2 Habitual Parenting Mistakes and Their (Spiritual) Fixes
By Sylvia Cochran – Christian Parenting
Parenting is fraught with missteps, oopsies and outright mistakes. More often than not we the parents recognize a parenting error as soon as it is made. Fixing it is generally a bit tougher.
Some parents decide to maintain a (false) sense of authority by not admitting to the mistake or apologizing; from a spiritual point of view, this is an untenable position.
In fact, there are two habitual parenting mistakes that require an immediate apology and fix. Do you know what they are?
1. Inconsistent enforcement of consequences
Children thrive on consistency and parents maintain their position of authority by issuing predictable edicts and punishments. When mom or dad go back and forth about the enforcement of rules or the duration of consequences, the kids not only lose respect for the parent but may be led into temptation to manipulate their elders.
For example, you tell your child that the video game is off limits for the rest of the week due to a serious infraction; on day three of the consequence you waffle because junior is whiny, you are busy and he really has been good all day. While there is ample room for mercy in parenting, take to heart part of what Matthew 5:37 teaches: Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’.
Tip: Why do you have a hard time sticking to a consequence you set? Maybe some of the consequences are unrealistic or overly harsh? Get some parenting advice from a trusted friend who can help you formulate better consequences; then stick to what you institute.
2. Comparing Sally to Billy (or vice versa)
Parents who have more than one child are frequently comparing notes. Did Sally hit a milestone sooner than Billy? Is Sally a bit slower on the uptake than her brother? At times, this comparison bleeds over into day to day situations and may even be verbalized.
For example, you are eating lunch at a restaurant and while Sally angelically sits in her seat and eats, Billy runs around the table making airplane noises. An exasperated mother may ask Billy why he cannot sit down like his sister. Oops!
Comparing siblings is a huge parenting mistake that not only takes away from each child’s uniqueness but also sets up the siblings for rivalries that can last a lifetime. The story of Jacob and Esau (as summarized in Genesis 25:28) shows how parental favoritism destroyed a sibling relationship.
Tip: Relearn gratitude for your children. Embrace what makes each one unique, even if it seems a bit odd to onlookers. Support the child’s self-esteem by being accepting and appeal to the child’s innate willingness to please you in an attempt to affect change. When all else fails, give consequences and stick to them (see #1).
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