Parents, we’ve all said this, haven’t we? “I’ve tried everything! Nothing’s working. Now what?”
My fellow mom or dad, you are not alone! I’ve been there many times before. What do we do when all else fails? Scream into a pillow? Yes. No … well, sometimes.
In the moments when I feel I’ve used up all parenting wisdom and resources, I’ve found it’s often the basics of Jesus-centered parenting that really works.
So, as a mom of six, here’s my simple list of five things all moms and dads should always do every day.
- Hug. I don’t care if your child is 1 or 21, they need your hugs! Hug them when they’re happy, sad, moody, and even angry. Hug your child every day. Hug before and after a long day. Hug when you feel like it and when you don’t. So much healing can come from a simple hug. I’ve found the teen years to be a time a child desperately needs these gracious embraces.
- Pray. Don’t just pray for your child each day, but pray with them too. Regularly ask them how you can be praying for them. Be ready to stop and pray in the middle of a stressful battle, a disagreement, or any problem that arises. This can be so powerful as you humble yourself, join hands with your child, and ask for God’s help. As I write this, I’m reminded of how much difference this makes in my home.Say a prayer as you drop them off at school. Pray together for someone in need. Pray for your church and for The Church. I love praying for the weekend church services with my kids as we drive to our local church.
- Listen. Take it from someone who’s learned from many dumb mistakes. You may have amazing words of wisdom to share with your child, but they will not hear you until they feel heard first. Listen. They may be sorting out the wrong idea before you hear them say the right idea. Be patient. Don’t interrupt. Breathe. Show that you’ve heard them by saying something like, “I can understand why you feel this way,” “This must be hard for you,” or “I get what you are saying.” Listening in this way can create beautiful, strong, relational bridges for your future together.
- Train. Yep. Train up that child in the way they should go! I’m talking about teachable moments—be ready because they are ever-present. You are your child’s main teacher. Teach them God’s Word daily. Are they 4 or 14? It doesn’t matter! Teach them about His creation. Train them in who God is. Teach them about the traps of this world. Train them by your humble example and with consistent discipline.This is hard work, but don’t grow weary in doing good. Create clear boundaries with known consequences. Remove their emotional guesswork. Remain kind and rely on the Holy Spirit. Even still, you’ll mess up, so be ready to seek their forgiveness.
- Smile. Smile at and around your child. Laugh too, if you can! Just a simple smile can bring sunshine to brighten a burdened soul. Your emotional mood can lift up or weigh down your child’s tender heart. Smile whether you feel like it or not. Studies have shown that we feel happier when we smile. Give God thanks for your child and His grace, and just smile.
Try this. Write down these 5 Daily Dos and ask God where you most need His loving help to improve.