Make Use of the Day Parenting
I hope you are enjoying our Parenting A La Mode series. If you would like to read the introduction so you can better understand what these unique titles mean, you may do so by clicking here.
Today I am writing of carpe diem meaning to make use of the day. As parents how can we make use of today? We could start by getting some advice from older, more experienced parents. We could even start by asking these three questions:
- If you could do things over again, what would you do differently?
- What was the best thing you did as a parent?
- What advice would you give to younger parents today?
This would be my reply:
What would I do differently?
I do have many regrets in parenting; some I could control and some I had no choice because I just didn't know any better. Experience teaches more than any book or class, though either one of those could have better prepared me for my parenting journey.
For generations, the first-comes-love-then-comes-marriage-then-here-they-come-with-a-baby-carriage mentality supported mostly trial and error style parenting. There were no manuals or textbooks. Parents did not feel it was necessary to train their older children skills that would make them better parents someday or parents simply neglected to do so. Therefore, we are witnessing a decline in strong parenting skills in America today. Each generation has parented differently than they were parented; with less conviction and purposeful direction.
Before I had my children, my mentality was that children were to be raised to immediately obey my every command with a hearty “yes, ma’am” and “would there be anything else you would like for me to do, ma’am” attitude. (Do you know of other childless individuals who feel this way?)
Then after we had our first child, I thought I would teach her that when Mommy spoke sternly, she was in trouble. All other tones of voices were used for other less serious offenses.
What my children learned from this was to finally obey when Mommy used her stern voice. This did not produce the results I desired.
I had to learn to speak softly, even when they were in need of discipline. I did not realize the fullness of this until I heard them speak “sternly” to others when they were upset. They needed to know that to respond in an angry tone of voice was not acceptable.
What was the best thing I did for my children?
The best thing I did for my children, other than to teach them by example, was to love the Lord with all of their hearts and love His Word. For me, I had to be as consistent as possible. (This was NOT easy for a mother who is motivated by FUN. Find out what motivates you by reading more about it here.)
As a child, for as long as I can remember, my own mother “preached” living a consistent life…being consistent in everything. I knew taking up this mantra would be the best thing I could do for my children. Being consistent is one of the largest challenges we parents face: “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” (Matthew 5:37 NKJV).
When putting consistency in practice, many times you will have to ask yourself, “Do I want to get up, stop what I am doing, to take care of my child’s poor attitude, disobedience, or defiance? Or, do I want to just give them a verbal command and hope they decide to obey?” Choosing to take every opportunity to train your child will result in happier children, happier parents, happier churches, happier communities, and a happier world.
We are not just raising children, we are raising adults; the next generation and generations to come!
What advice could I give?
The advice I would give younger parents is to learn as much as you can. Read parenting books, listen to messages and seminar sessions on parenting, find a good role model and duplicate their actions until they become your own.
If you see awesome teenagers or young adults that
love the Lord,
honor their parents,
have a balanced lifestyle,
and are morally upright citizens who are not afraid of hard work,
follow their parents around. Ask to pick their brain.
Glean from their years of wisdom and experience.
I will let you in on a little secret: it did not come easy. Their children did not turn out “good” because the parents took a backseat approach. Proverbs 29:15 says that “…a child left to himself brings his mother to shame”. The parents had to be proactive! Training a child is not passive; it is intentional.
The last piece of advice I would give to younger parents or parents-to-be is to limit your children’s TV/movie/video games time to a bare minimum. If you can do without it all together, your family will be better off.
- Read to your children until they can read for themselves
- Play family games
I know the saying WWJD is old and might be considered worn out, but its meaning is still very applicable today. We ask God to help us put Him first in everything we do. If we put God first in everything we do, and seek advice from older and wiser parents, we can obtain the goal of Parenting A La Mode we talked about in the introduction to this series!
In the meantime, children grow up so fast; make use of each day: Carpe Diem.
Blessings as you strive to develop stronger, more consistent parenting skills that will improve your relationships with your children today.
Do you think less time spent on digital devices could make a difference in the quality of your family time or am I way off base here?
Check out more titles in this series:
Parenting A La Mode Intro
Parenting Summa cum Laude
Parenting Faux Pas
Parenting Laissez-faire (non-interference)
Parenting en Rapport
Al Fresco Parenting
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