The Importance of 13 in Christian Parenting

For many years, those who wrote or taught about Christian parenting had to rely on personal experience and patterns they observed in the families they knew to help explain how God’s commands and principles worked in day to day parenting. Over the last several years, the Barna Group has focused on conducting a lot of actual research about Christians.

Their focus most recently has been on Christian parents and their children. They are trying to quantify what the difference is between parents who raise children to be faithful, productive Christians and those whose kids are not as faithful or reject God entirely as adults.

They are finding what many of us had noticed anecdotally. There are definite, specific things parents can do to improve the chances their kids will be faithful, productive Christians as adults.

We try to share as many of these specifics as we can with you. One of the most important findings is key for parents and churches to understand. The bulk of a person’s worldview is in place by age 13. This means if parents and the church they attend have not invested enough time and effort in helping kids develop a biblical worldview by age 13, they are leaving those young people extremely vulnerable.

Yes, there are things you can do after age 13 to help young people strengthen or develop a biblical worldview. As many parents of teens can tell you though, trying to change directions by beginning in the teen years can be difficult. It is much easier if you start when your kids are really young.

If your kids are under age 13, it’s time to get serious about helping them develop strong faith foundations and grow towards their godly potential. It’s time to encourage your church leaders to make the spiritual education of children one of their top priorities. Not by giving it lip service or throwing money at it, but by really auditing everything they are doing to make sure it is as effective as possible.

If your kids are teens or adults, don’t give up. Your job may be more difficult, but with God’s help, nothing is impossible. If necessary, apologize to your kids for the mistakes you have made. Explain why you want to make their spiritual health and growth your top priority. Engage them in working together to help them become the people God wants them to be.

Impactful Christian parenting is also intentional. Understanding the number 13 will help you remember your kids are never too young for their spiritual education to be your top priority. Because the earlier you start, the more successful your efforts will probably be.

Published by

Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking. Their daughter Katrina, who has been an integral part of their service adventures, attends Pepperdine University.

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