5 Tips on How to Parent Well

How to guide your children without controlling them
5 Tips on How to Parent Well

We encourage our children to strive for achievement. We try to shield them from the dangers of the outside world. We're concerned for their emotional well-being. What's wrong with that? As my friend Barb passionately says, "It's our God-given responsibility to care for and guide our children." As Proverbs says, "Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck" (1:8-9).

But are there times when the best thing we can do for our children is back off? Dr. Grace Ketterman, a Christian pediatrician and psychiatrist, states that "your most important task as a mother is to enable your child to gradually become independent." But how?

Here are some insights I've gleaned as I've tackled this parenting challenge:

Know your mothering style. Regardless of what the latest experts say or how our friends at church are raising their kids, we each have a unique personality that probably affects our parenting as much as anything—for better and for worse. When we're aware of our tendencies in one direction or another, we can have a stronger sense of why we respond the way we do to our children and their problems, and, when needed, try to adjust accordingly. I had to learn not to automatically overreact when my daughter, Amanda, would tell me about some of her friendship struggles. She doesn't necessarily need an empathetic pal; she needs a mother who can give practical advice when she's feeling lonely or excluded.

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May 25

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