Parenting - Parental Commitment
Parenting can be the most blessed job you will ever have. It can also be the most difficult at times. However, knowing what your job as a parent actually is can be a tremendous help. Above all else, a parent’s job is to provide for, protect, nourish, and teach your children. If you are just now trying to decide if you want to be a parent, there are both pros and cons but the pros outweigh the cons by far. It’s a job that requires your commitment, patience and love, and consistency.
If you are committed to be a good parent, the sacrifices are well worth the effort. You will experience an unconditional love that is rarely seen but from an innocent child. They love you, trust you, and look up to you with adoration. As you and your children both age, you will find that their commitment to you will be paid back a hundred fold. They will honor you with their love and achievements as they become responsible young adults. You will find all your dedication as a parent has paid off and you will have unspeakable pride for your children. Children will respond positively as our demonstrated commitment offers them reassurance no matter what.
Are you committed enough to give parenting your all? First time parents are often slapped with the reality that their time is not their own anymore. You suddenly realize you are responsible for another little being. They require your time, devotion, and giving of yourself like no one else ever has (or will). To raise a little one consumes more of your time and attention than one can imagine. Things as simple as being able to watch your favorite TV show all the way through may become a rare event. Your time needs to be split between feedings, diapering, rocking, reading, playing, and eventually school events, practices and lessons of many kinds. When you decide to be a parent, you sign on for life.
Parenting - Parental Patience and Love
There are only pros in loving your children. Your love will produce patience. Remember that love is not just an emotional feeling; it is an action. Your actions will display your natural love. Just as God loves all His children (even when we ‘mess up’), you as a parent will love your children even when they mess up. Will they mess up?
Absolutely they will. We all have and do. When they do, our patience allows us to stop, explain to them what they are doing wrong, and teach them the way to do right. Children do not automatically know what to do or how to do right. They are untrained and innocent children that we have brought into the world. Sometimes parents forget that we need to teach correct behaviors. This is one more area where we are putting our love into action. Without it, we are saying “I don’t care enough about you to care what you do.” That irresponsibility opens the door for children to look for love wherever they can find it. It may very well lead to promiscuity, drug use, gang affiliations, or any number of places where they feel an (albeit destructive) acceptance.
Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” “In the way he should go” is literally, “according to the child’s way.” Every child is different and has a unique personality. It is natural to train children the same way, but this verse points out that we should discern the individuality and character strengths God has given each one. Each child has his own natural tendencies that parents can help guide and develop in the right direction. Giving them a good foundation from the beginning will better produce a healthy, responsible adult.
Parenting - Parental Consistency
Consistency is key and fits together with both love and discipline. Consistency is often tougher on the parent than the child though. It takes commitment to be a good parent and to stay on track. Too often it is easy to say, “Okay, go ahead” because we are tired and don’t feel like the hassle of telling them no. Or perhaps sometimes parents feel guilt and do not want the child to get upset.
Referring back to the first paragraph, it is important to understand what our job is as parents. We must stand firm on being the “parent” and not a “best friend” to our children. One father has told me he often reminds his teens that being their father is not a popularity contest. There are times your child will get angry, say they hate you, or withdraw from you because you have stood your ground on a decision. But that consistency will make life easier and more beneficial for you both in the long run.
Through consistent discipline, children learn how to function in a family and society that is full of boundaries, rules, and laws by which we all must abide. With consistency, children gain a sense of security, protection, and self-worth. Keeping these things in mind will help you in your parenting.
There are many parenting tips and resources available today. Take advantage of them. Pray for strength and guidance. Read what God says about parenting and make the decision to be the best parent you can be with commitment, love, and consistency.