Bringing up children is an incredible responsibility. While nobody can do a perfect job, knowing and doing what's most important will help children grow up healthy. Below are some basic principles that by no means are meant to be exhaustive. An incredible amount of good material is written on this subject, some of it linked below.
MOTIVATION AND FOUNDATION
Virtually every emotional difficulty people suffer as adults has its source in upbringing, specifically in not being loved. God is the source of love. As Christians, we're commanded to love others as He loves us. His love is a “doing” love, not a “feeling” love. He wants parents to pass on his love to their children. Neglecting children by not spending time with them as well as overtly mistreating them physically or emotionally are forms of abuse.
Prepare children to be capable of handling the outside world
1. Not spending time with your children
2. Having too many rules
3. Making rules you don't enforce
1. Spend time with your children. Selfishness keeps parents from directly interacting more. If you're incredibly busy, take some time each day, even a very few minutes, to do what your child likes to do. Then, depending on age, invite them to be alongside you when you do everyday tasks as you talk with them and teach them. If you're too busy to spend time with your children, then clearly you also have no time for TV, video games, personal sports or friends.
2. Don't have too many rules. Children need to be children and have fun. Again, our self-centeredness can make us want the house quiet all the time or not want to watch silliness and other childish norms. Although there is a time to train children to be calm and to use "inside voices,” when there's no good reason to curb their natural exuberance, allow it. Don’t insist children act like adults.
3. Don't make a rule you don't plan to enforce. This oft-broken principle has damaged many children in this society. In the outside world, if a policeman, boss, or teacher says, "No" or "Don't,” serious consequences follow. When a child doesn’t immediately obey a parent’s “no,” “stop,” or “come here,” and there are no consequences, the child is wrongly taught that there are no consequences in life. Inconsistency in discipline results in even more persistent misbehavior.
Children have much higher chance of injury or death when they aren't trained to immediately respond. A pre-understood consequence needs to be in place and executed at the point of disobedience, WITHOUT ANY ANGER. If it takes anger for a child to respond, they learn to respond out of fear. It isn't good for a child to respond to life out of fear rather than respect.
Parents can put wanting to be liked by their children ahead of being responsible parents. With that example, children learn to act so others will like them instead of doing what is right. They will be more apt to succumb to peer pressure, becoming chameleons instead of who they were created to be.
Rules are enforced in society. Love your child by enforcing them at home.
Focus on the Family This may be the source of the largest support system for parents.