If you asked the question "How to be a better parent?" you would get a different answer from every single person you asked. Everyone has a different idea of the qualities of a good parent. So is it even possible to be a good parent? Especially since everyone has different guidelines of what a good parent looks like?
Am I a perfect parent? Absolutely not! The dictionary definition of ‘perfect’ is being ‘absolute’ or ‘complete’.
So in reality, with this definition in mind; who is ‘perfect’ or who is a ‘perfect parent’? Nobody.
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The Fear of Parenting
Do you remember that feeling when you found out you were pregnant? Or when you brought your baby home? Or those sleepless nights because of this little human being? Having to deal with a challenging teenager?
Although we are gifted with such a beautiful gift of children, we have moments when faced with challenges we may feel inadequate and like the situation is more than us.
There are millions of parents in this world who have often had different childhood experiences, which often influences the kind of parents they become.
Being attentively and appropriately loved by your parent may make you an attentive and attune parent. Or being exposed to different dysfunction or traumatic parental experiences may result in you repeating some of these habits as a parent.
The decision to be a better parent can be a fearful journey, but one that is worth going on.
Finding Hope in Parenting
Can I tell you, that there is hope!
A Father in Heaven who is the best and most perfect parent.
Our God! A God that is known as: ‘Elohim’ “our creator, mighty and strong”(Genesis 17:7), ‘El Shaddai’ “God almighty” (Genesis 49:24), “Adonai” “Our Lord” (Genesis 15:2), and “Yahweh-Jireh” “The Lord will provide”.
He has many other names that describe who He is. A God that gives good gifts to those that ask him (Matthew 7:11). God our ‘judge’ and our ‘Father’ which describes being tough when necessary, for the good of His children. Our support system through the help of the Holy Spirit and a great comforter.
We must realize that everything God does is for our benefit, He is Sovereign and had our lives planned out before we were conceived. God is raising a family. He is training us and encouraging us as we grow. Our destiny is to be more like Jesus Christ.
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.Matthew 5:48 ESV
How to be a Better Parent
You may have come across the above scripture before. ‘Be perfect’? Really? Be without flaws on all occasions? How is this possible?
Can I submit to you that by following Jesus as your perfect example would be the best decision you have ever made?
Jesus provided us with a new relationship, a perfect example, and by following our perfect example; we are provided with a whole-life transformation!
The Greek word for ‘prefectus’ is defined a little differently. “Be rounded, be whole, be complete as God is.” So, are we being encouraged to received wholeness found in Jesus? With all our cracks and parental imperfections. It’s good to be aware of our weaknesses and imperfections so that God’s glory can shine all the more powerfully.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
One of my favorite books on this topic is "Real Moms, Real Jesus." Jill Savage is the author and she took an honest and hard look at how Jesus knows and understands all our struggles as mothers.
9 Qualities of a Good Parent
So, if there is no perfect parent, are there qualities of a good parent? Romans reminds us,
As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;Romans 3:10
In light of the fact that perfection is out of the question, where do we turn when we are seeking to be the best parent possible? It may seem like the 'Sunday School' answer, but the truth is that we daily need to turn to Jesus and preach the Gospel to ourselves.
We will still make mistakes. There will be hard days ahead, but when we are relying on Christ for our strength, you will find peace in your parenting journey.
What are the 9 Qualities of a Good Parent?
Of course, we can't leave the practical steps out of this.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23
'Gentle parenting' is one of the latest trends that claim that a peaceful and positive approach to all circumstances of parenting will lead to the best possible relationship with your children. Although gentle parenting has a lot of good qualities that are worth looking into, the philosophy misses the mark on one important part. How do we know if we are effective and good parents?
Is it is we have a good relationship with our children? No. Is it if they are a good perfect once they turn 18? No.
At the end of our parenting, we want our children's affections and life to reflect a love for God and a submission to his Word.
Sometimes that means taking a gentle approach to parenting, other times it might mean beating them with a Bible. NO, I'm joking!
However, my point is that the Bible has some pretty harsh stories in it, and although we are not called to be a judge in the life of our children, we are called to bring them back to truth, no matter how hard that truth is to understand.
If you are looking for the qualities of a good parent, start with the fruits of the spirit.
- Patience (forbearance)
A Prayer for your Parenting
A simple prayer for your parenting journey can be this, ‘Lord as you have given me my child, help me to parent them every day’.
He “takes care of me and will supply all my needs” (Philippians 4:19). Not all my wants. My needs. Even in parenting this still rings true.
Ultimately let's meditate on:
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.2 Thessalonians 3:3
How to be a better parent? Rely on Jesus, cling to the Bible, strive to implement the fruits of the Spirit, and remember that there is no perfect parent, but there is a perfect God.
There is no Perfect Parent
There is no perfect parent, but there is a very perfect God! He desires to save you, restore you, and be all you need for your child. God will help you in all your weaknesses, your strengths, and your abilities.
Jesus will remind you of what His word says, encourage you when needed, and convict your heart for change.
So come to his throne of Grace, with a repentant and grateful heart; for what He has already done for you and your children.