What should I avoid in parenting?
The one sentence answer is that parents should avoid wrongly provoking their children: “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged” (Col. 3:21). Again, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
Here are ten ways to wrongly provoke your children:
- Discipline your child while you are angry.
- Scold your child, especially in public. Mockery and ridicule also work well.
- Deliberately embarrass your child in front of his or her friends. Name calling really gets their attention.
- Create double standards so that the child never knows who or what to follow.
- Preach a gospel of self-discipline instead of a gospel of grace.
- Never admit you’re wrong and never ask your children for forgiveness.
- Inspect your child until you find something wrong. Holding them to an unreachable standard makes this easier.
- Judge a fight between your children before you’ve listened to them.
- Compare your child to others.
- Promise your children things early in the day and then don’t fulfill the promise.
Parents should provoke their children in good ways: “And let us consider how we may provoke one another toward love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24).
(This material has been adapted from Matt and Elizabeth Schmucker’s article, “39 Lessons, 20 Tips and 10 Don’ts for Parenting”)