I’m really excited because today, I’m kicking off a new blog series. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be featuring all kinds of topics about parenting. Ironic, I know, since I am not a parent. But I’m not alone. I’ve enlisted the help of all kinds of people who know more about wiping butts and kissing infectious boo-boos than I do.
Some of us had great parents, others left something to be desired. So I’m kicking things off with an easy, not at all impossible to answer question: what makes “good” and “bad” parenting?
I received all kinds of answers. See what you think. And tell me just what you think makes a lousy or amazing parent.
Confession is Good for the Soul
“Good parents confess to their kids when they have been wrong in the way they have handled a situation with them. It is incredibly hard the first time you do it, because it means humbling yourself totally in front of the person who is supposed to obey and respect you.
One thing that screws kids up is being overly critical. I have had to work really hard at over-the-top compliments when they do something right, bite my tongue when I want to criticize, and send up a quick prayer for God’s help in the little things, like wiping boogers off the wall.”
“There’s a double-edged sword of being genuine with your kids. My kids are 13 and 15, both girls. I want to maintain my super hero status, but it’s tough. I want them to know I am not perfect by my own admission and not by their experience with me failing them. I want to present an accurate picture of adulthood. I want to share my shortcomings, but not the sordid details. I don’t want them to strive to be like me if they perceive me to be perfect. Doing so sets them up for habitual failure, not to mention the problems psychologically from never meeting the standard.”
Hug it Out
“One of the most amazing examples of parenting is seen in Genesis right after the fall when God comes to find Adam and Eve. He starts with a series of questions. There are consequences in the end, but He begins by seeking out the hearts of His children. Applying that type of patience to parenting and discipline is a discipline in and of itself. I want my children to experience during a time of discipline and punishment is an overpowering sense of grace.”
Better, Not Perfect
“You wrote a post about parents letting their kids throw tantrums in the grocery store and I so wanted to give you three words: JUST YOU WAIT.
There is not one right way to parent. Most decisions are between two non-perfect options. Thinking there is one right answer to a situation can be very stressful because that means all the other answers are wrong. There are very few absolutes in parenting. I don’t like the labels “good” and “bad” parenting because that implies there’s one right way to parent.
Our research shows there are some things that make mothers better, no matter what they bring to parenting. They are practical know how, emotional resilience, healthy marriage, supportive community, and spiritual growth. The MOPS tagline is “Better Moms Make a Better World.” Better because we all bring existing strengths, none of us will reach perfection, we’re striving to be better than we were yesterday.”
Kids Are Bad
“I believe that kids are naturally bad.
My four year old Power Ranger is freaking horrible at the store…all of the time! I tell him that if he does not stop running around and crying for every little toy he sees, I’m gonna take him to the car. He keeps screaming, we go to the car, I pop him on the butt, we sit in the car until he stops crying, we return to store, and he is…well, not horrible. I did this four times…last year alone!
There is no right or wrong way. Not everything works for every kid. I can give the girl a look and she knows I mean business…the boy…well, I have to spank his little booty sometimes for him to get the message.
You are only a bad parent when you stop talking to your kids, when you stop communicating with them, when you let, TV, video games, or other sources do the taking for you.”
Do You Have An Appointment?
“I do my best parenting when I listen, watch, and simply put the boys first. If I’m attuned to their needs, I put myself in a position to be a loving father. This is true of all human relationships; when we put others before ourselves, we can love them effectively. A seemingly simple, but difficult objective.
On the flip side, I’m at my worst as a dad when I put my schedule ahead of my children’s needs. If I don’t pay attention to my boys, I lose patience when I should be practicing good discipline. All sorts of other failures come when I ignore them, and I’m convicted of this regularly. I see this in the classroom too; children are starving for attention from their parents, and rarely get it.”
I’m Not Your Friend
“A good parent is never a friend to their kids. They are a protector, a nurturer, a disciplinarian, and a cheerleader, but never a friend, except on Facebook. I had one call me from jail, and I left her there over night, but I went and picked her up. My job is to raise adults, not kids, and some days they don’t like it.”
That’s it! What do you think? If you were to give me one piece of advice to make me a great dad, (or one thing to avoid), what would it be?