My kids don’t need me to be a perfect parent. They need me to be a REAL parent.
One of Satan’s tactics is to get us to think we are failures. One mistake and you have failed. One wrong decision and you are disqualified. Have you ever thought if you don’t get your act together you are going to ruin your kid? I know I have. It is a relief to find out that your kids don’t need perfection; they need REAL.
Here are five ways we can be R.E.A.L. parents:
Remember your responsibility.
Have you ever seen an opportunity to instruct or train your child but you were just too lazy to get off the couch and do it? How about hearing the kids bicker in the other room and it starts to escalate and you go to another area of the house in hopes that it will just blow over and you can just ignore it? I know I have been guilty of both. But REAL parents don’t ignore the problem or situation and use as many opportunities as possible to train their kids how to handle life. Our kids will not be able to correctly handle situations that are thrown at them unless we teach them how to look at it and how to respond.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (NLT)
And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Recognize attitudes and emotions
(I know there is 2 for the R-we couldn’t decide which one to do)
A lot of times the issue is really not the issue. One time we were praising one of our children for doing well in math, for working hard and for actually being a little ahead of her grade in ability. As supper continued an older child began to get snippy and short with us and their siblings. After reminding the child of the proper way to talk to others, it dawned on us what was going on in their head. Come to find out because of our praise, this child was feeling insecure and a failure because they were older and had some difficulty in this particular area. So we took that child aside, we explained to them that just because we praise one child doesn’t mean we are displeased with them. We also talked about how God gifts us differently and that is not bad, just different. If we would have continued to discipline that child for the incorrect tone we would have missed the chance to disarm a lie that Satan was trying to plant in that child’s life. As you teach and train your child ask God to give you wisdom and discernment to know what is going on in your child’s heart that is causing their attitudes and emotions to express themselves in this way.
Luke 6:45 (NLT)
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
Examine your example
Kids are emotionally in tune with those around them, even more so than most adults! Having kids around is like having little mirrors. They mimic you. Have you ever heard the saying, “do as I say not as I do”? Kids have way of proving how ineffective this saying is in reality. Before you discipline your child for the 20th time for the same exact offense, examine your own life. Where were they modeled that example? Kids are influenced by those they love and look up to. They see how you handle stress and irritation and will do the same. Make sure your example is worth repeating.
Titus 2:7 (NLT)
And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind.
Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.
Admit your mistakes
Kids are not dumb-they know when we have messed up or misbehaved. When we do not admit our mistakes and instead hide them or act like it doesn’t matter we send them mixed signals. No one likes to be told they have to follow a stricter set of rules than those who are imposing the rules. When we own up to our mistakes and are humble enough to admit them and ask for forgiveness we are allowing the relationship with our children to be repaired and strengthened. It can also come as a relief to our children to know that they do not have to be perfect, just like we are not perfect. We give them opportunities to see forgiveness and grace played out so that they will have a deeper understanding of how God’s forgiveness and grace works in each of our lives.
James 4:6 (NLT)
And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
James 5:16 (NLT)
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
It is so important that your children know that your love is unconditional. That it won’t change based off of what they do or don’t do, or what they say or don’t say. Conditional love breeds fear and doubt and causes a child anxiety and frustration. It isn’t real agape love at all. It is so important that each day you allow your child to start with a clean, fresh slate. Yesterday was yesterday and today is a new day. Along with that try your hardest to not label your kid, such as they are “just crazy,” or they “have an anger problem,” or they “just can’t get it together.” When we do that we cause ourselves to see our child only through that lens and they will become that, and continue to stay in that mold. Instead, recognize your child’s natural tendencies and then use that knowledge to train them and help them to use it for good and become all God created them to be. If at times your love is conditional based on their performance or behavior spend some time with the Lord reminding yourself of all that He has forgiven you for and it will help you do the same for your child.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Ephesians 3:18-19 (NLT)
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Parenting is hard, but remember that your kids don’t need a perfect parent. They need a R.E.A.L parent. Today is a great day to show them what that means.