Learn from a few of my own mentors some tips on parenting when you’re trying to raise children with a Christian up-bringing.
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FIND A PARENTING MENTOR
When I was pregnant with my first child, we were fortunate enough to have a church that offered several parenting classes. We went through a program called Parenting from the Tree of Life (from the same authors of Baby Wise) and I feel like more than anything, the class was worth it because of the encouragement we received.
I was a full time teacher about to leave my job to become a stay at home mom. We were worried about the financial strain this would bring on in addition to how I would be able to socialize when all of my friends still worked. They calmed a lot of our fears when they admitted they went through the same things and shared wonderful experiences we would have along the way.
The year I had my son, our women’s ministry launched a brand new class called Navigating Motherhood, which was simply a Bible study time with other new moms. Each group discussion was led by an elder’s wife or someone in the church who had gone through the stages of parenting and was there to encourage this new generation of parents to lean into the Lord.
I learned so much from those years. We didn’t get a secret formula, because we all know one size does not fit all. But what we did get was a group of mentors we could trust and turn to when we were feeling overwhelmed or that we were doing it all wrong. We have cried with these mentors, prayed with them and eaten meals at their homes.
If you have someone in your life who is older and has raised children you admire, reach out to them! Ask them to coffee or let them know you admire them and would love their advice in your parenting! Many times older women want to invite you over to talk or will stop by to help you clean up or give you a break from holding a crying baby.
TIPS ON PARENTING FROM OLDER MENTORS
In the meantime, I want to share some advice from the older moms (aka grandmas) in our Navigating Motherhood class that they shared with us years ago that I still refer to as a mom of elementary and middle school kids.
What’s the Best Parenting Tip You Want to Give Younger Women?
- Connect with your child by discovering where they open up easiest (restaurant, exploring, shopping, taking a walk, sporting event).
- Let your children know you’re committed to your marriage. They don’t need to know everything about your struggles, just that you’re committed to one another.
- Get involved with your kids’ activities (Volunteer in the youth group, coach a team, teach their Bible school class).
- Go on service trips to teach your children to be servants (nursing home, mission trips, etc).
- Stay in your walk with God because your children are watching what you do! Be consistent, be a role model, leave verses around on post its, etc.
- Set family goals! Remember what you’re trying to accomplish with your kids and live it out.
- Focus on prayer to you keep going. Have one on one time with God even if it’s only five minutes.
- Go to God first before you make decisions.
- Have a bedtime routine. Lay down with them at night, read to them, pray with them, and talk over the day.
- Visualize the great things your child will do! Believe you’re raising the leaders of the next generation, because someone’s doing it! Believe it’s you!
- Communicate God’s delight in your children. So much of the time, they think we delight in them because of their performance which gets in the way of demonstrating God’s grace and unconditional love.
- Have fun together! Unplug, set the phone down! How often are you telling kids to ”hold on a minute”? Get on the floor and enjoy your time with your children.
What’s the One Parenting Tip You Wish Someone Would Have Told You?
- Study their heart instead of behavior so you can know why they do things.
- Address what your child needs rather than what others think about your parenting.
- Begin with the end in mind. What do you want your child to look like when they’re 18?
- Share your struggles with others. Be real or you’ll fall into the trap of isolation even when you’re surrounded by people. If someone else’s family looks perfect, you don’t know them well enough!
- Dictate less and disciple more. Remember each child is different.
- Use the power of the Holy Spirit. Ask him for help–he will give you confidence!
- Don’t leave the teaching of God to others–do it yourself! Work on virtues at home (humility, empathy, gifts of the Holy Spirit).
- Don’t overload your kids with activities to keep up with everyone else. Keep it simple–what are your kids’ needs?
- Don’t concentrate on your mistakes, just grab the next opportunity to do better!
What Did You Do Right as a Mother?
- Tried to do something fun everyday (laughed together and enjoyed my kids).
- Got involved in their activities (retreats, taught class, mission trips, met their friends).
- Picked my children’s heroes (invited over other adults that resembled who I wanted my kids to be like when they got older).
- Used activities to teach service (tried to make everything centered around what God wanted for us).
- Modeled church community as very important by getting involved and inviting kids and parents over.
- Stayed married! We worked through things, and grew together as a couple.
- Taught my child to have their own relationship with the Lord by having my own relationship with the Lord.
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WITH THIS PRINTABLE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT WORKBOOK
One of the most helpful things I learned in class was to make your family rules based on the “Fruit of the Spirit”. Back then, I didn’t know what they were, but now I know them so well, we refer to them often! The Fruit of the Spirit is based on Galatians 5:22-23 where the Bible teaches us how we can grow spiritually when we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.
“The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” - Galatians 5:22-23
Last year, I went ahead and created an entire 10-week workbook for each of my kids to focus on these character traits. You can find it in my shop and print one for each of your children! Each purchase includes:
- Fruit of the Spirit Verse Coloring Page
- 9 Themed Choice Boards
- 9 Bible Story discussion prompts
- Fruit of the Spirit Tree Activity
- 9 Memory Verse Pages with activities
- 9 Journaling Pages for Weekly Reflection
Grab yours here:
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…
For more posts on parenting tips, check out:
- Learning How to Navigate Motherhood in this Christian Parenting Book
- How to Make Friends with Other Moms When You Have Your First Kid
- Raising Your Kids on Hope Through Positive Parenting
- My Advice for a New Mom
- 5 Tips for Being Present in the Moment with Your Kids
You’ve got this!
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