If you are a parent, you know raising kids is one of the most challenging things you have ever done. It is also one of the most influential and meaningful.
As you think about being a good parent to your kids, there are things you can do that make a huge difference in their little lives. It’s hard to remember all the specific things, so here is a list of tips and action steps to keep at your finger-tips.
Who Else Loves Your Child?
It’s helpful to remember God loves your kids much more than you do. He cares about how they turn out. He cares about their little hearts and every day of play and challenge they live through. Truly? God lent your kids to you to raise them for Him. Wow.
You need God and His Word to do this job well. Stay in prayer. Use any support system you have: family, friends, church. Be humble and authentic as you follow these steps. Take breaks to be refreshed. But do all you can in the short years your child is growing up. This is a once-in-a-life-time privilege you have, so give it all you’ve got. Before you know it, your child will be as tall as you – maybe taller. They will be grown up and on their own.
10 Tips To Help You Be a Good Parent
- Keep your own heart close to God. Kids absorb more from your life than you purposefully teach. They see through words and actions – into your heart. So, work on your own relationship with God. Draw close to Him by faith. Besides, you really need the Lord as you raise your kids. He will help you as you help them. The closer you are to Jesus, the more helpful your influence will be on them. God transforms hearts, starting with yours.
- Accept responsibility for your work in your child’s life. Your child is wet cement – molded as they watch how you handle your discouragements, conflicts, relationships, challenges, difficulties, sins, successes, and moods. Teach them how to solve problems rather than react to problems. Be kind and caring. And be calm. Your child will remember these things as you imprint them into their little life. Your attitudes and perspectives are critical. Relax into being the person God created you to be as you help them become the person God created them to be.
- Be a model for them. In addition to accepting responsibility for your work in your child’s life, model the character of Jesus. In every response, work at this. As you deal with difficulties and challenges in your own life, you are being watched. Let your kids see Jesus as you practice His character. Let them see you turn to Him and depend on Him. You will make better decisions for yourself and for your children.
- Love your child by listening and spending time with them. This includes hugging them and kissing their little faces. If they are getting older and seem awkward about a kiss, plant one on their forehead and tell them you love them and always will. Affectionately have fun with them. You should be your kids’ biggest cheerleader. What is important to them in their world? Help them with that. In fact, participate with them in their interests. Care about their developing heart as it beats to find a place in the big world. Be “real” as you talk honestly about life. It’s a tough world. And tell them about a God who loves them, cares about their life, and will help them work through their problems.
- Let your kids fail without rescuing them. Soften the blow when they are young, but don’t interfere with natural consequences. These strongly teach a child. When they make mistakes, interact with grace. Be loving and kind, yet firmly hold them accountable, and help them as they troubleshoot the natural consequences of their failing.
- Discipline your child. Withholding discipline is a big mistake. You should always be controlled, kind, and respectful to your child. But you must discipline. Don’t be afraid to confront your ill-behaved child with clear expectations and appropriate punishment. Speak firmly and demand obedience. If you handle yourself well and carry out appropriate discipline, you will gain their respect and their heart.
- Deal with your own fears, insecurities, and pride. ALL parents have these. So, don’t deny their presence. Instead, model honest responsibility for your own processes. Model faith in God and dependence on Him. Be humble and strong.
- Teach your child about the Lord. This is critical. Sincerely portray practical faith in Jesus Christ to equip them to live successfully in the unseen world of God’s reality. Teach them God loves them – deeply! Teach them Scripture is real power. Set them up to “live by faith and not by sight . . . and make it their goal to please Him.” (2 Cor. 5:7,9)
- Pray for your child. Ask God for wisdom. He knows your child inside-out. You don’t own that little person. Take your child to Jesus in prayer each day. Point them to the cross by your life, your words, and your love. Love your child enough to do what is best for them, even when it is hard.
- Don’t focus on being friends. Focus on excellent parenting. Your job is to train your child into a healthy, mature, responsible adult. You may one day become friends, but the goal is to raise them well. Keep your role and goals clear. Focus on their needs rather than your desire to be their friend. A good parent will often become a treasured friend later in life. But don’t sacrifice what needs to be done for your child’s development by trying to have a friendship with them instead of doing the hard work of quality parenting.
God bless you as you love and raise your kids! And God bless you if you are a grandparent providing energy and support to this process for your son or daughter.
Bring up [your child] in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4) Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In raising your child, acknowledge the Lord in every issue – and He will direct your paths. (Prov. 3:5-6)