Are You the Parent You Hoped You’d Be?

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Prov. 22:6

Several years ago I received the following message from a dear friend and national Christian counselor, Dr. Karen Hayter. Her wisdom and parenting tips rings true and is something all of us could implement with our children, grandchildren, or single-parent kids we mentor. No one on this earth is ever going to be a “Perfect Parent.” However, there are some ways to be a successful parent—a parent whose child can make it in this world. Here’s what she sent:

Time with you is more important to your child than money and gifts.
Interest must be shown in what your child is interested in.
Patience in letting them be kids, not little “grown-ups.”
Say “I’m sorry” when you are wrong and expect them to do the same.

Forgiveness, fun, and flexible must be ever most at the top of your mind.
Offer encouragement in your words, attitudes, and actions.
Responsibility is what a parent must teach and a child must have.

Strokes (positive, verbal) are something every child needs, along with hugs.
Understanding and acceptance of who your child is more than what he/she does and/or how he/she looks.
Caring and careful with your comments.
Commitment to what is best for your child, not what makes you look good.
Establish boundaries and stick with them.
Surprise your child with a special treat (letter, balloons, a picnic) for no reason other than you are glad he/she is a part of the family.
Stay in love and in a healthy relationship with your mate. That’s the best security in the world for a child.
Faith is a crucial aspect of a child’s life. Make sure yours is strong.
Utilize your experiences & listening skills when your child talks to you.
Love them.

Pray for them, protect them, and provide for them.
Ask good questions.
Rules, when broken, have consequences; rules, when kept, have rewards.
Enforce the boundaries and the rules—both parents must do this consistently.
Never try to be your child’s best friend—be his/her parent.
Take the initiative to know what is happening with your child & who she/he is hanging out with.
Imitating you is what kids do—make sure you’re providing the right example.
Nothing makes for a successful child like a positive, godly parent.
God wants to be known by your child—be sure you introduce him/her to Him.

Now these little acronyms are provided as a help to you. Remember to relax, but to also be purposeful in your parenting. Decide what character traits you want to build into your children and begin to pray and ask God to help bring about circumstances that would help you teach those qualities. Be sure you are working to keep those qualities in your life. Be gentle with yourself and your child. Check out the “parenting” classes in your area. Read some good books on parenting. Spend plenty of time looking into God’s Word for guidance, especially Proverbs. Think about the mistakes your parents made with you and determine how you can best not repeat those. Look for “teachable moments” and take advantage of them. And always remember—your children are a special and precious gift from God—treat them like that. Finally, remember laughter and love will cover a multitude of sins.

The Power of Truth:
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Eph. 6:4

Suggestion for Prayer:
Ask God to give you the wisdom you need to raise your children.