We get it! You love your kids! We all love our kids! But sometimes, even out of a heart of love, we can make big mistakes when it comes to our parenting. We’ve heard it said, “If we just love our children, eventually they’ll turn out alright.” While we would acknowledge an element of truth to that statement, we’d also suggest there are huge downsides to that strategy.
Last week we completed a 5 Part Live video series called “5 Days to Effective Parenting.” If you missed it, it’s FREE and here is the link:
It’s been our experience as we’ve worked with hundreds of families, that often the child does figure it out. If all parents do is love them well, the kids eventually come around. Often life will supply the lessons that mom and dad fail to provide. Unfortunately, the fallout can be the rest of the family; the marriage relationship or the sibling relationships can suffer greatly.
So here are FIVE specific mistakes that we want to encourage you to not make this coming year.
- To ignore the age and stage of our child when we parent them. Parenting a three-year-old as if they are thirteen is not only ineffective it can be frustrating to our child. Of course, parenting our thirteen-year-old as if they are three IS exasperating, as well as ineffective. If you haven’t already seen this, here is a FREE pdf we created, “Ages and Life Stages”. It’s important to be aware of your child’s age and where they are developmentally. It allows us to parent much more effectively.
- To put the project before the people (or relationship). Enjoy your kids! We promise, way too soon, they are going to be gone. When they are always wanting to go elsewhere to play, it can take away from your relationship. Practice saying things like, “We had you to be with you.” Learn their love languages. Remind them often that you love them… not what they do. Have fun, play games, laugh, sing, and dance! 30 years from now, what do you want them to remember? Wow mom sure kept a clean house! Or, home was so much fun. I loved bringing my friends home!
- To turn their faith journey over to others (the experts). You are the first and best discipler of your own children! In case you missed that, let me say it again… “you are the first and best discipler of your own children!” Your child’s faith journey will probably be messy. Don’t shy away. Instead, step into the journey. Let them ask the hard questions… let them doubt… let them struggle. Your pastor, your youth pastor, the school counselor, the coach… they all can be part of your team. BUT, their main job is to support YOU and journey with YOU, the parent! God put you in the strategic role of mom/dad!
- To put your kids before your marriage. If you are married, then hear us… your marriage comes before the children. It’s important for your kids to know that the whole world doesn’t revolve around them. The most loving thing you can do for your child is to love your husband/wife. It brings security to your child. If your marriage is stuck then get help. Look for a Re|engage (marriage ministry) in your local area.
- To constantly rescue your kids. Obviously we don’t let our five-year-old play in the freeway. BUT, too often, out of love for our kids we can find ourselves running interference. We protect them from failing their exam by doing their school project for them. We keep them from getting cut from the basketball team by calling the coach. If we’re not careful, we can rescue them over and over again. Without realizing, we send the message, “You aren’t able, so I have to do it for you.” We inadvertently do the very thing we’re trying to stop by not allowing them to fail, or better yet fight their way through.
Clearly there are other pitfalls to avoid in this coming year. Hopefully these five will give you a place to start. By the way, if you’re interested in more help, next week we will release the first of a FREE three-part video series specifically on helping your child thrive in school.
Have you ever wondered what your child needs to thrive in school? We’ll teach you the single most important quality to ensure your child’s success.
The picture is of our #7 child Keila and a family friend celebrating 500th night at West Point. It’s an annual event to celebrate reaching a significant milestone – 500 more days until his class of 2018 graduates from the United States Military Academy. Each year West Point has 11,000 applicants… only 1,200 are accepted…
The reason we even share this picture is to make a point. Keila graduated from a high school where 75% of the kids received free or reduced lunch. Last year there were approximately 400 freshmen but less than 200 graduates. Before Keila, it had been over twenty years since his high school last sent someone to the academy.
Most people think getting into the right college requires attending the right school system or the right skill set or a lucky break. While there are no magic formulas, there are some important principles that lead to academic success. We’ll share some of those principles beginning next week.