This week, I told my wife I wanted to write an article on “How to Be a Great Parent.”
Her response was, “Who do we ask?’
Because we made our share of mistakes. But we learned along the way, from what seemed to work and what didn’t, seminars, counseling, and lots of reading from more credentialed experts. Which is where this material came from, by finding the best and most practical ideas from all those sources.
Some related ideas on parenting are captured in the STEPS Journey Blog articles on “10 Mistakes Parents Make” and “How to Protect Your Kids from Addiction.” There, you will learn about 10 critical behaviors that contribute to the happiness or heartbreak your children will face in life.
If you integrate those behaviors into your own life, and do what you can to teach them to your kids, you will help them build character that will protect them and serve them for the rest of their lives.
How to Be a GREAT Parent
As you move along the parenting journey, there are some fundamental principles that, if followed to the best of your ability, will help you develop into being a G-R-E-A-T parent:
G – Goals and boundaries
- Work with your kids to set positive and age-appropriate goals.
- Set boundaries and consequences before they are necessary.
- Ensure boundaries are fair, clearly understood, and consistently enforced.
- Follow Ephesians 6:4 – “Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
R – Relationship
- Commit the time to be with them, sacrificing other activities.
- Spend lots of time having fun doing whatever they want to do.
- Become aware of who they really are and notice behavior trends.
- Early on, build relationship equity you may need for the teenage years.
E – Example
- Model the 10 critical behaviors in “How to Protect Your Kids from Addiction.”
- Understand that your kids are watching everything you do, including drinking.
- Try to slow down the onslaught of negative culture from TV, movies, music, etc.
- Remember that their image of God is formed, at least partially, from their parents.
A – Activities
- Encourage their active involvement in positive activities.
- Let them do what they like, are good at, and get satisfaction from.
- Help them build personal confidence and avoid boredom and isolation.
- Make it fun rather than stressful, and don’t obsess on performance.
T – Teaching
- Find winsome ways to establish a spiritual foundation in the home.
- Discuss positive character traits and what they mean in life.
- Talk about why friends matter before it becomes an issue.
- Teach drug awareness with factual information versus preaching.
Let Them See God in Your Life
Above all, let your kids see that God is real, and that he is the most important thing in your life.
This includes ensuring that love and grace, along with an expectation of obedience, are things they see every day. When you don’t know what to do, do the best you can to emulate how God parents us with love, forgiveness, and support. Know that when you set fair and proper boundaries and enforce them in love, you help your kids find their way in a sometimes-confusing world.
Encourage them to develop their own personal relationship with God. After all, they were designed by him, and each was gifted with their own special qualities. God knows each of them personally, and he is eager to be their friend and supporter, even at an early age.
What better gift can you give your kids than to help them know they are deeply loved by an all-powerful God who is there to guide and look after them, both now and for the rest of their lives?
That is how to be a great parent!
Question: Which of the five parenting principles above are you naturally good at?
Action: Pick one of the five principles and commit to work on that area for the next 30 days.