Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established (Proverbs 16:3).
Though she knows she should encourage her child more than correct him, it seems that the rapidity in which he makes mistakes leaves no time for positive affirmation. When the problems outnumber the good things your child does, here are fifteen ideas that will help you.
1 – Don’t sweat the small stuff. Overlook as much as you can. Choose only a handful of things that you’re going to bring to your child’s attention.
2 – Discern the episodes and patterns. If the mistakes are not part of an ongoing pattern in your child’s life, you can probably overlook them. Spend more time correcting patterns.
3 – Look for the presence of goodness, not the perfection of it. Your goal is not a perfect five-year-old. You want to discern the presence of good qualities that you hope will flourish when the child is older.
4 – Work hard at encouraging. If he is often sinning, work twice as hard at finding “evidence of God’s grace” in his life so you can encourage him.
5 – Don’t undervalue “Thank you.” When you see him doing the right things, say “thank you” no matter how small or seemingly insignificant that something may appear.
6 – You’re not the mini-messiah. God changes individuals; you do not. You’ll know if you’re the mini-messiah when your worry or frustration is more significant than your rest in the Lord.
7 – Don’t take a poll of your parenting. If you ask an immature, self-centered child if you’re critical, the data will probably come back in the affirmative. Ask the Lord how you’re doing, and maybe a close friend who knows you.
8 – Don’t be the judge and jury of your parenting. Remember that God can use sin sinlessly. You don’t want to sin, but when you do, trust Sovereign God.
9 – Commit your parenting to the Lord. You are parenting for God’s fame most of all. Don’t be a results-oriented parent, or you’ll stress over every perceived failure.
10 – Failures are opportunities. When things don’t go according to your plans, ask the Lord how you can learn from what just happened.
11 – Don’t compare yourself with others. Paul said those who compare themselves among themselves are not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12). Don’t be unwise. You’re not omniscient; you do not know everything about those you’re comparing with yourself.
12 – Paint a picture of Jesus. In addition to all these active things, passively live the life of Jesus before your child. Let him see what Christ looks like, especially when you’re having a bad day. You can find nine portraits of Jesus in Galatians 5:22-23.
13 – Know your audience. As the Lord told Samuel (paraphrased), your son is not rejecting you; he is rejecting the Lord from being his authority (1 Samuel 8:7). Stay focused on what’s going on with your child.
14 – Make discipline short. When it’s time to correct your child, do not drag it out for hours. Make it short, memorable, and redemptive. Extend your praise and shorten your discipline.
15 – Talk during “non-fight” times. When there is no conflict, it’s the best time to discuss what’s going on in your child’s heart.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).