One thing I’ve learned as a ministry leader is that most parents I encounter truly want to be great parents. They desire to raise their kids well, provide a healthy environment, teach them and guide them as they grow into adulthood.
The other thing I’ve learned as a parent is that my ‘want to’ is only the beginning. I say I ‘want to’ be a great parent. And that’s the right place to start. But I can’t stop there. ‘Want to’ only reflects my desire. And desire by itself amounts to nothing more than good intentions.
I don’t know about you but when I imagine myself as a grandmother, I’d prefer to reflect back on my good actions and not my good intentions.
However, desire can lead to something greater. The desire to be a great parent can drive the disciplines necessary to have a great relationship with your child.
The 3rd great thing you can do for your child in 2013 is to Fight for the Heart.
Fight for the Heart is choosing to create a culture of unconditional love in your home to fuel the emotional and moral health of your kids.
Simply put… it means you foster a place where kids can make mistakes, learn from them and still know that you love them no matter what.
It doesn’t mean a lack of discipline. It doesn’t translate to child-centered parenting. Not at all.
It actually means that kids are held accountable to an appropriate standard. They’re given the space to make mistakes within safe boundaries. And learn the courage to look back at what went wrong and how to avoid that outcome in the future.
But in order to Fight for the Heart it means we choose to…
Hold our tongue when we want to blow our top. We often regret what we say when we say them in anger. So disciplining our tongue can prevent us from having to go back and apologize. A good friend of mine once said, “Angry words are like firing a gun. Once you shoot off your mouth, you can’t take it back. You can only attempt to repair the damage.”
Take a deep breath before doling out discipline. Don’t discipline in anger. Instead, separate for an amount of time. Allow yourself time to get away and cool down. Collect your thoughts. Then decide the best response that will help your child learn and grow.
Allow the opportunity to express their opinion appropriately. Your kids have an opinion on things. And they need a safe place to share it. So don’t freak out! Give them room to speak their mind. That isn’t license to be rude or disrespectful. But it is freedom to have an opinion different than yours. Believe it or not… your kids don’t have to agree with you. But they do have to respect you. And they’ll respect you more when you don’t freak out.
I believe all parents can successfully Fight for the Heart by following these simple things. Read more about Fight for the Heart from the book, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity.