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Great Parenting

As a single mom, how do I balance being firm without being controlling, being permissive without being neglectful?
44, Female

Thank you so much for this question. This question lets us know how much your love and your passion for your child. And we thank God for you - as in the midst of your trying circumstances, you are still seeking and striving to do what is loving (not necessarily right) for your child.
The short answer to this question is, you need to seek wisdom and discernment which comes from God. (Prov. 3:5-6)

Great parenting always begins and ends with a great relationship with God. He is our Heavenly Father and all great gifts (including wisdom and discernment) come from Him (Jam. 1:17). And the goal of all great parenting or education is to restore in your child the image of his or her Maker and grant greater freedom, independence and spiritual maturity for your child. And in order for you to "work yourself out of a job" and set your child free - the main idea is to provide sufficient education and experience for your child that your child is enabled and empowered to make his or her choices with great wisdom and discernment from God.

In great parenting - there are 4 stages.

1. Discipline Years (1-5)
2. Training Years (5-12)
3. Coaching Years (12-18)
4. Friendship Years (18+)

If the discipline and training years are done right, then the coaching and friendship years are like heaven for the parents. But the problem most parents face is that while they should be "coaching," they find themselves trying to "discipline" their child. When the children were young, the parents were able to "man-handle or woman-handle" the child. But once the kids get too big to man-handle - they find that it's too late to discipline them. When the kids are about 13~15, if the parent hasn't switched gears to coaching, it's going to be Conflict City.

Often parents know by instinct or revelation when they're being "too controlling" or "neglectful" if they are in an authentic relationship with God. If what you're doing or saying is about you (your reputation or your comfort) instead of your child, you are probably being too controlling or neglectful. But, if you're focused on the spiritual well-being of your child are realize that that child of the son or daughter of God; you know you're being firm and permissive with a God-ordained purpose in mind.

To wrap-up, studies have shown that there are 10 areas in which you need to absolutely firm with your child and I'll share them here.
1. Honesty - parents will need to be absolutely firm and create a home environment where it's perfectly safe and encouraged to tell the truth.
2. Respect - parents will need to constantly reinforce the principle and value of respecting others with attitude and language.
3. Service - parents will need to show by example and teach christian service by helping others when opportunity arises.
4. Language - parents will need to show proper example of speech and use of language by not swearing or lashing out with angry words or gossiping about others.
5. Acceptance - parents will need to show the importance of accepting and embracing others instead of judging others.
6. Hygiene - parents will need to discipline their children to take a good care of their body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit by consistent hygiene, great diet and exercise.
7. Faith - parents will need to be active in pursuing faith and an intimate relationship with God. Not just in a church-setting but in everyday life.
8. Excellence - parents will need to teach their children to pursue excellence in their studies and in their work. Not necessarily "good grades" but the "best grades".
9. Chores - parents will need to delegate household responsibilities to their children and help them develop good habits.
10. Responsibility - parents will need to instill in their children the sense of holy obligation to inform where are at all times and accept the penalties of disobedience or inappropriate behavior.

We pray that you'll never opt out to avoid or shrink away from this great privilege for you to be a great mother for your child. Don't try to be right, but try to be loving. Don't punish you child, but instead, side with them, suffering with them and discipline them with the love of your heavenly Father in your heart.

The Bible tells us that God disciplines those He loves. (Heb. 12:7-8) As your child grows bigger, don't just punish your child by 'grounding them' or taking away their phones, cars or privileges. That never works. Instead, get creative. Be very intentional or purposeful to restore the relationship instead of just punishing your child.

Because at the end of the day, relationship is the most important between you and your child.

 

If you have any questions for Pastor Justin, please contact him at justin@englishcompass.org


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