Could Accountability Make It Easier to Reach Your Christian Parenting Goals?

In her book, Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin discusses four basic type of people when it comes to goals. You can read her book for the details, but one of the conclusions she reaches is that all but the ”rebels” (who recoil at the mere idea of rules or accountability), can benefit from having accountability for working towards and reaching their goals.

Which made me wonder. Are we not as effective at reaching our Christian parenting goals because the church is no longer structured where we are to hold each other accountable as commanded in scripture? Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about controlling the lives of others or rigid accountability with serious consequences for not meeting goals. Those are cultish and not Christian practices.

What if, however, you and a fellow young parent agreed to touch base twice a week and share if you had been having family devotionals that week? Or an older woman agreed to have coffee with you once a week and hold you accountable for whether or not you were encouraging your kids to read the Bible independently or were praying together more as a family? What if you were in a small group of parents who committed to study specific Bible stories with your kids each week and then spent a few minutes of each small group meeting discussing how it went? Or what if you and another family agreed to sit together in church or go out to lunch after Bible class? Maybe even made reservations to a restaurant to add some more accountability to the mix?

According to Rubin, accountability can help if we are willing to share our goals with an accountability partner. Since her book was secular, she promoted hiring someone like a trainer, teacher or coach, because they would be more demanding and consistent than a friend or relative. If you can build it into a relationship where you already have consistent times in touch with each other, and you both agree on ground rules for the type of accountability and encouragement or “fussing” allowed, it could work almost as well.

If you have a Christian parenting goal that you struggle to reach, try adding accountability to the mix. It might just be the boost you need to finally give your kids those spiritual things you know they need.

Fun Ways to Shower Your Kids With Love

There is a not so little secret to effective Christian parenting. It’s a lot easier if you have a close, loving relationship with your kids. Children are a lot more responsive to their parents’ spiritual teaching, mentoring, coaching and even correction and discipline if they feel close to the parent providing it. Every parent child relationship has its strained moments, but parents and children who are generally close feel a strong love and respect for each other.

Children usually love and respect people who love and respect them. Since God is love and Christianity is built on a foundation of love, it only makes sense that a strong parent child relationship is also a very loving relationship. Please don’t misunderstand. A loving relationship does not mean you cater to your child’s every whim or that you never correct or discipline your children. Rather, it means that even on the worst of days – when your kids don’t feel lovable – they still know you love them.

With kids, there is a twist to love. They need to feel that you like them as well. If they could verbalize the need, they would tell you they believe parents are somehow required to love them, but that when you choose to like them, it means you love them unconditionally. Once again, they don’t expect you to approve of their poor choices, but they do hope you will like and accept their basic personality, preferences and passions even if they are very different from your own. (The exception, of course, is if any of these is sinful.)

Thankfully, there are fun things you can do to show your kids you love and like them. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Spend one on one time doing something they love. This is especially important if they know their hobby is something you don’t normally enjoy or know nothing about. Let them teach you some of the basics. Take a class together. Hunt yard sales for items they need for their hobby. You don’t need to make it your hobby as well, but showing an appreciation and understanding for it helps your child feel loved.
  • Shower them with hearts. Cut hearts out of construction paper. Make sure you have at least a dozen for each child. On each heart, write something you appreciate about that child. Be careful not to overstate. A child who makes so-so grades isn’t going to believe you think he or she is “the best student ever”. Your child will believe, however, that you love the way he or she tries so hard to do the best possible job on schoolwork. Have fun showering your kids with the hearts. Put them where they will see them all at once when they get up in the morning or come home from school. Or give them one a day for a couple of weeks or an entire month – perhaps snuck into their sack lunches or in their backpack or on their pillow each night.
  • Pillow journal or notes. Make an entry or leave a note on their pillows about something positive you noticed about them that day. Try to focus on internal rather than external compliments. Which you choose to do will depend upon how consistent you can be. If you can remember to do it every night for every child, you may prefer a journal. If you can only manage to do it sporadically, then notes may work better. If you have more than one child, keep it as even as possible. Don’t give either the ”golden child” or the child struggling the most more notes than the others, as that can become a breeding ground for other issues. They don’t all have to get one on the same day, but even over a short period of time, the notes should be equally distributed.
  • Have regular parent child dates. These dates can be both parents with one child or a parent with a child – making sure each child gets a date with both parents at some point. The date doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. The focus is just to have fun together and give your kids a chance to talk about anything and everything without a sibling vying for attention. Make sure you are listening actively and don’t use this as an opportunity to lecture your child about anything.
  • Have device free fun time. Put away the devices for several hours. Play board games. Go for a hike. Choose an activity least likely to dissolve into sibling arguments – even if it’s just going for an ice cream cone. Having fun together as a family enhances feelings of love and acceptance.
  • Serve someone as a family and share your faith with them in some way – even if you are serving Christians and it is more sharing encouragement. Serving others and sharing your faith can give your kids perspective on life. Maybe their day wasn’t quite so bad after all. They have an important purpose and mission in life. God has good works He has planned in advance for them to do. plus, doing it together as a family enhances feelings of belonging, purpose, acceptance and love.
  • Use a special heart plate. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Each child should have turns using the heart plate at family meals. What privileges come with the heart plate or up to you and your creativity. Maybe the child with the heart plate has everyone say something they love about him or her. Perhaps they get to choose the menu when it’s their turn or their favorite food is part of the meal. Once again, how often you do this is flexible, but make sure each child gets equal turns.
  • Cuddle up and read a book together. Even teens can enjoy being read to under the right circumstances. Picture books are best for young children, but reading a chapter regularly out of a longer book can be fun for older kids and teens. Choose a book you enjoyed at their age or that you know they will like. Plodding through a boring book won’t work. Or cuddle up and read a story from the Bible together – sharing God’s love with them as you show them your love.

