Top 10 Parenting Mistakes

Parenting can be a challenge. There are so many conflicting views on parenting that it can be difficult to decide what goals to aim for and which strategy to choose.  Fortunately, the Bible gives some specific directions on how to raise children, as well as what to teach them.

The Bible teaches us that children are to be valued and loved. In order to express that value, children should be brought up in an atmosphere of love and kindness. Children also need to learn how life really works. They learn this best when truth is modeled and spoken within the context of daily life (Ephesians 5:15).

A CHILD NEEDS TO LEARN:

  • Authority: how to follow it rightly and exercise it rightly.
  • Relationships: how to treat people rightly, be a team player, discern the hearts of people, build positive relationships, and guard against destructive ones.
  • Decision Making: how to build confidence and ability in making good decisions. 
  • Words: how to use words rightly.
  • Work: how to develop good work patterns, especially diligence.
  • Money: how to use money wisely and desire to earn it honestly. 
  • Calamity: how to respond when unexpected trouble suddenly erupts.
  • Values: how to distinguish right from wrong, and develop  a high personal value for doing right.

TO THRIVE IN PARENTING:

PRAY for wisdom from God.
GET TO KNOW your child.
Keep on WINNING HIS/HER HEART.
Strive to TEACH HIM/HER the Scriptures in such a way that he/she increasingly learns how to live life in a way that honors God.

#1 Parents are not on the same page

Dad and mom come to the responsibility of parenting with missing, different, or conflicting ideas about parenting.  Perhaps these ideas come from their family of origin, learning they've picked up, or opinions from themselves or people close to them.

This likely means that there is no clear mission or direction toward which parents are aiming decisions.  If the parents don't have a common vision or plan for where the family's going, making decisions will be greatly frustrating.

A lack of common vision means that there will likely be difficulty cooperating as a father/mother team for the good of the children.  Mom and Dad may get along on a personal level, but when each one pulls the family in different directions and at different speeds... this is a recipe for disaster.

No parenting "manual"

Since there is not a book that gives parents what the goal should be for their family or telling them what steps they should take to accomplish the goal.

Parents that are not on the same page tend to default to unhelpful tactics such as:
  • Repeating practices from how they were raised.
  • Doing what is most convenient in the moment.
  • Making decisions without taking time to think about the future consequences.
  • Parenting to make the kids/in-laws/friends happy.
  • Testing out the latest fads and trends in parenting.

Results

The results of parenting in this way is that parents do not end up with a stable home environment.  Parenting practices will be inconsistent and the wills of the children can wear the Dad and Mom until they get what they want.  Frustrated parents then become emotionally reactive with the children and each other.

Children in situations as this can more easily split the parents - play one side against the other - and end up calling the shots in reality.  A consequence of this is that parents end up undermining each other, Dad will tend to emotionally disengage from family life, and mom will be left carrying the bulk of the burden of the responsibility.

Most importantly, the children are not taught what they will need to become responsible and independent adults.

What to do

In short: Get together on your parenting! (Matthew 7:24-27)
  • Have a game plan and set a good foundation.
  • Know what the Bible says about parenting.
  • Be clear on your goal.
  • Be especially clear on discipline.

And...

  • Agree not to be split by the children.
  • Dad should have the final say as the leader of the family.
  • Parents should develop a healthy way to make decisions.
  • Debrief your parenting to learn from mistakes (it's normal to make many).
  • Never undermine each other in front of the children - talk about all sensitive decisions in private.
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