Will the perfect parent reading this please raise your hand?
While we all want to be the best moms and dads possible, most of us freely admit to making mistakes in our parenting. For those times when we know we’ve blown it, how thankful we can be that God made young children so willing to forgive us when we come to them in love and ask for it.
A certain event at our house over the weekend caused me to consider some of the mistakes I’ve made in parenting. Here’s a list of five, though I could certainly come up with more! I’m sharing these today in hopes that I’ll recognize them more easily in the future and hopefully limit their recurrence.
1. Attempting to parent my children in my own strength without asking God for His help. I could probably avoid most of the other mistakes if I could remedy this one each day. Situations arise for which I have no answer, but if my first response is to ask God for His help and wisdom, I can be sure I’ll head down the right path.
2. Assuming I know what happened in a particular situation before getting all the facts. This is the good ol’ case of jumping to conclusions! It’s closely related to our latest incident. I hope this has taught me to be slower to react, to give as much thought as needed to the problem, and gather as much information as possible.
3. Taking my frustrations over an unrelated difficulty out on my children. This usually means I’m being short-tempered with them and not responding properly to their needs. Because my mind is preoccupied with other things, I don’t take the time to deal with my children as lovingly and gently as I should.
4. Talking about my girls to other people in front of them. I believe this starts when they’re infants; just innocent, casual conversations with other moms about our kids. However, as they get older and actually listen in, it can become something that makes our children uncomfortable. I was surprised when our older daughter had her feelings hurt because of things I was saying about her. They weren’t negative or embarrassing, but she did not like me discussing her with other moms. I am striving to do better in this area.
5. Putting other tasks ahead of spending time with my girls. I need to take time whenever possible to be with them, even if that means putting off other chores. Key times for us are when they come home from school and at bedtime. That’s when they seem to have a lot to communicate and I don’t want to miss that. I also want to take time just to do things they want to do, even if it’s as simple as sitting on the couch and reading a book together.
So now you know some of the mistakes I’ve made (glad I don’t have to share them all!) These are definitely areas in which I’m trying to get better. I hope by God’s grace to continue to grow in this area of child-rearing.