conservative community that we chose with the desire to raise a family. I could give countless examples of occurrences in our public school community that don’t fit the “homeschooling is the only choice for Christian families” rhetoric.
    But yes, I’ve heard plenty of the “one size fits all” generalizations made by Christian opponents of public education, assuming schools and communities are the same from sea to shining sea.
    Perhaps, if we lived in California, our children’s schooling would look very different.
    However, even in the school district we currently reside, we would have to assess our education choices if questionable curriculum were to be introduced.
    We live in a fallen world, and each generation believes, with good reason, that the current state of affairs is much more of an abomination than the last.
    Hindsight in marriage and parenting is 20/20, but in my experience, a majority of the most godly, dedicated Christians we know (20’s up through retirement) attended public school, which tells me they responded to the Holy Spirit’s calling, gave their lives to the Lord, and serve Him faithfully in ministry and/or in the marketplace, and in their personal lives. This may suggest that spiritual outcomes have more to do with God-fearing parenting and the examples set at home and within the church family during their formative years.
    Thank you for posting my original comment in its entirety, and for your thoughtful response. As always, you’ve given your readers much to ponder and pray about.
    Blessings to you and your ministry.

  9. Lori is correct Kim. This is the California Healthy Youth Act that just passed. Much of the curriculum is written by Planned Parenthood. A local middle school science teacher was sent a box of dildos as part of this new curriculum. Parents have been protesting this at school board meetings all over the state.

  10. I appreciate the tone of this post, especially as I am preparing to stop homeschooling probably this year. My children will be attending a small parent-operated private school where I also have obtained employment. I have homeschooled for many years at my husband’s request, and while he would still prefer we homeschool, I cannot do it any longer. It has become more than I can handle. I finally told him that it cannot happen anymore, because I can’t operate school in our home plus maintain the home. I am not doing either as well as he’d want, and as soon as one thing is under control, he brings up the one that’s not — and it can’t go on. I will be going back to formal classroom teaching, and my children will be with me. The school is very small, so we will eat lunch together every day in the cafeteria.

    My husband isn’t happy with this scenario, but I finally had to tell him what my limits are. I don’t think that’s disrespectful or unsubmissive or disobedient to tell him that, especially since he’s spent the years pointing out all the flaws. I finally had to realize I’m a human being. I also began vaccinating my children because we had a terrible bout with a vaccine preventable disease in our family. It was a nightmare. After that, I took everyone to the pediatrician to get updated.

    If others choose differently, that’s their right and I respect that right. For a long time, I homeschooled and did not vaccinate. But now I have made other choices. My husband doesn’t necessarily agree with it, but he wasn’t at home trying to juggle what I was trying to juggle, nor was he at home with feverish children and subsequent secondary infections. I’ve pointed this out as kindly and as firmly as I can to him. He may not agree, but when I was very pointed about how I had reached my limits and didn’t have any more stamina left, he didn’t object. So I am very grateful.

    Thank you for a very kind and thoughtful post.

  11. I encourage you to submit to your husband in everything, as the Word of God commands that wives do. God has ordained him as head of the family. You are heading into dangerous territory by openly disobeying him as you are. God will give you the strength to do what He has asked you to do through your husband. Please, reconsider.

  12. Praying for you Lori (My VT2)! God will be glorified through your loving boldness!

  13. Hi Lori,

    I have a questions on division on another topic. I love and believe being a keeper at home is biblical. I have read and studied many books and pastors who teach that ie. Pastor John MacArthur. Both my husband and I believe women should be keepers at home raising children and caring for the home and husband. The struggle I’m having is we go to a church which is pretty conservative which we love. The only thing is that all of the 4 Pastors wives all work. One has her own insurance business, one works for the church and the other for a nursing home. And we just ordianided a young pastor whose wife owns a salon. I would love to teach a biblical womanhood study but (thankful) all the books teach women are to be keepers at home. None of the wives teach any of the women at all during the women’s ministry or other women bible studies. Its the other women of the church many which are stay at home homeschooling moms who teach, but no one teaches on biblical womanhood I’m sure they feel the same. I feel like I’m always saying they are wrong and are setting bad examples. We have been to a couple of other churches but they were not better or even worse. I’m not sure how to feel or deal with my situation. We’ve been there 10 years left for 3 and are now back. But still struggle with the Pastors wives working. Other than that they are great Pastor/teachers on everything else. Not sure how to think about this. Do your Pastors wives stay home, and do the Pastors teach they should?

