Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Avoiding the Super-Parent Trap"

A recent issue of Christianity Today had a cover story entitled, "The Myth of the Perfect Parent." As I read it, I found myself mulling over the many parents I've worked with who seem to be obsessed with turning out great kids. In fact, I had to admit that there were times when I felt huge pressure to make my own children be everything they were supposed to be.

And while I'll let you read the article and see if you agree with their premises or not, let me suggest a few of my own cautions about putting too many demands on ourselves to never mess up in our parenting.

First of all, when it's all said and done, God has the ultimate say about our kids' futures. Yes, parenting matters and scripture certainly gives us some guidelines about being wise and healthy parents but it's not all up to us. In fact, I'm a little surprised how little the Bible specifically says about child rearing. Nonetheless, we can do everything perfectly so to speak and our kids can still choose to go other directions.

And we can make huge mistakes and our kids can still turn out well.

When Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it," God's not giving us a money back guarantee, but rather a general principle.

Second, there's no such thing as a perfect parent. We simply can't do everything right. We're to be like Jesus as much as possible but we're not Jesus himself! We need to let go of any such parental illusions of grandeur.

Third, as the CT article points out, many of the heroes of the faith in Scripture did not live in model homes. Just look at the list of Bible greats in Hebrews 11 and you'll find many who had a rough growing up period - Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Jephthath . . . the list goes on and on. Our notion that somehow our kids MUST turn out right and we MUST be great parents for that to happen is simply not true.

Fourth, hovering, domineering, obsessed parents are generally more a pain than a help. Parents who are hyper about their kids' behavior and responses generally become "helicopter" parents - they just hover all the time and never let their kids mess up or make their own decisions. But it's during those times of challenge, struggle and crisis when we learn our greatest lessons, isn't it?

So what's a wise parent to do? First, pray a lot. Pray every day that your kids will be wise, make good decisions, get to know God better and become who God intended for them to be.

Second, do your best to teach them what is means to follow Christ with all your heart. Speak about it, model it, live it as Deuteronomy 6 describes it. Be consistent and faithful. Be real and honest. Let them see your faith in the good times and the bad.

Finally, love them as a unique individual who is fearfully and wonderfully made. Let them know what it means to be cared for no matter what while giving them challenges and guidelines that cause them to take the high road.

And if you're worn out trying to be a great parent, then slow down and relax. God is still in control, even during those times when you're not!
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

No comments:

Post a Comment