Where Does Successful Parenting Begin?
In the event you have missed the first blog in this series “Want to be a Successful Parent?” or want to review it, here is the place to start https://www.cosdavis.com/want-to-be-a-successful-parent/
Where does successful parenting start? Does it begin at the birth of a child? Having a child makes you a parent but does it make you a successful one? Does it begin with reading books on child development or parenting strategies or techniques? While this is commendable and can prove helpful, good parenting does not begin here.
Then, where does successful parenting begin? It begins with you, with the person you see in the mirror. That’s right. Good parenting begins with the person you are. Who you are, your character, is the most important issue in parenting. No matter what you “know” about parenting, no matter how prepared you think you are to be a good parent, the most important issue is who you are as a person. How mature are you? How caring and unselfish are you? Being a good parent will require you to be a good person.
Just as you have been shaped by your parents, especially your mother in the early years, you will shape the thinking, attitudes, and behavior of your the child. You cannot avoid the powerful influence you have on your child.
The power of her negative influence on her child gradually came into focus for one of my clients, a well-educated and successful business woman. After several sessions with me she began to come to grips with the destructive toll her anger, judgmental attitude, and immaturity were taking on her relationship with her daughter. These were her words.
” I want my daughter to grow up feeling better about herself than I did growing up. But how can I help her if I don’t feel good about myself?”
This expression of self awareness was the catalyst for difficult weeks of work that resulted in a much healthier person who could be a much better parent to her child. This brave person discovered what I’m trying to say in this blog; good parenting, successful parenting begins within you. It requires a willingness to honestly look at who you are, to own your issues, and take the necessary steps to fix yourself.
The reality is that you cannot teach your child something you do not have deep inside yourself. Unkind parents beget unkind kids. Undisciplined parents cannot raise disciplined children. Self-centered parents do not generally raise caring children. The person you are is what really comes across to your children because your actions express your core values.
Character is the ultimate issue of life. It is not what we accumulate or how successful we are by society’s standards that are most important. All those we leave behind when we die. But character is another matter. That is who we are and is all we will take with us. And, our character is our most important legacy.
If you have been entrusted to rear children you should pause to consider the meaning of your existence and seek to mold your character to that purpose. In practical terms this means to commit our life to God and his lordship in our life. Living out this commitment means to accept Christ as your savoir and grow in his likeness and to genuinely treat others as you want to be treated.
One implication of your commitment to follow Christ may be that you seek the counsel of a trained Christian therapist to help you come to terms with personal baggage that will hinder you from becoming the person and parent your child needs you to be.
This can help bring your life into conformity with Jesus’ statement about the importance of our relationships in Matthew 22:34-40.Once you have committed your life to live out life’s true purpose, then and only then can you guide your child toward that purpose. Think about it. Do it for yourself and your child and all those you love.
Something Extra: As I often do, I’m giving you a link to an article I think you will find very helpful. It is called a “Roadmap to Christian Parenting.” https://www.acc.edu.au/blog/christian-parenting-roadmap/#:~:text=The%20fundamental%20goal%20for%20Christian,127%3A3%2D5).