So we've been having a series in church about family life and today was the last and final part focusing on parenting. It really hit home for me & I feel like I have to share it with you.(Listen to the podcast here)
Parenting: It's not about controlling their behavior,
it's about capturing their hearts
Parenting is tough, and we make mistakes. We have messed up and we will continue to mess up. We're not perfect, and thats ok. Don't bee too proud to let your children know: "Mommy &/or Daddy isn't perfect and I'm sorry, but thats why you have Jesus. He can heal you and your heart if I hurt it or if I can't help you heal it. I don't have all the answers but he can help me love you better if you pray for me, just like I pray for you."
Surround yourself with Godly parenting examples, glean from them. Observe & listen. Our parenting requires 4 stages: Discipline, Training, Coaching and Friendship. First things first- if you're a single parent sit down and make a list of the things you want to to teach your kids and the things you will absolutely not stand for. If you're married, make sure you both agree and that you back each other up instilling and drilling in these core values. The example used where the non tolerable Dx3- Disobedience, Dishonesty & Disrespect.
Starting with Discipline (Ages 1-5) You must TEACH your children that there are consequences for their actions- GOOD and BAD. ***Be extremely careful when it comes to physical discipline. In the heat of the moment discipline is just a hairline away from abuse. Don't cross that line, don't lose your child, this is considered disrespect and it causes distrust.
It doesn't matter how you do it but do it- discipline diligently, consistently and calmly. Remind yourself that "the days are long, but the years are short." They grow up so fast and before you know it they are out in the world and the biggest thing they take with them is the memories you shared and the things you instilled in them. Discipline them in their mistakes and PRAISE them in their efforts, accomplishments and successes. It is equally important that you purposely catch them doing right. Shed light on their positive actions, it's both empowering and encouraging to them.
Training (Ages 6-11) This is reinforcing the foundations, it includes discipline but it's a different type of discipline. In their early stages you teach them to do things your way, in this stage they start thinking and making their own way. Tell them daily "God has a plan for you and you do not want to miss it!" Drill your love into your children by continuously encouraging them and reminding them they are loved. Help them make the right decisions but don't make decisions for them. Let them fail, don't bail them out. This will teach them that things go wrong, and it will encourage them to seek your guidance. The stakes are low at this age, resiliency is a great thing to learn early. Ask them: "What do you think Jesus would do?" allow them to think and come to conclusions. I think the reason why "Common sense" isn't so common these days is because people tried too hard to control the actions of their children without making them think about it. Once they were old enough to break free of the control they had no incentive to think deeper.
Coaching (Ages 12-18) Give wise council. It's important that you teach them early on to show respect to you, their siblings and themselves. Cultivate speaking life. Daily tell them something positive about them, something you love. You must tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. You are the parent not the friend! They have plenty of friends in school! Do NOT fear that they will stop liking you- they probably will and that's OK, because later they will and later is longer that right now. A quick way to know how you're doing in your parenting: stop and listen to the way they talk to their dolls, their siblings & their friends. They're little mirrors! You will hear yourself come out of their mouth often, so give them something positive, kind and wise to repeat! When they're in the wrong, don't get mad, get grieved. Draw near to their disobedience & remind them that there is a better way.
Build them up daily- you are their advocate! It is not your job to control their actions, it's your job to capture their hearts by showing them love and appreciation- because mom/dad, if you don't do it they will go out and seek it from somebody else. Capture their hearts with YOUR LOVE and lead them closer to Christ.
"I did things wrong but God has a better way for you" Allow them to learn from you so they don't have to search for the answers in the world. Openly speak about relationships. "Purity paves the way. " "There's no shame in waiting!" "Don't act like you're married when you're not" "Always make your intentions known" "Foreplay is not end play" SEX IS NOT FOR GROWN PEOPLE, IT'S NOT FOR INLOVE PEOPLE, IT'S FOR MARRIED PEOPLE. Keep it that way and avoid the void in your soul and the pain in your heart.
If you lay your foundations right and capture their hearts you will have made a friend for life. Your children will seek your advice, will look to you for comfort and will take heed in your words.
Stay blessed. Love your children & remember: Dare to be loved! <3