Parenting with Your Spouse, building Godly character together as a FamilyMarriage . Parenting
When I first became pregnant with my first child, I was super excited. I knew I wanted to parent a lot like my own parents, but I also wanted to be the very best mom ever. I got books, and went to classes at church, and listened to everyone’s advice. When my daughter was born, I was so overwhelmed by all the different opinions and advice I had been given that I felt stressed and confused. The first couple of weeks, I just wanted my mom to come over and help me every day. But, I actually never told my mom how alone and scared I was as a new mom. I never really told my husband in those first few years of parenting either. We grew our family fast and in a matter of six years we had six children the oldest being six. We had three biological children and three long term foster children. We loved all our children, but it was a lot.
Each child was unique and had different interests, needs, and likes and dislikes. I often felt like a failure those first few years of parenting.
I was certain if someone could just give me the right advice I would be a better mom. But everyone had different advice. There were so many topics and so many opinions.
Breastfeeding, Formula, No-Tears, Co-sleeping, Crib sleeping, disposable diapers, cloth diapers, pre-school, home school, public school, private school, sports, no sports, family dinner, spanking, no spanking???????
Now looking back, these things were not at all the advice I needed or wanted. I needed someone to tell me…
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Just trust your instincts.
Your doing great.
Take it one day at a time.
Now that I have been a mom for a while, and had the privilege to counsel and help other parents the last 20 years, I think I might have some good Godly advice.
I have seven tips to help parents center their family on what really matters and find joy in parenting.
I hope these tips will encourage you.
- Make your marriage a priority. (If you are divorced or single, you still have to make sure you have a great relationship with whomever you co-parent with or co-caregiver(grandparents, daycare worker, aunt, etc.) Build a good relationship with you partner, make sure you understand what is important to your spouse, and make sure they understand what you value too. Make time to connect and talk often, and listen to one another.
- Work with your parenting partner on making and planning how to best care for, train, and discipline your children. Don’t assume, and don’t argue.
- Make God the center of your relationship with your children.
- Use every opportunity to point your child to God, His Ways, His Word, and His Kingdom.
- Set a Godly example in how you live your life for your children to follow.
- Teach your children to pray, study God’s Word, and Worship Him daily.
- Remain teachable.
Your marriage should always come before your children. Your children will grow up and leave home, but your spouse will remain with you as long as you both shall live. At least, that is the goal. A man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife. Husband’s teach your children to honor and obey your wife, their mother. Wives teach your children to respect and revere your husband, their father. If you have foster children, adopted children, step children, it doesn’t matter. They are all YOUR children. Make it clear that you expect your children to honor and obey your spouse, as if they were their biological parent, because they are the person you have chosen to share your life with.
You and your spouse need to set aside time to be alone and to talk and listen to one another. Your children should know that you take time for each other. I have known people who make it a point to set a specific time of day to just talk to one another, and they tell their children that this is mommy and daddy time. The children are not to interrupt their parents during this time each day. I know some couples that set aside a date night each week. Jeremy and I have “kids put kids to bed night”. Once a week, we tell our children that it is kids put kids to bed night. That means that mom and dad are going to have some alone time, and they have to get themselves and younger siblings to bed that night. We might go out to dinner, we might go get groceries, we might go to our room and watch a movie, or read a book together, or just talk. But this is our set time to be sure we can connect with each other. We also try and take a trip away once or twice a year, even if it is just a day outing alone. During these times we talk about our goals, dream, sorrows, joys, successes, failures, etc. We listen to each other, and discuss how we can be a better couple, family, and parents.
It is important to set family standards and rules with your spouse. It can be five simple basic rules like Listen And Obey, Be Kind, Tell the Truth, Say Sorry, and Don’t hurt others. Or it can be a rule book that explains how you feel about each rule and the consequences for disobedience. The important thing is that you and your parenting partner agree on the rules. Once the standard is set, discuss consequences for disobedience. These may change over time, and with each child and situation, but the important thing is to have a consequence for bad behavior.
As a parent you have to do some practical planning. You have to make time to connect with your children. My dad always connect with my siblings and I at bedtime each night. He would come and talk to us and pray with us. My mom always connected with us when we came home from school. You have to be intentional. You have to get to know your children. Each child will have different needs, and areas that they need help in. As you get to know your children meet then at their point of need. Parenting is feeding, clothing, educating, and discipling our children to prepare them to be successful adults. We have to remember it isn’t just about getting them to do what we want them to do, but to get them to want to do what God wants them to do.
Every moment of every day is an opportunity to teach our children about God.
The best way to truly teach and reach our children with God’s truth is to live them out ourselves. We can not expect our children to behave any differently than we behave in front of them. If we are rude, unkind, selfish, unforgiving, and mean to others, then we should not expect our children to be any different than we are. But if we are humble, quick to forgive, and eager to apologize, patient, and loving then we should expect that our children will also become these things. Now don’t expect your immature child to just grow up and be perfectly behaved because you had one good day in front of them. No, you are human and will have bad days, and your child is a human who is not fully developed in mind, body, or spirit. Do not expect perfection from yourself or your child, but do expect obedience, improvement, and growth in yourself and your children.
We can not assume that our children will just love God and His Word. Taking them to fellowship and doing Godly things is not enough. We must pray with our children, for our children, and over our children. I pray that my children, and now my grandchildren, will have a unquenchable hunger for God’s Word. I want God to pour Himself into my children. I want my children to desire Him more than anything else. I also teach my children how to pray and worship. We have a family worship time weekly, and we have a morning prayer time, as well as, our daily prayer of The Lord’s Prayer that we pray at lunch time. Teach your children to pray and worship.
Lastly, always be teachable. Never stop learning, and teach your children to always find something new to learn every day. When we stop looking to learn new things, we become stagnant, we lose our passion. We want our children to be passionate and find purpose in life. We want that purpose to be to serve the Lord. We teach them to seek Him, by always seeking Him ourselves.
This is probably not the parenting advice you were expecting. The truth is there is really only one thing that matters when it comes to being a good parent, and that is training our children in righteousness. All those other things diet, schooling, bedtime, clothing, etc. will all find their place when we seek His Kingdom first.
Written by Katie
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