Schools use report cards to keep parents informed about how well their child is mastering required material. Companies have reviews or use sales or production numbers to give employees guidance on their job performance.
Whether we like it or not, grades and reviews give us necessary feedback. They help us know if we are mastering new material or providing value to a company. Yet for parenting, there is no report card. Your kids don’t give you annual reviews. There are no real numbers to “prove” you are parenting well.
So, we just keep on doing what we are doing and hope it all works out in the end. Oh, we may occasionally read a parenting book or attend a seminar, but for the most part, we parent without any constructive feedback.
Wouldn’t you hate to learn if you had just changed one or two things, your child’s life would be richer, fuller, even happier? What if tweaking something or adding something to your parenting meant your child was a faithful Christian instead of rejecting God? Would you want to know what those things were? Would you be willing to change?
Assessing your parenting skills and progress is scary. No one parents perfectly, yet most of us feel like we are putting our heart and soul into raising our children. We surely love them as much as anyone can possibly love a child. We do the very best we know how to do. Isn’t that enough?
I want to challenge you to stop right now and assess your parenting. There are some simple things you can do now that may help you change the things you need to change. Those small changes could make a significant difference in the life and future of your child.
- List your goals as a parent. What characteristics do you want your child to possess now and as an adult? What skills do you want him to have before he leaves home? What do you pray her relationship with God is like in a year from now?
- Assess your child as an outsider. If your child were a child you did not know, how would you feel about your child joining your family? What changes would you want to work on with your child? Is your child pleasant? Helpful? Kind? Obedient? What heart characteristics would God want to see in your child, that still need a lot of work or aren’t even evident yet? Does your child love God? Does your child want to please God?
- Assess your parenting techniques. What is working well for you and your children? Your kids may not be where you want them to be, but they are definitely heading strongly in the right direction. What things aren’t working well? Are there some areas where you and/or your child struggle? What have you tried as a parent to correct certain behaviors and attitudes that doesn’t seem to be making a significant difference or has the opposite effect?
- What are your resources for new ideas, techniques and tips? Where can you get godly parenting advice? Does the advice line up with God’s principles? Have other people used these techniques successfully?
- What changes are you going to make to improve your parenting? Start with one or two small things or break a large change into small pieces. Write down your ideas and plans and refer back to them regularly.
- Put a date on the calendar for your next assessment. Holding yourself accountable for change may make you more likely to follow through on adapting your parenting.
There are a million questions you can ask yourself to evaluate how well your parenting is working and what you still need to improve or change. Honestly, we will never really finish parenting our children. Let’s face it, we still need parenting by our parents, godly people and God Himself on a regular basis. The trick is to be intentional. Evaluate regularly to see what is working and what needs to be changed. Give yourself a grade if it motivates you more.
If you don’t trust yourself to be impartial, ask for help. Find a parent whose children are older than yours and are behaving the way you want your children to behave. Perhaps their children are grown and faithful, active servants of God. Go to the person and ask them to mentor you. Voice your concerns and questions and ask for their advice. Sadly, this is one of the functions of the church that most of us fail to take full advantage of in our lives. We are told to go to older Christian men and women for advice, but often we are too shy or too proud to do so.
Are you willing to take the challenge and assess your parenting? Are you willing to ask for help? What questions or concerns does this bring up for you? I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject if you will share them in a comment below.