Being a parent is no easy task. Every day we’re challenged with an onslaught of kid-questions, spills, messes and urgent decisions. It’s enough to make a sane person crazy, but it’s also an incredible blast. I mean, who else gets to lead a tiny army of adorable people into the world, right? With that in mind, here are some parenting tips to make sure you keep it together and help your kids grow in grace. Consider this your parenting gut-check for the day.
1. Stay Calm
Dont freak out. As a parent, its so easy to blow things up. Someone spills orange juice and we turn it into a national crisis. Chill out. Things are rarely as bad as they seem. There are exceptions, but they dont happen every day and they never have to do with orange juice or carpet.
2. Dont Argue About Stupid Stuff
Stick to the point. I dont know how many times Ive argued with my kids about little details like who said what and forgot all about the big lesson Im trying to teach them. Dont lose the big picture in the minutia.
3. Remember the Rule of Relationships
When your kids are young you can force them to get in the car seat and eat their veggies (well, kinda). When theyre older you need to parent by relationship. If you dont build a relationship with them when theyre youngyou will have no influence when theyre older and bigger than you.
4. Be Crazy
This is simple but its amazing how often we miss this parenting gem. Do something crazy and silly with your kids. Try a dance party, karaoke, crazy board games or just serenade them in the car. Your kids need to see the fun you. Dont save your fun side for your 20-year high school reunion. Those people dont care about you anymore. Its the little people in the car seats that count now. Impress them.
5. Invade Their Privacy
Yep, you read that right. I mean, Im sure theres a point when you can stop meddling in their drawers (not a good idea when theyre married), but in our house everything is free game. Why? Because I want to protect them and have the conversationsin the openthat need to happen around the dangers of porn, bullying, purity and social media. We make this clear upfront so its never a surprise.
6. Be Thankful
Gratitude spills over to others. If you build a culture of thanks and humility in your houseit will make a huge difference. Be thankful for the sunrise, your job, food on the table, your beat up car, music, hugs, grass on bare feet. Dont underestimate the power of thankfulness for small things (see Ann Voskamps amazing book 1,000 Gifts). The reverse of this is also true. If youre entitled then your kids will likely be the same. Dont raise mini-jerks.
7. Say Im Sorry
When you blow it, dont hesitate to go back to your kids and tell them you were wrongand the EXACT reason why. This could be the best way to model humility, authenticity and forgivenessby letting them forgive you.
8. Step Away From the Device
You kids need to see more than the back of your phone. One of my friends has a phone bag on his door and when anyone comes in his house they have to leave their phones in the bag. This may sound extreme, but it definitely models the value of relationships over technology.
9.Love Your Church
Whatever you do, dont make church about keeping the rules and walking the line. Why do we think so many kids turn away from church when theyre grown? Maybe its because we forget that church is a party about forgiveness and not a punishment for wayward sinners. If you love your churchand the peoplethat will spill over to your kids. Period.
10. Parent With the Gospel
Your kids need discipline, but they also need grace. Make sure and take every opportunity to remind them of who they were created to be and their deep need for a Savior. If your parenting is always about behavior, you lose. Make your parenting about the Gospel and Gods stunning grace for his kids.