Common Parenting Mistakes Affect Christians Too
Being Christian is not automated protection from common parenting mistakes. Face it: Raising happy, well-adjusted children may be the toughest job in the world. Raising Christian children gets even harder, for you must balance between how to keep your child in the world without letting the world grow in your child.
In the secular world, the debate about best-form parenting styles never ends. And everyone seems to have an answer or a new game plan. Fact is: every child is a unique individual with a unique way of meeting this world, a life of changing circumstances, and the expectations on self and of others. If Christian, your child must find a Holy Spirit lead balance between the home, the world, and the church. And this balance must be achieved even in the face of a religious battlefield for first place in the eyes of God. How do you explain to a questing child the denominational divisions that currently rape the body of Christ? How do you help them find balance in a Christian world that has been invaded by every major vine of man-made doctrine? Wherein resides the Christian principles?
Experts generally agree on a set of core common parenting mistakes, mistakes that can be and that often are detrimental to your child’s emotional, mental and spiritual development. Some might say that these common parenting issues do not directly address Christian principles. They would be in error, for in many events the patterns established by society, even a non-Christian society, will reflect core virtues that should be a fundamental base for sound Christian living.
This article points out a few of the most common mistakes parents make, and then it elaborates on what should be done instead.
Be honest with your children without robbing them of a childhood legacy. A lie is a lie, and Santa Claus is a fable. But permitting your child to enjoy the fable is not the same as lying to avoid a sticky situation. For example: For a time, the fable of Santa can co-exist with the truth of a virgin birth, sin, redemption and a living Savior. It prevents your child from enduring unnecessary confrontation when age and experience has not yet prepared him or her for such a conflict.
However, permitting your child to be a child is not the same as crafting a lie for personal convenience. For example: Your child wants to watch television but you want him or her to go outside and play. Saying that the television is broken or that the show he or she wants to watch isn’t on is a deliberate act of dishonesty. If your child should discover the lie, a wedge begins to hinder the development of respect between you and your child. Be empathetic if possible. Talk through the situation with your child and make sure they know that you understand how they feel – unless, of course, such resistance to your authority has become commonplace. In any event, remain firm with your decisions and don’t back down.
Follow through with what you say. Keeping your word is merely a basic Christian principle. Keeping your word to a child may even be more important that keeping your word to an adult. If your child is running at the pool, and you tell him that he either has to follow the rules or sit out of the water, make sure that you are committed to the consequence that you have imposed. If you do not follow through, your child is never going to listen to you because they have no reason to; nothing will happen to them whether they follow your rules or not.
Some parenting experts promote use of a counting technique. It works like this: The first time your child does something that they are not supposed to, they receive a “one.” When they get to “three,” a consequence is imposed; this can be either a time out or the removal of a privilege. Having structure is good for children; it allows them to grow up feeling secure about the world around them. Problem is, such a counting tactic eventually ends with the child counting too. It is better to state your rules and then follow through with any stated consequence.
However, never forget the grace that God has shown to you. You must be persistent without being overly harsh.
Temper – A Common Parenting Mistake
Control your temper. Memorize the words from 2 Tim. 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Those words, “sound mind” imply self control. Learn to walk your Christian walk before men, God, and your children.
Little Jr. is going to test your limits, sometimes multiple times in one day. Feeling of frustration will follow. Avoid taking it out on Jr., and avoid yelling. Never impose discipline in anger. Make sure the consequences of disobedience are appropriate, fair, and uncluttered by an emotional state of mind. If necessary, walk it off, spend some time in prayer, as the Spirit for guidance, and maybe even read a few chapters of Leviticus.
But before getting too deep into the spirit, make sure you put your child in a safe space, like the playpen or playroom. Seek peace and peace will come. When ready, carry forth with the judgment and the justice. Grace will prevail, even if it means applying a touch of grace to the kid’s rear end.
Avoid Common Parenting Mistakes
Much of a child’s personality is formed when they are young. There is no better time for you to show them the wonder of living a Christian life. Do everything you can to give your child the love and support they need to grow into responsible, respectable adults. Teach them about Christ, the church, and the ways that make an adult Christian. But remember: Everyone, even the best parents, make mistakes. You will too. But if you keep Christ in the forefront of your parenting, He will help smooth away the rough edges.