Wise Kids: Proverbial Parenting, pt 4

Your son is faced with deciding whether or not to go to ‘that’ party.

Your daughter is flirting with two guys online – and one is actually 50 regardless of his fake profile.

If you want kids who choose wisely – who exhibit ‘discretion’ – you must model it for them and teach them how.  Choices made with the guidance and wisdom of God will benefit not only your children but all those with whom they interact over their lifetime!

SERIES NOTE: This is a recurring series of posts on parenting skills based on biblical Proverbs

Proverbs 2:11 contains these words: “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

The qualities of discretion and understanding are obvious attributes we want to see in our kids for their own sakes, much less others.  But what are they and how do we invest them in our children?

Discretion is also called ‘prudence’ and is a discernment which enables someone to evalute something and make a proper and correct judgment about it.  It also connotates one’s capacity to rely on their own developed judgment because it has been proven sound.

Discretion is critical in relationships and assessing the character of others.  It can inspire humble confidence to act with excellence in a variety of situations.  

Your first step in plugging discretion into the lives of your children is to live with it for them to observe.  When faced with difficult situations, showing calm, level-headed approaches to a solution or decision.  In the event you are wronged, making choices based on character and healthy morals rather than vengeance or high negative emotions.

Your second step is to teach your kids godly and healthy filters for decision-making.  For Christians, certainly, there is the reality of basing decisions on God’s instructions in the Bible.  To teach such important skills to your kids requires you to make verbal and specific a lot of things which normally are ‘hidden’ within your thinking process.

You might do this easiest and early by looking back on a recent moment in which you used discretion.  Point out the facts of this ‘case study’ and the leading factors you considered before pulling the trigger to act.  Talk about which components of the person or situation were most important to you and your choices.

Then you have the opportunity to watch for teachable moments in the present.  Make it theoretical to reduce pressure on them as they build this skill.  Take a circumstance you see in a show or movie or perhaps something you’ve actually dealt with at work.  Describe the factors, encouraging them to ask clarifying questions, and then ask what they are thinking and what they would do ‘in those shoes.’

And hugely valuable is the act of cheering them on when they show discretion!  Let them know you are proud of them.  Ask how they arrived at their decision.  Applaud right judgments they showed in weighing the various aspects of the situation.

Proverbs was written to young people in order to prepare them for adulthood – for life!  Use these ancient and reliable truths to sharpen your own discretion and give it as a precious gift to your children.  Their lives will benefit and they will gain respect and accomplishment as they show discretion in daily life and major life milestones.

Take care,


For more from Dr. Phillip McClure, CLICK HERE

To read the first in this series, GO HERE

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