Do you find yourself in a rut, doing the same things with your children you desire to stop? You aren’t alone! Whether it’s doing everything for them or sheltering them too much, we all fall into bad habits. Here are 10 of the craziest things we do, and how we need to stop!
- Doing everything for them.
Let’s face it. Sometimes it’s easier to clean up our children’s toys or pick up their messy room. As parents, our plates are full and training takes work! We just got a new puppy this weekend, and we’ve been watching all the YouTube tutorials on how to train a puppy. They stress that repetition and consistency are key. Our children are the same way. They need to learn how to take responsibility for themselves. Our children need the opportunity to learn things like cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, and any other age-appropriate chore. Make it fun! Turn on some music and dance around with them. Turn it into a game.
- Praising them all the time.
While it is so important to praise our kids, we need to do it in the right way. Telling them they are amazing all the time and that you are proud of them, isn’t enough. We must always tie it back to the gospel. Instead, consider saying something like this: “Wow, I love how God gave you that amazing ability to draw!” Or, “I love the way God is working in your life. I’ve noticed that He’s helping you be kinder to your sister. Great job!” They also need to learn how to encourage and uplift others.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. “
- Never denying them a new opportunity.
Our kids have partaken in many different sporting activities and things like dance. It seems like there is always something new to try out. Just because our children want to do everything, doesn’t mean we should let them. We must teach them to try new things, but not expect to participate in every new activity their heart desires. Sometimes in an effort to help our children discover their talents, we forget that family time and serving others should be at the top of the list. Win or Lose, I Love You, is a wonderful children’s book about the highs of winning and the lows of losing. This book expresses the importance of who we are in Christ, not how we perform. Competition can bring out the worst in us, but it can also be an opportunity to learn impactful life lessons. That’s why it’s so important for kids to understand how to handle winning and losing! Here are three things the book focuses on:
- Replace the selfish characteristics of competition with an understanding of how to treat others fairly
- Overcome the tendency to display poor sportsmanship by using Biblical truths to develop a Christ-like attitude
- Reject the labels of winning and losing and embrace that they are loved no matter how they perform.
- Letting them use too many social media outlets.
Just because our child’s friend uses a certain social media site, doesn’t mean we need to be pressured into letting our child. Our daughter is 10, and there are certain ones (most of them) I won’t let her partake in yet. She constantly is saying, “Mommy, why don’t you trust me?” Kids need to learn that our reasoning is best and can be trusted even if they don’t fully understand. Pray about it and use your discernment. Explain the best you can, but some things your child will just need to learn to trust you about. Social media tends to point the focus at them and breeds a comparison spirit. That’s reason enough to limit it!
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. “
- Not letting them get bored.
“Mommy, I’m bored!” While it’s tempting to busy our children, we shouldn’t fear boredom. Sometimes our children need to experience what boredom feels like. All too often their minds are racing from one thing to the next. Sometimes, what our children are really craving is quiet rest. Boredom inspires the creative spirit! Bring on the boredom!
- Always protect them from any hurt.
No parent likes to see their child hurt. It is something we are amazing at as parents. Fixing boo-boos, hugging an emotionally distraught teenager, and sheltering them so they won’t see what’s really happening around them. Each family is different, and each situation is different. The next time your child (within healthy boundaries) can experience some hurt, see how they process it. What can they learn from it? How can you talk through things with them that you wouldn’t have been able to if you’d shielded them from this hurt?
- Saying yes out of convenience.
We’ve all been there. You just need a quiet moment to yourself, so you say yes to that one thing you know your child doesn’t need. Whether it be too much television or electronics, or something else, figure out ways you can both succeed. Perhaps you have an important deadline coming up, and you want to finish that project now instead of engaging with your children. Take a deep breath, turn the television off, and play with them for 20 minutes. Your work can wait. When we say yes out of convenience, it will become a habit. Our children will pick up on this. What our children need most is for us to really see them, and pay attention to them.
- Sheltering them from poverty.
One of the best things we’ve done as parents is taken our children to a food bank/shelter to serve needy people. Their little wide-eyed expressions I’ll never forget. Our children need to know that they have so much in this life! Talk about people around the world that live in extreme poverty. Get on board with your church’s missions program. In what ways can your children help? Maybe you could even go on a missions trip as a family? Sponsor a child? The opportunities are endless. Talk about how we can’t save the whole world, but we can be obedient to what God asks us to do.
- Not encouraging them to read the Bible.
While I don’t believe bible reading should ever be a punishment for our children, it is something we should definitely encourage them to do. The first way to do this is to show them by allowing them to see us reading the Bible and praying. Talk about how much joy it brings you to fellowship with your Heavenly Father. Our children’s program has quiet time booklets. One day, my daughter was having a bit of a stressful school day. She came home and started doing her quiet time work on her own. Afterward, she told me that it really calmed her down and gave her peace. She was excited about doing this daily!
Psalms 119:130 says, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”
- Making broken promises.
Our children need to know that they can trust us. Let’s not promise them everything, only to retract what we said. Instead, say things like “we’ll really try to make that happen” or “I’ll do my best to work out a time for that play date.” We all know things happen in life, and children will be disappointed. Let’s try to live up to our word as much as humanly possible. Parenting is just hard sometimes. And God doesn’t expect us to do it perfectly. He asks that we rely on him for strength daily. Recognizing these “crazy” parenting habits is the first step to finding the wisdom and grace to grow out of them.
What are some of the craziest things you do as a parent that you know you need to stop?