I want to be the best Dad I can be. If you’re a parent, I’m sure you can relate.
There’s no task in life more important than raising kids, but some days it’s so hard! Parenting is not for wimps! It’s serious business and it can feel like walking through a mine field! None of us has it all figured out, but I’ve studied God’s World and learned some valuable principles from Moms and Dads who are a lot farther along in their journey and I’ve put together a little list of 7 principles to help you (and me) discover how to be a better parent.
1. Take time to listen. There are definitely plenty of times when we need to talk as parents, but often I forget how important it is to listen. Nothing communicates how much you value someone as much as simply listening to what they have to say. By asking questions and listening to your kids answers, you’ll be simultaneously building their confidence and building a stronger relationship with them.
2. Use Action to get Action. My first instinct is to use anger to get action from my kids, but frankly, it doesn’t work. It teaches them to respond emotionally. Dr. James Dobson teaches the principle that parents should use action instead of anger to get action from our kids. There should be clear consequence and rewards for specific behavior and we should always follow through. Our kids crave consistency in our actions and they respond with consistency in their actions.
3. Remember that there is no such thing as “Quality Time.” Somewhere along the way we bought into this myth that “Quality Time” was a good substitute for spend lot of Quantity Time with our kids. I’ve learned that quality comes out of quantity and you can never plan for those magical moments that happen naturally when you’re just spending time with your kids. They need more of you. I know we have to work and do other things too, but let your kids see that they are your priority and that you love hanging out with them.
4. Love your Spouse. It’s easy to fall into the trap where husband and wife cease to becomes lovers and best friends and start to become “business partners” whose only focus in the children. One of the best gifts you can give to your kids is to model a loving, life-giving, committed marriage. Go on date nights, make time together a priority. You will be better parents because of it and your kids will be more confident and emotionally healthy too.
5. Create Traditions. Make the way you celebrate birthdays and special times something the kids always look forward to. Create memories that will last. Many of the will happen spontaneously but other happen as the result of good planning and establishing fun and consistent traditions.
6. Give your kids a foundation of Faith. The Bible says that if you “train a child up in the way he (or she) should go, when they’re old they will not depart from it.” You can protect your kids from every danger in the world, but you can equip them to face it with faith and confidence by creating a foundation of faith. Show them what it means to be a Christian in a secular world. Live out your own faith with authenticity and joy. Pray together (and not just at meals).
7. Give unconditional love AND hight expectations. Your kids should know that you expect a lot from them, but they should also know that your love for them is not in any ways based on their performance. I believe this fits in line with how God (the perfect parent) treats us. He has clear expectations for us and wants us to be at our best but His love for us is in now way based on our performance. He loves us just because we’re His!