When my wife, Cathy, and I found out we were going to be parents, we were brimming with confidence. We thought, how hard can it be? Then, we had kids. Talk about receiving an education!
Fortunately, God is gracious and merciful to parents and children alike. While raising our three daughters we discovered five strategies that helped us keep a level head while parenting. These principles will really boost your confidence also.
1. Bless Your Children. Kids love praise from their parents and I’m convinced that they crave it. As they grow up, they have a tendency to gravitate toward adults who affirm them. Be that adult. For children, there is no substitute for receiving a blessing from Mom and Dad during these formative years. It will propel them to new heights spiritually, emotionally and relationally as you build their self-image.
2. Overcome Negative Family Patterns. This can be tough if you grew up in a dysfunctional family. Still, you can be part of the “transitional generation” who stops blaming bad behavior from the past as an excuse for bad parenting today. Get help to heal the hurts of your childhood and start setting healthy examples for your own kids.
3. Create a Grace-Filled Home. Tweens and teens love to have a safe place to hang out with their friends, and 99 times out of 100, that place is the home where grace abounds. If the atmosphere of your home is negative or threatening, your kids will find somewhere to hang out where they feel welcome. Creating a welcoming atmosphere at home means increasing the flow of acceptance and grace.
4. Communicate with A.W.E. A healthy dose of A.W.E. (Affection, Warmth and Encouragement) works wonders with kids. You don’t have to be a pushover parent; in fact, leniency does not equal love. But when you are fair, firm and consistent with A.W.E.-filled discipline in your home, you’ll build a stronger bond with your kids. And that will be a tremendous confidence-booster for you as a parent.
5. Raise Kids Who Love God and Themselves. The key is respect. When kids are taught the value of obeying their parents, honoring and respecting God is easy. Obedience makes it easier to establish a loving relationship with Him. But don’t stop there. Give your kids the gift of learning self-respect as well. This could be one of the most precious commodities an adolescent will ever get. Self-respecting kids do a better job of making right and wise decisions in life, and they will learn this self-respect from you, Mom and Dad!