4 Lifelong Parenting Principles
As a parent, we are called to raise our children to the best of our abilities. There is no straight-forward rule book that tells us the exact way to handle our children in every situation. That’s for good reason because each child is unique in their own way and there are way too many factors involved – some that are in your control and some that aren’t in your control.
Things like cultural impact, personality types, the environment they grow up in, their friends/relationships around them, and so much more!
Parenting each child is a unique and often a subjective experience. Given that, here are 4 parenting principles that you can use whether your child is a toddler, teen or even a young adult.
1. Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’
Whether we like it or not, our words carry a lot of weight in our child’s life. What we say (or don’t say) can affect them. It is important to mean what we say and follow through. For example, if you say “we are going to leave in 5 minutes”, it’s got to be in 5 minutes not 20 minutes later. The thing about this particular principle is that it also holds us accountable to our word and puts great weight to what we say.
2. Seek forgiveness and forgive quickly
There is no question that we all are sinners. As parents, we make mistakes daily. If we have sinned against our children, it is important to ask God for forgiveness and also apologise to our children. Saying sorry is not a sign of weakness but rather a verbal expression of our repentance. In doing so, we can also teach our children to learn to seek forgiveness and forgive others quickly. This is a great opportunity for all of us to humble ourselves and model a Christ-like faith.
3. Praise your child’s God-given strengths whenever possible
As parents, we should praise our children’s God-given strengths whenever we can – that means even when you’re in the middle of a dispute or a difficult situation. Look for the strengths (not just the features) like a godly character, honesty, skills, upholding their integrity, sticking to their values and more. You can call out the things they are doing that are pleasing to the Lord and help them discover their identity in Christ and need for Him.
4. Be open, honest and transparent
Children are learning everything they know about this world through you. A beautiful responsibility we have as parents. Being open and transparent when your children ask you questions about life is crucial. Children tend to believe and trust quickly. It’s important to treat that trust with respect and ensure that you are being real with them.
Parenting is a full-time job
Did you notice that these principles (and their effectiveness) depend on our commitment as parents to put them into place?
As you know, parenting is an “all in” full-time responsibility. Take the time to sit down and pray to God to give you the love, encouragement and strength you need to carry out these principles.
God is the best parent of all and He is always there to listen and guide you. Let God be the foundation of your parenting and watch Him do what only He can.
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