Parenting is a tough job whether you have toddlers, teenagers or any age in-between. If you’ve snapped at your kids lately or been frustrated by their behavior, take a moment to review these five ways to become a more positive, purposeful parent now:
#1: Make character building the highest priority. What do you want your child to be like at thirty? Character qualities such as good, responsible, caring, courageous, hard working may come to mind. Culture fights against character building. It values celebrity over character, amusement over hard work. Make sure your priority as a parent is character building; it’s not being a cruise director so your child can be constantly amused.
#2: Reward initiative and effort. It’s demotivating for a child to sweat and work hard, only to receive the same reward as another child who didn’t work at all. Don’t buy into the “participation trophy” mentality in your parenting. Instead reward your children for their effort and initiative. When you see them reach a goal, make a point to celebrate and honor that accomplishment. Reward books being read, chores being done without complaint, test scores improving, better behavior towards siblings, etc.
#3: Teach your children how to manage emotions and do the right thing. The main question these days is “How do you feel about that?” Your child probably doesn’t feel like doing homework. She doesn’t feel like apologizing. He doesn’t feel like going out with the family. We’ve downplayed the power of the will to do the right thing even you don’t feel like it. Ask your child “What do you think about that? What is the right thing to do in this situation?”
#4: Make the Bible and prayer part of everyday life. If you want to pass along a vibrant faith in God to your children, you must model it. You must talk about it. You can pray with your child about a struggle at school. Read a Psalm at breakfast. Join a Moms in Prayer group. Memorize a verse a week together as a family. Find a person to serve together; maybe you can babysit for a single mom so she can get her shopping done. Let your children consistently see your faith in action.
#5: Put good habits in place – one at a time. Studies show that 45-50% of what we do is habitual. As parents, we can help our kids develop healthy habits that will really help them into adulthood. Do they eat food that’s healthy? Are they getting enough exercise? Do they finish tasks? What do they do with free time? If the only answer is “play video games,” think of one other interest or hobby your child can pursue instead and get that change going.
As long as your children are living under your roof, you still have time to make positive and vital adjustments. It’s not too late! When you have a positive, growth mindset as a parent and you put a plan into place for your family, you will have more purpose and joy. I promise!
Which of these five ways do you want to focus on first?