Carey Hardy offers some practical advice for Christians seeking to be biblical parents. Brief excerpts of his 12 steps on how to raise a pharisee are provided here, but you can read the full length article by following the link at the end of this summary.
Here’s 12 easy steps for raising your children to become Pharisees:
1. Major on external instead of internal issues.
See the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–6). This is majoring on controlling the child’s behavior without using Scripture and prayer to deal with his heart.
2. Exercise excessive control.
This is not balancing discipline with instruction. This is manifested by the creation of TOO MANY rules and restrictions, rules that are POINTLESS, or rules that are HARSH AND TOO STRICT.
3. Overreact to failure.
This includes not allowing the freedom to fail. It’s treating failure as the end of the world. You must see failure as an opportunity for instruction. But many parents live in FEAR of failure—and thus they become excessive controllers. This may be manifested in calling attention to every mistake. It’s a performance-based love…expecting perfection.
4. Be unforgiving and impatient.
A grouchy/irritable parent, frustrated over everything that goes wrong. Instead of a home that is filled with joy, there is an oppressive, negative atmosphere. Sinful choices by your children definitely need to be dealt with. But make sure there is a visible end to the consequences, with the home thus returning to a pleasant atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
5. Elevate preference over biblical principle.
Some parents are prone to emphasize rules that really don’t reflect the Bible at all. Instead, the rules reflect personal preferences.
6. Exercise unnecessary separatism.
This has become a huge problem with many home-schooling families. I believe it’s danger they must watch out for. Frankly, this approach doesn’t work as the parents think it will. Frequent phone calls from parents of older children who are rebelling. And frequent discussions with pastors who are having this problem in their church. As your children grow, they must be involved with other children; this is a testing ground and provides opportunities for training. And your teens must be allowed to be with other teens.
7. Judge others…other families.
This is being judgmental about other families, about things going on in the church; being critical of everything, constantly fault-finding, producing a constant rain of criticism. When you do this in front of children, you’re developing that judgmental spirit in them.
8. Be “belligerent”—a fighter.
Pharisees fight. So, to this parent, every issue is a fighting issue. As the child watches you take on every wrong thing in the church, every example of wrong thinking in others, they learn the lifestyle of a fighter. Thus, they end up learning what to fight against and not necessarily what to fight for.
9. Show favoritism.
By this, I mean showing favoritism toward one child over another child. This teaches a child to want to be only with people who are like you and who meet your standards. Then this can lead to the separatism we discussed earlier.
10. Exercise no humor.
No fun. You need to know how to not take yourself so seriously and how to not take things in this world so seriously at times.
11. Build up their self-esteem.
A “high self-esteem” is not a biblical concept. Nor is the need to learn to love yourself. Emphasis on self-esteem encourages individuals to become like Pharisees; they are encouraged to delve into self, to be focused on self, to build up self.
12. Lack genuine spirituality.
Living hypocritically teaches hypocrisy. You won’t be perfect as a parent, but there must be a level of integrity visible to your children.
You can find Hardy’s Scriptural and practical reasoning for the above points here.
What are your thoughts about Hardy’s points?