Training Your Child’s Bent
Joey and Carla Link
July 12, 2017
“Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Parents have hung on to this verse from Proverbs for dear life, hoping and praying their kids will “not depart from it.” “I’ve taken my kids to church their entire lives. I’ve trained them the way they should go. So why is my son so rebellious?” “My daughter took up with the wrong boy and now she is pregnant. I took her to church, we are good Christians. What happened?” are questions we often get.
Each one of our children have a “bent”, a way to go that God has given them to be who He wants them to be to do what He wants them to do. Parents need to learn the ‘bent” God gave them so they can train them up in God’s way of living.
When we train our kids according to “the way they should go,” or their “bent”, they will recognize how God made them and will see where they fit into His plan. The word bent means “someone who is determined to take a specific course of action, a knack or aptitude for doing something.”
When God designed each of your children while they were in your womb, He put together their temperament blend. He gave them specific spiritual gifts, talents, and so forth, all parts which make your child unique. As parents, it is our job to watch for these as our children develop and mature. To begin to get to know your child’s bent or “the way they should go,” we think it is important for parents to understand their children’s temperament so they can train them and teach them accordingly.
We have spent several weeks on Parenting Made Practical’s facebook page talking about the four temperaments and the strengths and weaknesses of each. Have you decided if your child is a strong-willed Choleric, a laid back Phlegmatic, a sensitive yet task-oriented Melancholy, or an energetic, out-going and fun-loving Sanguine?
For each of your child’s strengths, there is an opposite weakness. Your strong-willed choleric child has the potential to make a fine leader someday but at the same time can be bossy, demanding and has the need to control all situations he finds himself in. Your laid back, even-keeled Phlegmatic is a born peacemaker but at the same time is lazy and unmotivated. A sensitive, task-oriented Melancholy can be judgmental and expect others to stick to his to-do list as well. And your fun-loving Sanguine? They are easily distracted and don’t follow through on what they say they will do.
Everyone is a blend of two temperaments. I (Carla) think this is God’s way of balancing us out. We need to learn the temperament blend of each of our kids and train them to develop their strengths and learn how to keep their weaknesses under control.
We wrote three Mom’s Notes presentations to help you with this, focusing on the major weakness of each temperament. These presentations are called, “Working with Your Child’s Besetting Sin, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3”. They are on sale now at www.parentingmadepractical.com.
We encourage you to ask God to open your eyes to the traits that make up your child. Ask Him to show you His design for your child. Ask Him to teach you how to train your children in the way they should go, in keeping with their individual gifts and the natural ‘bent’ He gave them. When we train our kids in such a way that they find fulfillment in who they were created to be, we have done what God has called us to do as parents with the kids he gave us.