7 Tips for Building the Christian Family You Never Had
by Mary DeMuth
Some of us want to consciously choose family values that are different from the ones we were raised with and here are some practical ways to get started.
- Read parenting books with a caveat of grace. With every book I read, I berated myself for not being a perfect Christian mom, instead of letting the words encourage me to improve my parenting. Offer yourself grace when reading these books.
- Find or observe a parenting mentor. If you notice someone you think is parenting her kids well, ask her questions and observe her. There’s nothing better than learning from a real live human being.
- Say, “I’m sorry.” All parents make mistakes. We say painful words that we heard our parents say. The best way to disarm this is to admit it. Asking our children and others for forgiveness opens the door to improving relationships.
- Understand that parenting is not outside-in, but inside-out. God is in the business of cleaning, healing and rejuvenating our hearts from the inside out. The greater the healing, the more authentic and effective our parenting will be.
- Forgive your parents. Forgiveness sets you free — free to love your imperfect parents, free to give grace to your imperfect self as you struggle to parent. Holding bitterness in your heart hinders you from parenting freely in the present.
- Stop the comparison game. Few acts are more destructive than comparison. God asks us to concentrate on our own families and revel in what he has given us.
- Find support. My parenting skills increased when I found other parents who struggled just like me. I realized I was a normal parent with typical struggles. I was able to laugh at my mistakes and continue down the parenting path.
Adapted from “Building the Christian Family You Never Had” by Mary E. DeMuth (WaterBrook, 2006).