Among the more important Christian parenting tips I can pass on to you is that of helping your child learn the importance of guarding what goes into his or her mind. It can be a challenge to teach them this, but it is worth the effort.
A Principle to Remember: We think better and make better decisions if we fill our minds with good things.
Biblical Basis: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
There’s an old saying: “Garbage in; garbage out.” The point is that if we fill our minds with garbage, then garbage will come out of our minds. If kids are always watching violent TV shows, then their minds will have more violent thoughts and those thoughts may translate into violence on the playground. If your kids hang around others who use unacceptable language, then unacceptable language may start coming out of their mouths. Garbage in, garbage out!
~ Shortcut to Understanding ~
Sheryl Bruinsma has a great way of illustrating to children the importance of filling our minds with good thoughts:
Is there anyone here who has never needed a bandage? We all need one at one time or another. Why? What does a bandage do? It protects our cuts and sores. First you clean out a cut. You might need to apply pressure to get it to stop bleeding. Then you put on a bandage to keep the germs out. It is important to keep the germs out so your cut does not become infected.
When the Bible tells us to think about things that are good and honest and beautiful, it is telling us to keep out the bad germs that might infect us. Let’s think of some bad germs that might get inside our minds and hearts. How about hating? If you hate someone, you dislike her so much that you are mean to her. If you hate someone, you feel mean inside. This meanness can infect you so that you become mean to other people, and you feel miserable. Jealousy is another bad germ. If you are jealous of your friend, you want what he has. You become infected with wanting, and you do not appreciate what you have. You become unhappy. Lying is another bad germ. One lie leads to another until you have an infection of lies.
How do you keep these and other bad germs out? What kind of bandage can you put on your heart? The Bible tells us to keep a bandage of pure, clean thoughts on our hearts. If we cover our hearts with good thoughts, it will be very hard for the bad germs to get in. If you love people with Jesus’ love, it will be hard to begin to hate. You will forgive someone long before you can get to hating her. If you thank God for your blessings and enjoy all the wonderful things He has given you, you won’t have time for jealousy. If you value truth and are honest, the lies won’t creep in.
Keep the germs out of your heart and mind. Protect yourself with good thoughts.
You can encourage your child to make clean, positive thoughts a habit. The more they do it, the better they get at it. And the better they get at it, the happier they’ll be and they’ll make better decisions.
 Sheryl Bruinsma, Object Lessons Using Children’s Toys (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), p. 82.
— Dr. Ron Rhodes