Monday, January 9, 2012

7 thoughts on parenting

Anyone who knows me and my kids knows that I'm no expert. My children misbehave in Sunday School, get occasional detentions at school and yell and sulk as much as the anyone else's. But I've been reflecting on parenting lately. Here are some thoughts. What do you think?

1. There's a fine line between assuming right responsibility for raising our kids and feeling overly responsible. If we cross the line we'll soon become disheartened, proud or controlling. (There's also a line in the other direction separating irresponsible parenting from appropriately responsibility parenting. Let's talk about the issues on that end of the continuum some other time.) 

2. Our children are separate human beings to us. Just like we can't change our spouses or our friends, we can't change our children.

3. The nature vs nurture debate has been raging for decades, but everyone concedes that genetics plays a very large role in things. Much of ourselves is set from conception.

4. The best parents I've seen in action are great parents because they embrace their children for who they are. Their bookish kid is a bookish kid who they love - and they help their bookish kid to work out how he can be a bookish kid who loves Jesus and lives for him.... not trying to make him less of a bookish kid in the process.

5. Troubles can come when we try to live through our kids - either by giving them opportunities that we didn't have or didn't exploit (imagine the worst ballet mum) or by trying to re-write our own history and personality through them (we see in them bits of ourselves that we hate and try to beat it out of them.)

6. After the age of... maybe 7? ... on the spot kiddy discipline doesn't really cut it anymore. Smacks, naughty chairs, electronics media restrictions... The child will still be unrepentantly angry/defiant/disobedient etc until they choose not to be. We need to ask what is really going on and address that.

7. Our best allies in helping our child overcome their weaknesses (through the holy spirit, of course!) can be their strengths.


  1. #1 - Yes, there is. I tend to cross the controlling line too often (surprise, surprise). It takes wisdom to figure out what we are actually responsible for!
    #2 - No, but the Holy Spirit can change what needs to be changed.
    #3 - Oh yeah.
    #4 - Is there a 'best' type of parent? I know I am personally nothing as a parent without Christ. When my parents tell me my kids are great, I try to say 'yes, but it's just the personalities of kids we ended up with, and I am constantly relying on God for help'. Even with other school mums.
    Also, balance is (obviously) really important. Even bookish kids need exercise. Modelling balance is probably the best strategy?
    #5 - absolutely
    #6- can't comment - just. Not looking forward to it. All i know is that what you lay down before that time apparently has a lot to do with how they are after that.

  2. Thanks Helen.

    re #2 - Of course. Do you think the way the HS works in kids is any different to how he works in adults?

    #4 - By 'best' parents I mean those who have impressed me most over the years. Modelling balance, of course, but also direct teaching (telling!)

    #6 - Look forward to it! I love that I can now relate to my kids as the on-the-way-to-adult people that they are!

  3. #6. We are discovering this in our house at present. I agree with you. Asking them what the problem is sometimes works for us, although we generally find we need to give them some space and time (often this involves sending them to their room to think about it) before they will tell us...

  4. The longer I parent the less I seem to know! But what I DO know is that it's always a heart issue, not just an external behaviour, and part of our job as parents is to - in no particular order - (1) help them see the heart issue,(2) point them to Jesus and the Holy Spirit to change that heart issue, (3) love them, love them, love them and (4) pray like crazy!!!!
    :) Tash.