There are many different types of parents, ranging from overprotective to negligent, lots of fun to taking on the role of a hard task master. Obviously our parents played a huge role in the way we parent our children, maybe we loved our childhood and so decided to raise our kids exactly the same way not factoring in that times have changed. Conversely maybe you had a difficult time throughout your childhood and so have decided that you are not going to be anything like your parents! I have seen this one plenty of times and generally those people end up swinging the pendulum to the complete other side of the spectrum and in doing so cause their own childrens development to be stunted albeit differently to how theirs was. So in a nut shell it is really easy to be a complete parental screw up making any number of mistakes and I am certainly not immune to these mishaps either. In 1Peter 4:8 it says; “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” I love this verse and encourage myself with it often because I am going to make mistakes, get it wrong, say something I’ll regret, do stuff that doesn’t help and all of these things require that I not only ask my children for forgiveness but center my parenting back on the premise that I love these kids and would do anything for them, if I truly love them in this way then as the bible verse says a multitude of my sins will be covered. This is also good to remind yourself for your parents knowing that whatever faults they had at least they loved you the best way they knew how with the information/skills they had at the time and if this doesn’t ring true to you then you have a heavenly parent who’s love for you and I was displayed on the Cross making forgiveness possible, which is such a better way to live!
To close out I want to briefly touch on the difference between authoritative parenting and influential parenting both of which have their place at different times and stages of our children’s lives.
While my kids are young I find myself very quickly and often telling the what they can and can’t do, my word is final and it is for their own good but as they get older I am giving them more choices and as they make more and more good choices I give them an increasing amount of freedom. Say one of my boys decides to stand on top of a table with a huge knife while pretending to fight the baddies or something, I’m not going to sit back and passively reason with my 3 y/o with why he should consider not playing with the knives and how he could have really hurt himself while being a bad example to other children, in fact I’m going to grab him ASAP using whatever force necessary that’s authoritative parenting and completely appropriate for his age. As he gets older I need to do this less and less otherwise he will only be careful with knives when I’m around and thats not the point! Influence in this situation would attempt to explain the reasons behind why playing with knives isn’t the best option so that next time especially when your not around your child has the ability to think for themselves and make the right choice.
Making the switch from authoritative parenting to influencial parenting can be hard but the benefits to your children and your relationship with them into the future depend on it.
Don’t forget that your children are learning just as much as you are through all of this so be patient and be willing to not only make mistakes but be brave enough to allow your children to make mistakes while still in the safety of your care.