I’m an imperfect parent. All parents are. However, after nearly three decades of experience, I’ve settled on four tips that I believe are critical for successful parenting.
Give yourself permission to be an imperfect parent. We should try to be the best parent we possible can be, but also, have reasonable expectations of ourselves. We can certainly take responsibility for our mistakes, learn from them, apologize for them, but also, extend grace to ourselves.
Remembering that we all fall short of God’s standards can also prompt us to rely on God. He has greater provision than we could ever hope for, and we are wise to seek His guidance for every step of our parenting journey.
Don’t do for your kids what they can do for themselves. This seems obvious enough, but can be extremely challenging. Allowing young kids to dress themselves and help with routine chores around the house, may require a bit of your time and some patience. The results, though, will be worth it.
Especially when dealing with young kids, it’s often easier and faster to do things yourself. When you do that, however, you rob your kids of the opportunity to build self-esteem. Doing things that they’re capable of doing for themselves, piles more on your plate, which you certainly don’t need.
Demonstrate your unconditional love to your children. Using your words and actions, every single day, communicate that you love them – not just for what they do and their accomplishments, but most importantly, for who they are. Every child would prosper from hearing from their parents say, “We love what a kind person you are; we love your enthusiasm for life and learning; you are beautiful inside and out; we so appreciate your kind-heartedness and how you look out for others who are being excluded or put down.” Those are the gifts that can help children to grow and thrive.
Develop your own faith; pursue your own spiritual growth and maturity, and never stop! Laying a foundation of faith from which your children can navigate life may be the biggest gift you could ever give them. If they are rooted and grounded in their faith, that foundation will help them to know who they are. It will also help them to embrace the greater purpose for their lives.
Also, instead of relying solely on you, they’ll make the transition to rely on their Heavenly Father. He is the only one who truly knows what’s in their heart, knows what their future holds, and knows what they’ll need to embrace that future. We are wise to rely on Him, and to model that reliance to our children.
Ultimately, may we never forget that our children are in good hands; for in reality, they’re in His hands.