Parents need to set the example for their children. It should not be, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Children reject and resent this type of raising. They see it for what it is, hypocrisy, and tend to turn against other authority figures as a result.
Examples are powerful.
“The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him” (Prov. 20:7). They follow what they see, especially at younger ages (cf. Eze. 16:44). The little boy will want to dress like his dad and do the work his father does. The princess wants to wear makeup like mommy and mimics her around the house. Any parent with older children knows this is so and sometimes frightening or embarrassing.
You must be what you want them to be.
Do you want your children to be faithful and active in church? Then you must attend, making it a priority in your life (Heb. 10:24, 25). If you are not going regularly or using flimsy excuses not to go, they will get the message—church is not that important. Go if you do not feel like it emotionally. Maybe you are in a bad mood. Go and your mood will change. The children will pick up on this and realize worship of God lifts the soul and spirit. Push yourself when you do not feel well physically. If the aches and pains or fatigue do not keep you from work and other matters of life, then they should not keep you from church. Your children will pick up your habits.
Be a moral and caring person (Gal. 6:7-10). You will reap what you sow. Do your children see you studying the Bible? Take them to see someone who needs encouragement. Get them involved in writing cards to the sick and shut-in. Let your children request prayers for things that concern them, get them to give you names of those they want to pray for—let them say a prayer (warning: you may be there a while). Your children need to see what takes priority, worldly matters or spiritual ones. The sooner your impress them with the importance of serving God, the deeper and more lasting it will be in their hearts and minds.
Paul told men to provide for their families (1 Tim. 5:8). He instructed women to take care of the home, but be homemakers (Titus 2:5). Little boys and girls need to see this in their parents. What concept of the roles of husbands/fathers and wives/mothers are your children witnessing day to day? Do they see their father laboring to put food on the table and a shelter over their heads? Or, is their father more interested in hobbies? Do the children see their mother making a comfortable, inviting home or do they see a self-absorbed woman who wants to be pampered? Many marriages have been ruined years before they were contracted because of the warped view the couple learned growing up.
By the way, the son will often look for a wife that is like his mother, and the daughter for a husband like her father. Would you want them marrying someone like you?
So, what kind of example are you setting? Would you want your children, son or daughter, to be like you? If not, then you need to make some changes—NOW!