Parenting is something we moms and dads are passionate about. We want to raise our kids well. Sometimes in our quest to “do it well” we fail.
The verse from Galatians 5:22-23 is the vision I have for family life. These are characteristics I value and would like to foster in my children.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
To be honest, my parenting fruit of the spirit can have a few worms in it.
Here are 15 parent fails that spoil the fruit we want to develop in our kids.
15. Breaks promises. (Spoils faithfulness.)
14. Seriously serious. No humor. (Destroys joy.)
13. No structure, boundary-less, no limits. (Rots responsibility.)
12. Drill Sargent. Inflexible. (Damages creativity.)
11. Disengaged, disinterested, or distracted. (Ruins relationships.)
10. Rescues or enables. (Impairs perseverance.)
9. Compares siblings. (Kills kindness.)
8. Lectures or threatens. (Squelches goodness.)
7. Micro-manages. Take over and/or redo their jobs. (Impedes patience.)
6. Schedules every moment. (Reduces peace.)
5. Rules with fear. (Affects self-control.)
4. Shames with sarcasm.( Mars self-worth.)
3. Corrects with criticism. (Eats away at gentleness.)
2. Expects perfection.(Extinguishes motivation)
1. Loves conditionally. (Disfigures love.)
I have done many of these top 15. When I feel overwhelmed and unequipped I get sloppy with my interaction with my kids.
Chances are you have done some of these as well.
We are human. We mess up.
We are human. We can learn another way.
The danger comes when we continue to make the same mistakes and develop a parenting pattern.
Reflect on these 15 parenting fails.
Be a learner.
Stop the behavior.
Figure out a new way to respond.
15. Make promises you can keep. This builds trust and faithfulness.
14. Have fun. Laugh, play, diffuse situations with humor. Life doesn’t have to be so serious. C.S. Lewis says, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”
13 and 12. Enforce rules and set limits. Rules are for all time (Like: We respect each other.) Limits can be flexible. They are made according to each child’s age, stage, personal strengths and weaknesses, and personality. (ex.: We hold hands when crossing the street is an appropriate limit for a 3-year-old. not for a typical 13-year-old.) This trains kids in self-control and shows them how to approach situations with gentleness.
11. Get into your child’s world. Be interested in them. Be present. Time together is the love gift of presence.
10. Allow your child to experience struggles and some natural consequences in order to develop perseverance, responsibility, and accountability. If we want self-control to increase, kids must connect the dots between actions and consequences. To increase the ability to learn, a growth mindset of perseverance must be encouraged.
9. Each kiddo is unique. Value each one’s strengths and work with each one’s weakness. Feeling valued and known increases joy and spurs on the quality of kindness.
8. Listen. Talk. Ask questions or make statements rather than lecture. If we want to increase internal goodness in our kids we will stop the lectures and threats.
7. Train your kids and retrain them for jobs you have given them. Let them own the job. We want out kids to be patient and responsible.
6. Build unstructured, free-time into your child’s day. This will reduce stress and give the child an opportunity to learn how to manage his free time and alone time. This will add peace to the day.
5. Fear only works when the child thinks the parent will discover something has gone awry. Kids become manipulative, sneaky, and rebellious when ruled with a heavy hand. We want our kids to do the right thing and demonstrate self-control even when we are not around.
4. Train don’t shame. Sarcasm is a cruel tool. Be kind. Be specific and clear in your instructions. Our words can e verbal weapons. Don’t attach shame to behavior. Instead give grace and then train for the desirable behavior.
3. Correction doesn’t have to be rejection. Parents can correct without criticizing. One of the best ways to do this is to ask evaluation type questions,”Was this hard for you?” Make correction positive and be gentle in your approach.”I see this was a struggle for you. Let’s try again. I can help.”
2. People are perfectly imperfect. Demonstrate humility, grace, and empathy when your child shows his child-likenesses. Kids will behave like kids. They don’t just know. It takes a lot of slow to grow. Motivation and joy increase when the stress of perfection is eliminated. Of course we want to always strive for our best but our best may not be perfect.
1. Love unconditionally. Love your child when he acts like a kid. Love your child when behaves badly. Love your kid while dealing with difficult moments. Avoid say things like, “You don’t deserve a hug.” Love isn’t earned. Love is a gift.
With God’s help, we an be the parent God has designed us to be.
With faith, hope, and love,