I was told today that I have done an amazing job parenting.
I honestly did not know what to say.
After a short pause, I finally responded, “It’s not me, it’s God.” As to which she quickly pointed out, “Yes, but you have done something!” I replied with a quick thanks and moved on.
Being told I have great kids or well behaved children is really nothing new. But this comment took me off guard, and I was taken back a bit. I am still not sure why. It came from a long time, trusted friend who has known my family since my children were just babies.
I have been thinking on this all day.
My husband and I learned many years ago that well behaved children is not the goal. That is simply behavior modification.
We, as parents, had to come to the conclusion together that well behaved children was not what we were looking for.
Well behaved children look good. Actually, it feels good too when people tell you your kids are well behaved. But we were missing the point.
I DO NOT WANT WELL BEHAVED KIDS!
Listen up mom and dad!
What I know now is, I want godly adults. Adult children who know the Lord, love the Lord, and want to serve the Lord all the days of their life.
Maybe today, the realization of just that was surfacing. I can see my children love the Lord and want to learn His word. It was not just an observance of behavior, but a glimpse of my child’s heart.
To God be all the glory!
Of course my kids are certainly not perfect. They struggle with sin just like me and any other person. Granted, they are not adults yet, but they are following the right road.
Parenting is never a guarantee. We could do all the right things and still not have the result we want. That is just a reality.
And here is another reality, they may turn their back on all of the teaching and training well into their adult years.
We never know where their life experiences and choices will take them.
But we can do our best.
Here are some tips in parenting for godly adults, NOT well behaved children:
1. Be intentional!
Nothing every comes out right with just flying by the seat of your pants. Well almost…
2. Know the result you want.
Like I said earlier, our goal is no longer to have well behaved or “good” kids. We want to raise godly adults. With this goal in mind our parenting looks much different. We want to capture the hearts of our children.
3. Set the standard.
All people, especially children need to know the standard ahead of time.
4. Discipline and be disciplined.
Children need discipline! They do not become well behaved all on their own. If you do not discipline your children when they are young you will have undisciplined teenagers and adults.
Part of the problem is that we have a bunch of undisciplined adults running around trying to parent. You cannot discipline your children if you have no discipline yourself.
Discipline is hard work.
Break the cycle.
5. Uphold Natural consequences.
We have always been firm believers in natural consequences. I firmly believe part of the problem in this culture is we have taken away the natural consequences of our behaviors. Natural consequences give accountability to our actions.
Here is a great quote from Frank Reagan, “It’s hard to learn from your mistakes when there is no consequences.”
(For those of you who do not know who Frank Reagan is, he is the police commissioner on Blue Bloods. He is played by one of my favorite actors, Tom Selleck. There is a little personal information. 😉 )
6. Train your children.
Training is crucial.
Why do people stop us in the restaurant or Costco and comment on our well behaved children? Because we have trained them appropriate behavior from a very young age. They cannot learn how to behave in public if we leave them home every time we go out.
This is where you can gauge how well the discipline is going as well. If you have not trained them in obedience and good behavior at home, they will certainly show you in the middle of the store.
7. Teach your children the Word of God!
This is something in round 2 of our parenting that we have taken a hard core stand on. We have tried to saturate our children in the Word of God and let the Word come alive to them before their very eyes. Our extra curricular activities revolve around the Word. There are great programs out there for kids of all ages that focus on the Word.
We do not push our kids into “saying a little prayer and accepting Christ.” We want a change of heart. Repentance.
8. Church is not an option.
Our kids know that short of serious sickness we will all be in church. Church attendance is not optional. If we are out of town, we find a church. This is for our sake as mom and dad. We need to be connected and accountable. We need good preaching of the Word to refuel us. We have seen many adults fall a way and it all began with the habit of missing church.
It is also important that the church you attend is kid friendly. Your church is there as a support system for your whole family, not just mom and dad.
9. Teach your kids to serve.
Serving teaches children that it is not all about them! We need a good dose of this in our culture right now.
Serve along side of each other. Be in a church that encourages and strengthens families to serve. It truly is an amazing thing to watch young people serve in their church. It gives them a sense of belonging and ownership.
10. Control their climate.
We have tried to strategically place godly people in our children’s lives. Connect your kids with godly adults! Weed out the bad kids, and encourage godly relationships with good kids.
My kids are connected with godly adults in various ways. These are men and women I trust completely and have known them a long time. I believe when kids see that their parents are not the only ones leading them to truth, and other adults are backing up godly living, it verifies what mom and dad are teaching. They seem to be less likely to rebel against parental authority.
11. Let your older children converse with you.
This could go under training as well. Our kids learn conflict resolution from us. We want our kids to be able to question us, but that comes with boundaries and always handled respectfully.
There are times things are not open for discussion and we simply tell them it is not open for discussion. But as parents, we also need to speak with kindness and respect.
I always want my children to know that they can come talk to me about the good, the bad, and the ugly. The only way I can do this is to allow them the freedom to speak to me about anything. But remember, this needs to have boundaries. As the child grows older those boundaries will broaden but always, always keep it within the fence of respect.
Remember your kids are not your own. They belong to Him. We are merely the stewards of our children. Let Him lead and guide both you, and your child and you will have amazing kids.
What are some things you have found in your parenting journey that are great tips for fellow parents?
Blessings to you and your family!