Promise: something that has the effect of an express assurance; indication of what may be expected.
The thing we must understand about parenting is that certain promises and assurances are assumed and expected by the child in the relationship.
When a child is born, by virtue of their birth to the person who birthed them they expect and depend on certain things to happen. They expect care. They expect love. They expect food, and teaching and training on how to talk, walk and behave. Basically, protection, and provision.
All of this is understood in this relationship. If you have children, if your a mother or father then you must be willing to promise all of this.
However effective parenting requires promise at a whole other level.
Making these promises that assure a great development for your children requires integrity.
The very idea of making a promise implies honesty. Meaning, I will keep my word. I am assuring you that what is expected will happen, my word is my bond.
So integrity is key to good parenting. It means you chase hypocrisy out of your life, and you keep your word.
We know the understood promises that we talked about earlier but to be honest those are the basics. Sadly in our culture more and more parents are failing even in these basic parent promises and kids are truly suffering as a result. In society it feels as if more and more children are raising themselves. The promise in their lives has been broken.
Beyond that though, what are the promises, parents who desire to be effective, should make?
1. Continual participation.
This is a promise that seems
To be understood but surprisingly it’s not. You can protect and provide for a child and not really participate in their lives. Some parents parent like they are observing their child’s life from outside of it. You can do things for them but not really be doing life with them. Especially as they get older.
Participation is keeping the promises that are not understood. Going beyond “doing our duty” as a parent.
I see parents all the time especially dads who have a disconnect. They are there but not really there.
It’s fine to use technology and tv and different tools at your disposal to help with your child’s development, but not in place of you. Don’t let your kids grow up knowing their favorite Disney character better than they know you.
1. When your kids are small get down on the floor with them and play.
2. Be focused on your kids not other distractions. Observing your kids playing and watching tv at the same time is not participating.
3. Get involved. Start when they’re young and guide them towards things that are good for them and that they have a bent towards than get involved with them. Don’t watch them play ball only, practice with them at home. don’t just send them for music lessons go hang out with them at the music store. Have them play and sing for the family.
Understand effective parents promise participation and they keep their promises.
2. Training in spiritual things.
One of the biggest hypocrisies I see today are parents who say I send my kids to church because I want them to know what’s right but I’m not much of a church person myself.
That is not raising them right and you are sending mixed messages.
For the spiritual development of your children you need to have a relationship with Jesus yourself. You need to be connected to his church, and you need to lead your children into that relationship. Reading the bible should be a regular part of your life and praying should be your first resort. Then practice what you preach. This model creates such stability, love and positive development in your children. It has to be real however not just a behavior development plan, it has to be a true relationship with Jesus.
3. Total communication
Biggest mistake in this area is to think it doesn’t matter until they are old enough to truly talk about serious issues. Much of what your doing as a parent when your children are small is training and teaching them the proper parameters to know right from wrong with an attitude that gives them the right to be creative and live life to the fullest. A lot of parents wait until their kids are adolescent to truly start parenting. Big mistake!
You want them to be moving towards making their own decisions and taking responsibility when they are adolescent but how will they do that if there has been no real communication to that point. They must be thinking, “you haven’t placed any demands on me for 12 years but now all of a sudden I’m in chains.”
You want them at adolescence to know they can talk to you about anything, but if you haven’t really listened to or talked with them for 12 yrs why would you be their first option? Having conversation is not necessarily communication.
Communication starts immediately be a listener to your children. When that little 4 yr old is babbling non-stop remember to listen. It’s not about what she is saying its about her access to you. Remember when that pre-teen is asking questions non-stop take it seriously and don’t be impatient. Don’t ever send the message that you don’t have time. Because later when they need to talk to you they are going to assume you don’t have time.
There are so many promises we as parents should make to our children if we want to be effective. Most importantly we must keep the promises we make.
Integrity, honesty, and love are tools of the trade for parents. Make sure they are in your tool bag.
If we learn this, I promise you, your kids will follow.
Remember they do what you do more than what you say.
This blog is becoming a book, so I’ll stop here. Just remember effective parenting requires promise. Your word is your bond.