Gues what? Perfect parenting is not required! Neither are perfect kids. I’m going to share with you below how we can discover our child’s superpowers in the midst of their struggles.
I was recently reading Hebrews 12 which starts off with “Therefore” and when a passage starts with that word you know to ask yourself–What is it there for? So I headed to the all to familiar passage of the Hall of Fame Heroes of Faith.
What I love about this hall of faith heroes is they are anything but perfect.
Mama’s perfection is not required in God’s hall of fame.
- Do you remember that Abraham struggled with being deceitful?
- Rahab lived a life of sexual sin.
- Moses was fearful and disobedient.
- Samson forgets God and lets his desires take over.
This reminds me that perfection is not required in God’s Hall of Fame. So, mothers, you can rest assured that–
Perfect parenting is not required but diligently pursuing Him is.”
I love how God sees the good in us even when we don’t.
He sees the good in you.
He sees the good in your children.
Because of Jesus we are clothed in His righteousness.
We can’t give our kids what we don’t have ourselves
Will you take a minute and ask yourself–
If I truly believed that “perfect parenting” is not what God requires of me would I parent differently? If you really believed and lived from the truth that God can’t stop loving you, just as you are, not as you wish you were how would your parenting look?
If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior then God sees you as His beloved daughter not as a wretched sinner.
You may ask, What does this have to do with parenting? Well, a whole lot of everything. We can’t give our children what we don’t have ourselves.
It’s hard to give our children grace when we can’t accept it from our Heavenly Father.
It’s hard to see the good in our children when we can’t see the good in ourselves.
I’ve been there fighting this battle of being a critical mama in my actions for quite a while. But then I realized it wasn’t just about just choosing to be more affirming but I also needed to do some heart work to discover why this was my go-to response.
As I did some heart work I realized part of the reason is as a counselor and life coach I’m trained to see what needs to be fixed, what areas of one’s life need help. But another part I had not explored was that I hard time believing that God’s love was not based on my performance.
Because We Are God’s Children
In Ephesians 5:1 it says, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because YOU ARE his dear children.”
That last part is what I had missed for so many years. We imitate God in everything we do because “WE ARE” God’s children.
Not because we want to be His children.
We don’t imitate God so we can be His children.
We are! We are God’s children.
So let this beautiful grace motivate you this week as you mother your children. Your children are a gift from God and he is going to use their strengths and weaknesses for His glory.
We can teach and guide our kids but we are not responsible to change their behavior because it is God who will change their hearts.
This is freeing for you as a parent because:
Even when they drive you nuts.
Even when they disobey and talk back.
Even when they make a huge mess.
You can love them just as they are not as you wish they were.
This doesn’t mean you ignore your child’s sin or that you don’t set rules or teach them but it’s how we address their sin that makes the difference.
Do you address their mistakes exasperated lashing out with shame-filled words? Our goal is to firt connect and then correct.
But in our connection and correction we can leave out the criticism. My struggle is that I’m critical in my gestures not necessarily in my words. They see the contempt in my face when I correct them or guide them.
Correction Not Condemnation
Let’s remember, after we connect that it’s about correction, not condemnation.
So what does condemnation and shame sound like? Like this, “When are you going to remember to clean up your toys after you’re done playing? You’re so messy. You’re 10 years old and you still can’t remember this simple rule.”
What does it look like? A contemptuous face.
Years ago my husband and I led a bible study for parents and so many nuggets of truth have stuck with me from the authors of Discipline that Connects with Your Child’s Heart by Jim and Lynne Jackson. This is one of those nuggets,
When my children misbehave if all I do is focus on and punish the sin without calling out the goodness and image of God in them, children begin to identify themselves with the sin, the misbehavior, or the problem they seem to be.”
One of the things I want to encourage you to do this week is to write down your child’s superpowers down by looking at their struggles and turning them into strengths.
This is what the Jackson’s call it in their book,
Look for the gifts gone awry–the God-given talent that is coming out twisted by sin and selfishness… Simply stated, it takes a skill to misbehave. A child’s skill in and of itself is a gift from God. The way the skill is used determines whether or not a child sins. So I have a great opportunity when my child misbehaves to see beneath the sin and identify a skill, recognizing that if the skill is used the way God intended, this brings God glory.”
Your child’s superpowers printable
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This printable will help you start recording some of your child’s superpowers.
- What you’ll do first is come up with a list of some of the things your child struggles with. Such as disobedience, bossy, talks back, anger.
- You want to also think about their strengths.
- Then see the God-given ability in that struggle. If you find this part hard ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Below are some examples.
Talking back—-> Confident. Stands up for what is right.
Bossy child —-> Likes to help others.
Lying—-> Creative. Good memory.
Strong-willed —-> A leader.
Emotional —–> Compassionate heart.
Whining —–> Persistent
This will begin helping you “see the good!” in your child. Remember throughout the Bible we have examples of faith heroes who failed their way through God’s mission but God didn’t give up on them.
Instead of focusing on the talking back or overwhelming emotions, you can focus on the good. It will help you connect with them in a positive way. It encourages you to start believing what you’re saying. To believe that your child is God’s workmanship and the good work He began he will finish to the end.
The more you do it the more you’ll see yourself begin casting vision for God’s purpose in your child’s heart.
It doesn’t mean you don’t address the sin and disobedience but now you can address it in an affirming way.
For example, Son, I can’t wait to see how God is going to use your verbal skills and persistence in life. But right now you’re talking back and you’re being disrespectful to me.
If they are younger you want to keep your response short. Wow, son, I can tell you have a good memory with how you could keep those lies straight. I would love for you to use that great memory of yours to memorize scripture.
In these examples you’re not praising the sin but the gift.
When you start seeing the God-given gifts you’re able to speak life into their hearts.
As you go about your day ask yourself are my expectations reasonable for their age and stage of life? Here are a few things to remember as you
- Remember our kids are immature.
- They will be defiant as they grow in their independence and our prayer is God will use it for their glory.
- You will need to explain the same thing over and over again before they get it.
Just like perfect parents are not required, neither are perfect children.
“Iron fists chisel stony hearts, but graceful hands shape responsive hearts.” ~Amber Lia