Some one asked me, “Off the top of your head, what are some key pointers on being a good parent?”
Well here goes:
- My first point will hurt some of you. This is not intentional but I still have to say it. Work on a healthy marriage relationship. It needs time and effort. The better this is, the more at peace your children will be. It gives comfort and security.
- Set a consistent examples in all matters – not only, but especially spiritual. If you muck things up with your child, confess your sin/mistake seek their forgiveness. That is a powerful example.
- Set clear boundaries and have consistent consequences when they are overstepped. Kids can’t handle parents whose boundaries are hot and cold. It creates uncertainty and a multitude of issues.
- Know your child. Be aware of their temptations and weaknesses ( and look beyond the obvious as they can be sneaky while appearing upright – in other words they are sinful like us!). Chastise, nurture and correct accordingly. You don’t have to use identical methods with all children. Being sent to their room might be a pleasure for the quiet child but unbearable for the social child.
- Don’t give young children too many choices. Giving choices is not a sign of good parenting. With young children it gives them a power and authority they cannot handle.
- Parent according to the age and maturity of your child. Don’t give too much freedom to a young child and when an older child shows trustworthiness and maturity expand their freedom.
- Take an interest in your children. This is especially true for fathers who often have a hands off policy. Show them love and appreciation. A simple practical example: boys who don’t see their father read, seldom like reading. So, make sure you read to and with your children – especially sons. Also dads, remember you are the model of being a male to your sons and your daughters.
- Have regular times of serious and fun worship. Teach (and memorise) the Bible, have times of prayer and singing. Don’t make it a chore as this leads to legalism.
- Finally,but not exhaustively, create intentional memories for your family and work on family identity. I’ll say more about it some other time.
Family is intended to be a place of warmth and pleasure and not the snarly back biting jungle it too often becomes. My prayer is that your family is a source of joy and pleasure, despite the hard work.