It is important throughout their life that parents maintain a close relationship with their children. Their faith and beliefs, standards and way of life should reflect in the upbringing father and mother provide for their offspring. The Bible explains the process in these words, “Direct your children on to the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it”-Proverbs 22:6 New Living Translation.
Right from the beginning, it is important that father and mother always demonstrate their affection and respect for each other for their children to observe. This should go hand in hand with the deep bond they grow with their offspring right from infanthood. It is not enough to provide food, clothing and education with all expenses paid for them. Failing to spend regular time with them, in addition to doing things with and for the children could make provision of material comforts a waste of effort. Their offspring would develop little or no affection for those who brought them into the world.
Father and mother should bathe their small children some of the time at least. My experience taught me that little ones relax completely to talk about their experiences, fears and doubts during bath time with a parent. A similar degree of relaxation occurs at mealtimes and other family activities such as play time, studying, lessons in housekeeping, and outings. Of course the influence of grandparents, the wider family, teachers and pastors could also be critical in child development.
Parental attitude to grandparents, older family members, colleagues at work, friends and strangers matter to growing children. Throughout their teens and as they grow to be adults, kids learn unconsciously from all these situations. The relationship between father and mother provides a practical demonstration for how to relate to people they marry and relate to in the world.
Closeness to kids as they grow up makes it easy for them to support their ageing parents and each other in adulthood with the necessary resources. An African proverb points this out, “ If you support your children while they grow teeth, they would do the same for you when you lose your teeth “.
Of course the way of life of adult children is never identical to that of their parents. However, what parents demonstrate and teach them become the foundation of their existence in society. Where father and mother bring up their offspring in mutually beneficial ways, this quote would become true for them , “I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth” -3 John 1:4 New Living Translation.