Parenting ‘Tips’ for MOMS (and Dads)

A few weeks ago, it was my joy to speak to the MOMS group at our church. After a brief devotional, I shared with them this list of parenting tips from our experience and aspirations. Although I know my wife’s list would overlap this list, hers would have its own unique contribution. And of course, there are more ‘tips’ than these. These are merely the ones that seemed most pressing to hold out to the mothers at the meeting.

  1. Be settled in Christ’s love; secure your identity and significance in him. Do not ‘suck’ your identity or worth from your child’s behavior, accomplishments or failures (1 Pet. 2:9-10).
  2. Trust God for the outcome of your parenting and remember, your labor in the Lord is never in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).
  3. Be an authentic witness of the living Christ, not just a person who does the activity of bearing “witness” (Acts 1:8).
  4. Model the difference between knowing about God and knowing him (cf.  Eph. 3:14-19).
  5. Do not be fooled by the distinction between your child confessing your beliefs as his and confessing his own faith (cf. John 10:3)
  6. Kill legalism as a ground for your child’s relationship to you and GOD (cf. Eph. 2:8-9).
  7. If you are married, repetitively demonstrate to your child that you love your spouse (Eph. 5:22-33).
  8. Do not be surprised that your child is a sinner, and be ready to offer correction and model the gospel in your relationship with them, i.e., forbearance, forgiveness and reconciliation (Rom. 3:23; Ephesians 4:32-5:1).
  9. Speak aloud your hope in the promises of the gospel and echo that hope in your verbal communication as a parent to your child. Speak phrases such as these to your child: “I am for you and not against you” and “You are mine.”
  10. Model and teach the difference between the obedience of duty and the obedience of faith (Luke 15:11ff).
  11. Teach your children to love, not merely because they ought, but intentionally remind them that Jesus says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
  12. Tell your children that you pray for them, but avoid doing so as a lecture, scolding, discipline (Eph. 3:14-21).
  13. Teach your children the value of the church, the value of gathering together with other believers. Guard your tongue  from grumbling against the church because it may rightly be interpreted as a grumbling against GOD (Heb. 10:25; 1 Pet. 4:9)
  14. Embrace suffering as part of your calling as a parent (cf. John 15:12-13).
  15. Be thankful and thereby encourage thankfulness to GOD at all times.
  16. Live your family life ultimately, not for the glory of self, nor the glory of family, nor glory of anything but for the glory of GOD (1 Cor. 10:31; Gal. 6:14).

Kenny Stokes, from his blog Wilderness Mercies