  14. It’s a difficult situation, Faith. While I was growing up, our pastor’s wife worked full time and we hardly ever saw her. It’s extremely common these days and difficult to say anything about it since it’s so unpopular. Just pray for them!

  15. Thank you for your concern, but I do have limits. I have expressed my limits as respectfully as I can. He has stretched my limits to the point that I cannot sleep a full night, cannot function well during the day, and am always on alert with no respite. I am slowly “losing it”, as they say. I have submitted to the point of my personal detriment, and now I’m dealing with health issues. What we spent in two emergency room visits thinking I was having a heart attack is not worth it — both times it came back with nothing wrong with my heart, but I was under massive stress. I got a lot better when I started substitute teaching….felt better, got healthier in nearly every way. The school is very small and we know most of the families, it is a private religious school. I’ll be there all the time. So this is the best possible world we can find that is an alternative to homeschooling. My family will not benefit from much if I can’t function. It is better for me to be mentally healthy for my family while being close to them (one of my children will be in my classroom) and be earning something as a nice side item, rather than mentally unable to function and having medical bills pile up from the side effects of absorbing the stress he is putting into my life.

    I have prayed for years, Lori. Years. My stamina has continued to deplete. My husband does not love me, and believes it is “loving” to apply “tough love” when I can’t keep on anymore. This is even worse than just being ignored. It has stretched me to the limits. I can’t get help for us both because he will not go with me. I finally sought help for myself and it was what kept me from probably going crazy. I am profoundly grateful for the counselor and the pastor who gave me a hand up rather than a hand slap. I likened some of my husband’s “love” to stepping on my fingers while I clutched the edge of the cliff — that’s how it felt. I learned to try to keep up a façade so I wouldn’t be the recipient of “tough” love….ugh….

    What I did was finally confront him with the news that I was no longer going to be able to do all of it. I then informed him that I had kept a log and made copies of it; if he attempted any more “tough love” I would then give a copy to both the pastor and my counselor. I then told him that I was securing employment at the school and had arranged for the children to attend with full scholarships, so it would cost him nothing. After the school year, we can reconsider. But I need at least a year to rebuild my mental and physical health.

    I appreciate your concern, and I thank you for your advice, but what I have done is best for my situation. As you said, we all have different needs and our families are all different. Thank you for your thoughtful and kind post acknowledging this.

  16. Please take this as concern from one mom to another who is passionate about families staying together. Satan wants your marriage. There is a battle going on in the heavenly realm over your marriage right now. It seems from what you’ve written that it is hanging on by only a thread. You need to seek a strong Christian woman that is impartial, a good listener and will also read Scripture with you and pray intercessorily for you, your husband and children. You need to go to God first and foremost. Be in the Word. Soak it up like a sponge. Grab hold of God’s promises. Lean on His strength. Read the Psalms. Pray, pray, pray that God will perform a miracle in your life. Have faith that the Creator of the universe can and will do it! It only takes the faith of a mustard seed ? God only wants what is good for you, and your husband and children are gifts from God. Try and find something positive about your husband and focus on the good … not the bad. What attracted you to him in the first place…. things like that. When the enemy begins to discourage you and bring negative thoughts to mind, chase them away with singing praise songs. Put on your armor from Ephesians 6 daily and consistently. Then stand back and see God work in your lives?.

