Parenting Philosophies

29 Dec

TV comedian Bill Cosby seems to have a philosophy for every stage of parenting:Bill Cosby - Blue Background

On Childbirth: “…as they started to clean it off … I went over to my wife, kissed her gently on the lips, and said, ‘Darling, I love you very much. You just had a lizard.”

On a Dad’s Need for Privacy: “A new father quickly learns that his child invariably comes to the bathroom at precisely the times when he’s in there, as if he needed company. The only way for this father to be certain of bathroom privacy is to shave at the gas station.

On Child Discipline: “Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell, the name will carry.”

On Children Acting Up: “Parents are not interested in justice; they are interested in quiet!”

On Gifts: “Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.”

On Teenagers: “Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home.” *

Cosby certainly has a unique approach to parenting. I (Dawn) laughed and laughed at many of the situations on The Cosby Show (1984-92), identifying with the Huxtables as I brought up my own two boys.

But I didn’t take my principles for teaching children from Cosby or any other television celebrity. Back in the 70s and 80s, my husband and I brought up our children using three sources:  the Bible, some of the principles of Bill Gothard (Institute of Basic Youth Conflicts), and the books written by Dr. James Dobson. From Dobson’s Hide or Seek, we learned how to cultivate godly self-esteem in our sons. We used Dobson’s Dare to Discipline and Parenting Isn’t for Cowards many times as resources, too.

Today, with the publishing explosion, there are hundreds and hundreds of helpful books that give parents hope and clear, biblical instruction. But the truest guide is still the scriptures. All other resources are supplemental and must be held up to biblical standards. While there are many scriptures about parenting, especially in the book of Proverbs, here are a few of my favorites:

  • Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4, NIV)
  • Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6, NKJV)
  • Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge. (Proverbs 14:26, NIV)
  • A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them (Proverbs 13:24, The Message)

What do you use to teach and train your children toward godliness, good manners, and productive living?

Cosby once said, “My childhood should have taught me lessons for my own fatherhood, but it didn’t, because parenting can only be learned by people who have no children.” I am grateful that the Word of God is a powerful, steady guidebook that helped me much in that learning process, aren’t you?

* Familiarity Breeds Children: The Best Quotes & Cartoons about Parenthood by Bruce Lansky and “Bill Cosby Quotes,”


3 Responses to “Parenting Philosophies”

  1. Michael G. December 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    I love Cosby. Read his books and adored his TV show. Thanks for reminding me how funny he is.

  2. Sharon G. December 29, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    I tried James Dobson when I was a single mom with my two boys…I began to read Bringing Up Boys. When I got to the part where it pretty much said that boys who live with just their mothers were pretty much doomed I got rid of the book. It took a while before I could read anything from or listen to anything by James Dobson. I respect him as very knowledgeable and being a Christ follower, if not much of an encourager.

    • Dawn Wilson January 7, 2011 at 11:41 am #

      I’ve never known Dobson to be anything but honest and encouraging. It is indeed difficult to bring up boys without a father, but not impossible if we surround our sons with caring, strong male role models. I’m sure Dobson would agree with that.

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