FOUR THINGS I’VE LEARNED AS A PARENT
I am not a parenting expert but I do have 3 amazing kids, one a young adult and 2 teenagers to be exact. I am truly amazed at how well all three of them have “turned out”. In fact, my husband & I were just talking about it this week to a new friend. She was complimenting us on them and asked, how? What did we do? We told her some of the “basic” things I could think of, you know we raised them in church, talked with them about the Lord, my husband and I both have always been very active in their lives, sports, friends, school, and discipline. Our friend replied she too had done all of these too, but to no avail.
Well then, all I know is God. Somehow we or our children or all of us found favor with God. I really don’t know but I am so thankful! Blessed is really the word to use. All three of our children have a calling or gifting from God.
My husband and I were raised differently. We had nothing in common as far as our families. Our upbringings were totally different so we really didn’t have “guidelines” to use on how to raise a good child into adulthood. We had each other and God and a desire to be good parents.
But as I thought about this 4 things came to me that we have to say helped on our parenting journey, maybe you can glean from them too.
- We learned early on to choose our battles. We guide our children as they are young, loving them, disciplining them, showing them the right and wrong, good and bad of life. There comes a time in their lives we have to allow them to make some decisions and we have to choose which of those are worth making a big deal over. Our kids have always listened and been respectful so when little things like the boy’s hair growing longer than we’d prefer or the style they chose to go with didn’t suit us, we decided that was not a battle worthy fight and let them make that decision. If that was the “worse” thing I had to worry over than go ahead and have your way. Some things are just not worth a fight. Did you get that SOME THINGS ARE NOT WORTH FIGHTING OVER, CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES WISELY! Don’t get me wrong, there are some styles and trends that would never be allowed but as long as they are decent, let them choose. Now, this is just one example, hair. You have your own “things” to deal with but if it’s not a moral issue, health issue, or put them in danger than allow them to make a decision.
- Open your home to their friends. We made the decision when our children were young that they would not be staying overnight at friends houses and going to camps for the summer. We would know and be comfortable with whom and where they were. Though they have and do stay the night with just a few friends they are for the most part home every night. However, our home has become THE place to be on the weekends. I’m not sure how this came to be but we have 3-8 extra young people at our home at least 3 weekends a month. Yes our grocery bill has gone up (most are teen boys), most nights we watch a movie and don’t hear half of it, and our 10:00 pm bedtime has moved to 11:00-midnight with being woke up just as we drift off by the sound of feet stomping down the stairs and out the door, but we know where our children are and who their friends are. The peace of being part of their lives outweigh the late nights and high grocery bill.
- We listen to our children and pay attention to who they keep as company. We try to guide them in their friendships and listen to the little things that matter. The big thing is, listen. Don’t always be occupied when they are talking, even when they are not talking to you. Listen, make sure nothing throws up a red flag. If you have to caution them do it in love, not a degrading way.
- I think this point may be the hardest, especially for us moms. Know when to but in (opinion, interfere) or when to stay quiet. There are some things we just need to pray about. If your child has a girlfriend/boyfriend that you are not particularly ok with but there’s, not anything “wrong” with them than welcome them into your home (you know what they are doing) and pray about this relationship. If you hurl your negative opinion at them they will do 1 of 2 things. 1) be sure to stay with that person out of spite or 2) stay away from home/you and alienate you from their relationships. Don’t interfere when it’s not necessary, don’t be a controlling parent, be a loving involved parent. For the most part, time has a way of working things out without our interference. So pray and give them time and space before you interfere as long as lives are not at stake.
Train up a child in the way he should go…….