  17. To “A Mom”,
    I doubt my comments will get published, and if so, there will be backlash, but I believe you are enduring emotional abuse from your husband. While I believe Lori’s Biblical counsel is spot on, I’d like to offer some thoughts on your homeschooling-
    Your plan for next year’s schooling sounds wonderful, and I hope your children and marriage are blessed by what sounds like a much-needed break in your homeschool situation.
    However, my concern for you is that as you enter employment at the private school, there will be challenges as you will consistently need to answer to an administrator at work in addition to your husband, your primary authority, at home. If you’re with children all day (not your own) and go home to your family in the evening with their homework and housework to oversee, it may take longer for you to fully heal from your health problems that have arisen.
    I don’t mean to discourage you, because you sound like an amazing mother, but perhaps prayerfully consider if it would be possible (at least temporarily) to send the children to what sounds like an ideal educational situation and you stay home. Some time to rest, refresh, put some systems in place around the home, focus on serving your husband, etc. Not knowing your financial situation, this may not be possible, but if it is, this year “off” could provide such gains that within a year, you may be able to begin homeschooling again, which, it sounds like, would please your husband.
    I would also suggest seeking guidance from homeschooling mother(s) who have completed a FULL K-12 program.

  18. Thank you for your kind words. God has worked in our lives; He has provided a position and a school. He is indeed very good. My husband does have many good qualities, and no, our marriage is not hanging by a thread. It’s not great, but it’s not horrible, either; you are mistaken in that regard. The decision I have made is the first one in all the years we’ve been married that has really shown that I have some backbone, and it is going to be good for us. I do continue to pray, and the advice I received from a very devout elderly woman (now recently widowed, but we knew her and her husband together for many years) was that if you don’t grow a backbone, people will walk all over you. She saw me for many years and one day did take me aside and ask me if I was all right. I told her what was going on. She told me, and I can’t remember if these were her exact words, but along the lines of, “If you don’t grow a backbone, people will tend to walk all over you. Men are a little thoughtless just by nature. They have to be trained to be thoughtful, and you have to expect it. Women get just what they expect.” She raised ten kids. She was married for sixty-plus years. I think she knew what she was doing.

    So, thank you, I did have a wonderful lady who helped me considerably. I know when I did stand up for myself, he was startled. I don’t believe he thought I had it in me. Perhaps he was waiting to see if I’d actually stop and say, “no more”. I don’t know . Only time will tell. I only can tell you that I finally have some peace of mind.

    Thanks to all of you, you are very kind. The best decision has been made, and I firmly believe that God puts all the things in place for us to help ourselves in His own good time. This is the right decision; as Lori said, we all have different needs and different family situations — Lori has said that the situation that worked best for her family was a combination of educational choices, and that also works best for our family at this time. As I said, I am not using public school, but a small parent-operated school at which we know the majority of the children enrolled. After this school year, we will revisit the scenario and decide if we should continue or resume homeschooling. I am done discussing this now. Thanks again to all.

  19. Kim, in the UK, where I live, the LGBT agenda is being pushed on children as young as five. I do not see why children need to know about sexual orientation at that stage. The justification I hear for these teachings is that some children have two dads or two mums and they may get teased or bullied for it by the other children. Well if children are being taught to be kind and compassionate to one another like the Bible says, bullying should not be an issue. Children get bullied for all sorts of reasons- being ginger haired, wearing glasses, being fat, thin, dyslexic, tall, short, poor, rich etc. I think the bullying thing is an excuse for the LGBT to push their vile agenda on innocent young minds.

  20. Here in New Zealand there is currently a parliamentary debate going on about a “health” curriculum that has been introduced without parents knowledge that is about transgender people, and how gender is a continuum and we can “choose” whether we wish to be a boy or a girl or both or neither. This is starting at primary school level (5 years old) in age-appropriate words. Asking children questions like can girls play with toy cars? Can boys play with dolls? Why or why not? How does it make you feel playing with these things etc.
    I’m hoping it doesn’t come in, or if it *does*, that we have the option of removing our children from these classes. Otherwise we will be forced to withdraw our children from school because we don’t want them taught such nonsense.

  21. RMR and Concerned, I agree with your kind words for A Mom. I will be praying for her and her husband also. May God bless you and restore you to health, A Mom. Much love to you

  22. Thank you, you have all been very kind. I appreciate the prayers far more than I can express.

  23. Hi!
    Thanks so much for your comment. I’m basically going to work at the school so that I can continue homeschooling in a fashion. One of my children will be in my classroom. Also, I have been in therapy for reasons that I’ve mentioned in other places, and that was expensive. So my job will help to pay for it and other medical expenses I incurred as the result of depression that I was eventually diagnosed with.

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