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Training Children vs. Raising Children

In many conservative circles, parents refer to training their children.  This term comes from Proverbs 22:6, which says "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  Almost unfailingly, when you get into a discussion on this topic, there is a parent that is appalled at the use of "training" on children.  Nine times out of ten, they say "You train dogs, you RAISE children." 


I disagree, and my new comeback is "You raise livestock, you TRAIN beings that you want to have live in the house with you."  Livestock are left mostly to their own devices, because you don't really have to deal with them so it isn't worth training them. I love my children and it is certainly worth training them. But is this a real issue, or just semantics that serve as another way to divide us?  I don't know, but as I write this, I am going to find out!  Seriously, I am looking this stuff up as I write.


The definition of train (the verb, not the noun which means "choo-choo train") is (according to a quick Google search): teach (a person or animal) a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.  Some synonyms include instruct, teach, and coach.

Raise has about a zillion definitions, but way down the line is bring up (a child).  Synonyms include rear, nurture, and look after.  In the same definition listing is breed or grow (plant or animal). 

After looking at the definitions, it has become fairly apparent to me that we need to both train AND raise children.  One without the other is asking for trouble.

Training is the active part of parenting.  The hard part.  The times that we are teaching them to be civilized members of society rather than the selfish mammals seeking to fulfill our own fleshly desires we would all be without training.  When we are teaching them how to behave and why, as well as when we are teaching them academics, that is training a child. 

Raising seems to refer more to the easy part of parenting.  Making sure they are cared for; fed, clothed, and loved. 

If we just raise them, and don't train them, we are creating selfish monsters that no one will want to be around.  Children are born bad, which is not a popular opinion, but I believe it to be true.  There are people that never spank their children, yet their toddlers hit when they don't get their way.  And I am about 99% certain that no parents, at least not semi-sane ones, bite their children in response to disobedience, and yet there are plenty of kids that bite when they are frustrated.  Most parents share very well with their children, then their children turn around and refuse to share.  Yes, these are all age appropriate behaviors, but they are unacceptable, and require some sort of training to teach them right from wrong. 

Training and not raising children is considered neglect.  As a parent it is your job to provide for the needs of a child.  If you don't raise the child, they will be removed from your home and training won't be an issue. 

The loving parts of parenting can be categorized in training and raising, depending on what you are referring to.  Even if you are not an affectionate person, it is important that your children know that they are valued members of your household.  Giving them jobs to do, and making sure to praise them when they do well, so they learn not only the value they offer the world, but the value of hard work is training.  Giving them a hug when they are sad is training them in empathy. 

I think the bottom line is that we HAVE to, by law, raise children.  Training children is optional, but woe to the poor child that isn't trained, and to the people around him.  So I will still refer to parenting as training my children, because that is the part that I struggle with.  I have no problem with the raising part.



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