Most moms are consumed with the question, “Am I a good enough parent?”
Today, for Top 10 Tuesday, Lindsey Bell joins us to talk about how to be a great parent–and how great parents aren’t perfect parents!
Ever felt like a terrible parent?
Yeah, me too.
Earlier this week, it wasn’t even 10 AM and I had already lost my temper with my son over something that—in the grand scheme of things—really didn’t matter.
As I sat in my bedroom and beat myself up over my mistakes, the Lord gently reminded me that great parents aren’t those who never make mistakes.
A bad day doesn’t make us a bad parent.
That afternoon, while my sweet son took his nap, I started thinking about what does make a great parent.
Here are 10 things great parents have in common.
1. Great parents grant forgiveness easily and ask for forgiveness often.
As much as we’d like to believe we’re not going to mess up and yell at our kids or make any mistakes as parents, we all know that’s not reality.
We are human, so we’re going to mess up. Our kids are human too, so they’re going to make mistakes.
Great parents build homes where forgiveness is asked for and given often.
2. Great parents let their kids make mistakes.
Instead of rushing in to make sure their children never fail, great parents allow their kids to make mistakes while they’re in the safety of home.
It’s much better to make little mistakes now (when a loving parent will be there to help them pick up the pieces and work through the disappointment) than to make big mistakes later on.
So the question is, is it safe to make a mistake in your home?
3. Great parents give their kids things money can’t buy.
We all know money doesn’t buy happiness, and yet we often live like it does.
Instead of giving your child “things,” give him something money can’t buy. Give him your time. Give him unconditional love. Help him fall in love with a Savior.
There’s nothing wrong with providing your child with physical blessings, but there are some things money can’t buy. Great parents focus on these types of things!
4. Great parents practice what they preach.
Kids will do what you DO, not what you SAY you do. Great parents model the behavior they want to see in their children. They live with integrity.
5. Great parents teach their children about money.
Many teenagers don’t know how to write a check or balance a checkbook. They don’t know how to live on a budget. They can use a credit card without any problem, but don’t yet realize how debt could affect their future.
Great parents teach their children how to save, how to give, and how to spend wisely within their means.
6. Great parents discipline in love.
They recognize their role in their child’s life. It’s not to be a best friend or to be a drill sergeant. A parent’s role is to guide his or her children and train them toward maturity. This can only happen with loving discipline.
7. Great parents tell their kids they love them, no matter what.
Our kids won’t always behave in a way that makes us happy, but they should always know they are loved. Great parents make sure their kids know they are loved even when their behavior is poor.
8. Great parents love their child’s father/mother.
One of the greatest things you can do for your child is to love that child’s father or mother.
It’s so easy after we have kids to stop investing in our marriages. We’re exhausted. At the end of a long day at work or at home, we’re spent and don’t want to have another person to care for.
The investment is worth it, though, both for your sake and for your child’s sake.
*In some instances, as Sheila has written about in the past, like when abuse is present, loving that person doesn’t mean you stay with them. If this is your situation, you need to know that loving that person doesn’t mean you allow him to abuse you. Sometimes, the most loving thing you can do is create some boundaries to keep yourself and your family safe.
9. Great parents teach their children about loving service.
The happiest people are not those who have it all, but those who have learned to invest in others.
Great parents teach their children the value of serving others. They teach them that true happiness isn’t found in things but in living with purpose.
10. Great parents are fully present.
They don’t allow their work, their hobbies, their phones, their computers or their televisions to become more important to them than their child. There’s a time for these things, but there’s also a time to put them away.
Great parents work hard to find that balance.
I’d love to hear from you. What other tips would you add to this list?
Lindsey Bell is the author of Searching for Sanity: 52 Insights from the Parents of the Bible. She’s also a stay-at-home mother of two, minister’s wife, avid reader, and chocolate lover. You can find Lindsey online at her blog, twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.
Have you ever looked at your beloved children and wondered, what in the world am I doing? Why did God trust me—of all people—to raise them?
Motherhood is the most difficult job many of us will ever take. Searching for Sanity offers moms an opportunity to take a breath, dig into the Word, and learn from parents of the past. In short devotions designed for busy moms, this book uses the parents of the Bible—both the good and the bad—to inspire today’s mothers.