So much of parenting is actually about the parents.  What we do – how we respond or react has a direct impact on how our kids respond or react.  Today is a quick tip episode.  I have 10 subtle things that parents do that makes parenting hard.  But don’t be hard on yourself – We all do these things at some time!  But we can learn to check ourselves and learn new ways of parenting.

This is just a quick list type of episode  – let me know if you want me to dig deeper into one of these things by sending me an email!

 

  1. Talk to our kids before they are listening; for some reason, we think because we speak they listen. Instead, make eye contact before you speak – make sure you have their attention.

 

  1. Assume they’ve understood; just because you thought you were clear and they should understand doesn’t mean they have. Check that they know what you mean. Get them to repeat it back before they go and do anything.

 

  1. Forget our manners; just because you are the parent, or the adult does not mean you can just be demanding or demeaning. Remember they are people too – use your please and thank you’s, interrupt them respectfully, look them in the eye, smile when you greet them etc.

 

  1. Give negative instructions rather than positive ones; it is much easier to say, “Stop it!” or “Don’t do that”. Instead, give children full instructions on what to do. “Please stand still”, “Please hold that with 2 hands”, “Please use inside voice”.

 

  1. Make everything about obedience, though obedience is important they’ll soon tune out. Sometimes diligence or self-control, or orderliness might be better character traits to focus on. To be self-governed our children need more life skills than obedience.

 

  1. Remember their wrongdoings and mistakes – don’t forgive and forget. True forgiveness means they start with a clean slate after every heart issue is discussed and resolved. When a relationship is restored we need to give them hope that they can do better, hope that they can grow.

 

  1. Correct them publicly and loudly. There comes a time when we really need to respect the dignity of their personhood (at least by 5). Heart issues are a private matter – how do you feel if someone exposes your bad heart in public? Our kids are people too.

 

  1. Distracted with our own world. In order to be consistent, we must be aware and alert – this means we cannot afford to get absorbed in our own world – our own conversations, entertainments, activities, or thoughts. Even when the kids are working or playing independently we need to be aware of the choices they are making and the heart that is driving those choices.

 

  1. Stingy in our Encouragement – Our children thrive on encouragement. We should be giving more praise than corrections, on a daily basis. The key is to encourage our children on the choices they make – the character-based choices and effort – regardless of the outcome.

 

  1. Nag, threaten, remind – above all – don’t nag: let your yes, be yes and your no be no. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Keep to your word – if you don’t mean it – don’t say it. All these reminders are to help us be active in our parenting – parenting isn’t something we can do verbally, parenting needs action.

 

You could be forgiven for thinking that if you don’t do these things that make parenting hard then maybe parenting would be easy. It would be nice if that was the case. There is no quick fix or magical formula for parenting success. But yes, I believe if we start practicing the opposite of these 10 actions we will make life easier for us, and more heart-focused and relationship-focused for our kids. Worth a try! I can’t promise easy – but I can say it will be easier.

Heart-focused Action Step

Did you connect with any one of those 10 in particular?    Like I said at the beginning – you can now hear yourself, pull yourself up, and correct or redirect your parenting actions.  That is what intentional and heart-focused parenting is about – it is about you and your heart – your beliefs, emotions, and choices as much as it is about our kids.

 We want our kids to learn how to reflect on their heart and how to make changes in their life – we need to do that too – and parenting, or our family life is one sphere of life that gives us plenty of opportunity to do just that.  So please don’t be hard on yourself – recognise that there is an area you need to grow in and make steps towards learning new ways.

Further Reading:

How to Help your Children Hear You, instead of Blah, blah, blah:  Our children hear different words when we react to when we respond. Do your children hear blah blah blah when you correct them? Includes a parenting poster.

The Only Thing to do When you Don’t Know What to Do:  Who do you turn to when you don’t know what to do? God? Friends? Internet.

Do You Want an Intentional, Relational, Heart Focused Family Life? When you have an intentional, relational, heart focused family life you give yourself an opportunity to shape your children’s character and guide their convictions.

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Over to you:

Do you connect with any of these 10?  Would you add something else?

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