Here are some things we as parents owe our children:
1) Be there! Spend more ‘intentional’ time with your children. If your life’s ruled by a schedule and your children aren’t on it, do something – quickly! ‘Being there’ doesn’t mean watching television together for three hours. No, it’s being ’emotionally present,’ allowing them to see your fears and insecurities at times, even as they witness your delight and appreciation of them.
2) Learn from them! There’s so much our children have to teach us, about themselves, about ourselves, and about who God is. When we realize that we don’t have all the answers, we become open to allowing God to speak to us through our children. Such receptivity strengthens their faith in God, helps them to remain teachable, and keeps us young at heart.
3) Be their parent, not their friend! It’s vital, especially during the formative years, to maintain boundaries and set rules. Children need structure. It makes them secure. This includes things like 9 o’clock bedtimes in the early stages, moving the time back as they get older. Doing this helps them understand that age brings freedom, but not all at once, because freedom brings responsibility and they’re not as ready as they think for that responsibility. Don’t try to be your child’s best friend, looking for them to meet your emotional needs. Their shoulders aren’t strong enough to carry that load. Be confident in God and in who you are. Seek encouragement from healthier sources. Become the firm but gentle parent your children need.
Written by Tim Hetzner and used with permission.