Get a parenting makeover

Posted by Phil

You’ve seen TV shows where a makeover is done on a house or a person. Well, you can now do a parenting “character makeover!” After all, we serve a God of fresh starts, second chances, and rebirths. Anytime is a great time to let Him remake us into the parents He wants us to be!

Prideful parents need humility

We’ve all seen prideful parents. They take all the credit for how amazing their kids are turning out! They may also push their kids to perform so they can live out their dreams through their kids’ accomplishments.

Pride leaves us delusional. We think we are the reason our kids are capable, attractive, popular, or successful. At the same time, we are oblivious to the reality that everything our kids are is from God. We, as parents, are simply stewards of His treasure!

In contrast, humility focuses on God. To get rid of pride, it’s as simple as applying John 3:30: He must increase, but I must decrease. Focus more on God. Look for Him, thank Him, give Him credit, and praise Him. As you do, your prideful self-focus will naturally decrease.

Insecure parents need confidence

An insecure parent second-guesses her decisions, feels inferior to her kids or to other parents, or needs constant reassurance that she’s doing the right thing.

Confidence is that inner self-assurance that lets us interact effectively with others-even our teens! Usually we think of “self-confidence” as believing in ourselves, but it’s really “God-confidence” because your confidence is only as strong as the One in whom you trust.

To start building God-confidence, try doing a Scripture study of what God thinks of you. You can start with passages like Ephesians 1:4: For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight.

Fearful parents need courage

Raising teens can fill us with fear. Between worries about peer pressure, drunk drivers, social networking, and driver’s ed, anxiety can be crippling. It not only keeps you on high-alert, but it also causes you to hold your teen way too tightly.

Courage means being filled with God’s strength, which frees you to take risks, endure difficulty, or withstand fear. Parental courage is not an absence of fear, but it trusts God and keeps going.

Second Timothy 1:7 says that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound thinking. If you are haunted by a spirit of fear, it’s not from God! Ask Him to release you from it. To practice courage, say yes to an experience that you would normally avoid, such as taking your teen out for driving practice!

Stressed parents need self-control

I (Katie) have a confession: As a stressed-out, single mom in the late 80’s, I was a rageaholic. Anything could send me flying into a verbal rampage. One minute I’d be sweet and kind and charming. The next minute-well, you know the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde drill.

Self-control is what I needed: Self-Under-God’s-Control! It draws on God’s power to exercise restraint and to avoid overindulgence, over-reactions, or even laziness (Prov. 25:28).

To move toward more self-control in your life, take a Sabbath. Clear some commitments and devote one day a week to God and rest.

Impatient parents need patience

Parenting teens is a breeding ground for impatience. Cluttered rooms, words mumbled under their breath, disrespect, forgetfulness, unkindness, and mood swings work in harmony to push us past a point of no return. But patience is about selflessness since love does not demand its own way (1 Cor. 13:5).

You can increase your patience by practicing flexibility, listening, and seeking first to understand rather than to be understood. In other words, don’t rigidly demand things be done your way. Instead, try listening more than you speak. And before you tell them what you think, get to know what’s going on with them first.

Envious parents need contentment

Benjamin Franklin wisely said: “Contentment makes poor men rich; discontentment makes rich men poor.” In order to be content, we need to rid our hearts of envy. We also need to stop comparing our kids to anyone else’s. Comparisons ignite envy, insecurity, and pride.

Contentment rests in thankfulness (Eph. 5:20). To tackle envy, keep a “Thankful List,” looking for things in your teens for which you can be grateful: their health, their disposition, their kindness, their intelligence, their abilities, and the areas where they take after you!

Greedy parents need generosity

I (Shelley) am a food hoarder. I never shared my candy as a child; and to this day, I hide secret stashes of my favorite chips and cookies from my kids. I’ll make my special tuna with boiled eggs, pickles, and onions, only to get frustrated when my kids have the nerve to eat it!

Generosity means being able to hold your time, your house, your personal space-even your tuna-loosely. Paul told Timothy that believers need to be rich in good deeds and always ready to share (1 Tim. 6:18). Watch what you hoard as a parent.

One great way to be generous is allowing yourself to be interruptible. To help remind yourself of this commitment, use the slogan: stop, drop, and roll. In other words, stop to really listen to what your teenager is saying, drop what you’re doing to give him your full attention, and roll with whatever your teen needs.

‘Quitters’ need perseverance

One of the most challenging aspects of parenting teens is seeing things through. It can get be difficult to follow through on consequences or to stick with your teen and believe in them when they disappoint you.

Perseverance is all about persistence and diligence. James 1:4 tells us to let perseverance run its course, so we can be all God wants us to be. Develop perseverance by igniting your heart for your kids. Ask God to restore your passion to see them grow up right, and use that to persevere when you feel like quitting.

Your parenting character traits are like windows into your life. Your teens can look into them and see what Christ is like. Partner with the Spirit to complete a makeover on your character. Start fresh today by admitting the truth about the strongholds in your life. Only then can you truly develop and strengthen your character.

by Shelley Leith and Katie Brazelton on Wednesday, February 10, 2010

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