I feel like I should start this post about parenting with a huge disclaimer about not really knowing what I'm doing. Our boys are Ben and Will and they are 2 and 4 1/2 years old. So, it's more than fair to say that we're still rookies at this whole parenting thing! Like most parents I know, Mark and I are just trying to do the best we can. With all that said, here are the things that I think have helped me the most since we have had children.
We're not perfect. That's always good to remember when I make a mistake (and I make plenty) and when my children make mistakes. We're all works in progress.
Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
I'm sure most of you are familiar with Proverbs 22: 6. If not, here it is.
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
I've heard that verse all my life. Obviously it took on a new meaning when I had children. Training up a child is a process. If behavior needs to be changed it doesn't happen overnight. It takes time. I know this sounds so simple, but it's so true. Think about training anything in your life, other than your children, and you realize that it take patience and time. It's not always easy. I gained a better understanding of this verse and what it meant this spring when I heard a lady, Brenda, who had grown children talk about it our ladies Bible study. I'm so thankful she shared her insight and wisdom.
My kids aren't robots. This advice came from my friend Shana in a Bible study class we were in together. My children have personalities that make me love them, but at the same time those personalities can be what get them in trouble. I believe each person has free will and that's very clear with my children even at such a very young age. I can already see them make good decisions and bad decisions. Now it's my goal to encourage them to try to always do what's right.
I've also been told with young children that the two hardest things in dealing with children are when they are sick because you feel helpless and discipline because it's hard to know how to handle it appropriately for each situation. Thanks to my friend Jami for sharing that with me.
My friend Jami and my sister-in-law Andrea also gave me good advice about how to treat your husband once you have children. They both said to never criticize your husband's parenting. I think that's priceless. My husband and I are definitely a team when it comes to parenting and we are united, but I do some things differently than him and vice versa. It's okay for us to do things differently. Different doesn't mean it's wrong. Being critical of each other is not a good example for your children and it's not good for your relationship with your husband in general.
Mark and I have been blessed with godly examples for parents and more than anything I think that's the best parenting advice. Look to those who seem to have Christ-centered homes, who love the Lord and strive to serve Him. No one is perfect, but those are the families that Mark and I observe and emulate when it comes to parenting. And, of course, our Heavenly Father is the ultimate example of love, patience and sacrifice.
Sharing my humble thoughts at