I’ve said the following for years. No one loves a child more than a parent. The question that remains is does that parent know how to show that love to their child? I believe any parent in their right mind wants to do their best, but that requires continued adjustments to our approach. Here are five adjustments God is teaching me that every parent must consider if they are going to be great parents.
#1. Be The Parent. God has not called you to be their best friend. Save that role for later after you’ve actually raised them and prepared them for life. Too often you can’t tell the parent from the child. Kids will be kids, but adults need to act like adults. How can you lead someone who doesn’t respect you? How can you lead someone when you’re acting just like them? Never forget you are the parent. They need you to lead by example and do your best to guide them down the right path.
#2. Settle Down. If you have multiple children there will always be at least one that really tests your patience. I admit that I’ve had times in the past where I really loss my composure. I looked more like a professional wrestler than a parent as I flew off the top rope to set them straight. God has shown me over time that two hot heads accomplish nothing. In fact, it only leads to greater conflict. Every kid will test their boundaries, but it doesn’t mean you need to lose your temper. I’ve found that me learning to settle down makes for a greater opportunity to teach them how to settle down. Two wrongs, don’t make a right.
#3. Meet Them On Their Level. This one is huge. I have four boys and each of them could not be any different. I’ve had to learn their personality, their fears, and their heartbeat over time. I try my best to spend as much one on time as I can with each of them. My goal is to meet them on their level and look for ways to guide them to better choices in life. Any effective communication requires listening and understanding, not just barking orders.
#4. Realize Your Limits. Do all that you can do and never quit trying to do better. But, remember you’re their parent, not their God. Our job is to prepare them to live without us and then leave the rest in God’s hands. You can’t control everything they do or every decision they will make. They will make mistakes just like us. Focus on what you can control and give God daily what you can’t.
#5. Put Aside Your Agenda. I’m convinced that too many parents are trying to live out their unfinished dreams through their children. We see this in sports, pageants, and as many parents push their children towards the front of the line. Parents, our job is not to dictate our children’s future, but to prepare them for whatever God has in store. Our best laid plans will never even come close to the plans God has prepared in advance for them. Trying to push your child a certain direction will only lead to resentment, heartache, and disappointment when those dreams shatter.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it.”
Well, please know that these thoughts simply come from a parent who is constantly growing and learning. I pray every day that God convicts me where I’m wrong and leads me where I should go. God bless you and your family.