Becoming a healthier parent
While many jobs can be overwhelming, demanding, stressful, and difficult, there’s no challenging job greater than rearing and training a child in “the way they should go.” Parenting is the most difficult job an involved parent can have. It requires all of your physical and mental capacity, for you are shaping and influencing someone’s path for this life and for the future eternal life; however, one shouldn’t be too exacting without attempting to become a part of the solution. So with that said, below are some identified ways to better your parenting.
Self-maintenance: It can be difficult giving someone something you don’t have; therefore, take the time to work on your mind. Yes, your mind. The greatest war anyone will ever fight is the battle of the mind. If I can break your mind, I can break you. If I can control your mind, I can control you. Historian, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, once said, “To control a people you must first control what they think about themselves and how they regard their history and culture. And when your conqueror makes you ashamed of your culture and history he needs no prison walls and chains to hold you. The chains on your mind are more than enough.” Question: What are the chains on your mind? Is it your past? Is it where you’re from? What/who are you allowing to control your mind? How can you start making differences in your life daily—starting today—that will make you a better person, and give a better “today” and “tomorrow” for your child?
Sacrifice: When wanting to get your nails done, hair done, spend money on a play, hang out with you boys/girls, or whatever the case, you can’t go if you can’t afford it, because you need groceries for the house and your child needs pampers, clothes, shoes, tuition paid, co-pay for a doctor’s visit, etc. Self-denial is a must for the betterment of your child. Sacrifices will be made if you intend to give your child the best physical and mental life possible. It may be hard at first but the outcome will be well worth it.
Quantity vs. Quality time: Both of these are important, because the amount of time you spend (Quantity) with your child is needed or someone else will; but we all know you can be physically present and emotionally/mentally absent at the same time, which is why quality time with your children are very important. Children need nurturing, guidance, attention, someone to talk to (other than their friends), confidence, affirmation, etc. Be intentional with your child. Ask them how their day went. Ask them what they did in school. Play card games with them. Get on the floor with them and play (if they’re that young). Play the video game with them sometimes. Laugh with them. Sit at the dinner table and eat with them. Be positive and encourage them, but if necessary let them know hard times come and difficulties arise, and when those difficulties some make it a teaching/learning moment from them while keeping them hopeful and joyful. Be truthful. Take an interest in “their” life. See how “they’re” doing. Yes, your days at work are long and hard, but is their day at school long and hard too? Are they being bullied? Are they being mistreated by a teacher? How are they? They’re people too just like us.
Affirmation: Affirmation, acceptance, approval, and identity (AAAI) are essential in the life of a child. It’s a must! Much of the problem in society are a result from the lack of the aforementioned attributes. If most individuals, leaders included, received this, the world would be a much better place. Gender issues, suicide, depression, confusion, anger, hatred, insecurity, fear, and rejection, are often a result of these deficits. Children must have AAAI or they will one day grow up seeking these things in all the wrong places and people, thus furthering the abyss of an already fragile society.
Discipline: Seemingly, in today’s age most parents don’t discipline or know how to discipline their children. There’s nothing wrong with spankings/whippings in love, taking away video games and television watching, and not buying those brand new Jordan’s. I have seen many children terribly misbehave and live in poverty but still receive all their heart’s desire and $100+ pair of shoes. Many children today are running their homes as if they’re the adults. I have also witnessed on a number of occasions parents defend their children when the child is in the wrong. Why is this? What has happened to discipline? Parents, you are not given your children to be their friend. They have their peers for that. Your childhood is over. You are now a parent—their parent. A part of love is discipline. A teenager once told me that her parents didn’t love her because they never disciplined her. Children may act like they don’t want correction, but they know when they’re wrong. You do your children a disadvantage, set them up for failure, and lack of respect for authority when you don’t discipline them.
Patience: In addition while discipline is important, patience, is just as important. Don’t jump down your child’s throat for “everything” they do. There must be balance in all things. Like adults children make mistakes. We are not to excuse the mistake but understand that they are growing and going through process also. Have patience with yourself, and patience with your child, and don’t be afraid to admit your wrong (within reason, developmental, and age-appropriateness of course).
Parental Agreement: Parents need to be on one accord with the rearing of their children. It should not be excusable for the child to receive an answer to a question that’s unsatisfactory to them, and a yes from the second parent they ask the same question when knowing the answer of the first parent. When this happens there is a disconnect somewhere that needs to be repaired and connected. Things such as this can cause tension and arguing in the home if done continually and the child can begin to manipulate the parents and turn them against one another to get their way or divert attention away from themselves. Whatever the cause, there needs to be communication and good counseling sought if necessary. There is no room for selfishness. Remember, your child is at stake and possibly your sanity.
Yes and No: Let your nay be nay and your yea, yea. Say what you mean and mean what you say. A double-minded person is unstable in all their ways. Children need stability. Everything with a yes is not good and everything with a no is not good. Remember, balance.
Being vs. Doing: Most of society lives in a state of doing, but there’s a difference between doing and being. Society has taught us that what we do—accomplish—is what’s important. It has taught us to perform at beat others. It has taught us to measure ourselves by what we’ve executed for the day and throughout life, and in “doing” this we’ve neglected our very “being.” Living in a state of being should influence our doing. When living in a state of being we seek how to please Christ. When living in a state of doing we seek how to please man. Don’t do, be.
Love: We live in a love deficit society. Most people long to be loved and love. Sadly, because so many individuals aren’t shown love, they go on to pass that legacy to their children and the chain/cycle is not broken. Buying your children gifts, feeding them, and putting clothes on them is something any drug dealer can do if they make enough money. That’s not love. Love is going back to all the parenting tips mentioned above, while modeling the desired behavior you wish to see. Tell and SHOW your children you love them.
Spiritual: You are your child’s God. You are God’s representative to them on earth. They don’t know God without you; therefore, watch your conversation and the way you treat them and others, because they’re watching you and modeling your behavior. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” When you intentionally become the best parent that you can be through Christ, while modeling Christ’s behavior, you give your children Jesus and enable them to approach the throne of grace with confidence.
Ephesians 6:4: And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Colossians 3:21: Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 13:24: Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
Proverbs 19:18: Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.
Proverbs 22:15: Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
Proverbs 23:13-14: Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
Proverbs 29:15: The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Proverbs 29:17: Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
Psalm 127:3-5: Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.