Have fun with it. Be creative. Make sure your kids know you love them. You might just find parenting gets a little easier.

3 Gifts Your Kids Need From You This Christmas

It’s only a few days until Christmas. Your kids have visions of new bikes, games, dolls or whatever they asked to receive as presents. There are three gifts, however, they didn’t think to add to their lists. Gifts that are the absolute best gifts you could give them.

The first gift your kids need from you is a large amount of quality time. Time where your focus is on them, not a device. Time when you listen as they tell you whatever is important to them….no matter how silly or unimportant it may seem to you. Time when you mentor rather than lecture. Time when you teach and coach them how to be who God wants them to be. Time to have fun and just enjoy being together.

The second gift your kids need is that you live out Deuteronomy 6:7 and 11:19 as if their very souls depend upon it.”Impress them on your children (God’s commands). Talk about them when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Your kids need you to do what’s in this verse every single day. They need you to do this so they can develop a strong faith foundation.

The third gift your kids need from you is to see you live your faith daily. They need to see how being a Christian makes you different from other parents and other people. They need to see you showing love to everyone…even your enemies. They need to see you obeying and worshiping God. They need to see you love reading your Bible and value praying to God. They need to see you have the character traits God wants His people to have. They need to see you serving others, being generous and sharing your faith with everyone you meet.

Your kids will recover if you couldn’t find the toy they wanted for Christmas. They won’t fare as well, however, if they don’t get these three critical gifts from you.

When Christian Parenting Seems Too Hard

Are you struggling in your Christian parenting journey? Do you feel like every other Christian parent but you has found some secret, easy way to raise their kids to be the people God created them to be? Don’t let Satan trick you! Every Christian parent has moments of confusion, doubt and gut wrenching struggle.

We question rather we are doing the right things or doing enough of them. We wonder if the mistakes we will inevitably make will somehow encourage our kids to reject God. We worry that our culture, our kids’ friends or their future spouses will encourage them to reject God rather than serve Him. We hold our breath at times praying that our kids choose to obey God’s commands rather than reject them as outdated or irrelevant.

It can be tempting at times to give up. To stop trying to do the hard work that is necessary to help your kids build strong faith foundations and develop to their godly potential. It’s tempting to believe Satan’s lies that what we do or don’t do as Christian parents doesn’t really matter because of our kids’ free will or that it’s the church’s responsibility to make sure our kids have everything they need to be strong, productive Christians as adults or that our kids will somehow magically live a Christian life just by seeing it lived by others sporadically.

As strange as it may sound, on some level you need to embrace those fears and doubts. Not to the point where they discourage from doing the sometimes difficult things required of Christian parents, but to the point that you know you care passionately about your kids’ souls. Remember that Satan wants to trick you, just like he did Elijah at one point. Satan wants you to believe you are alone in your struggles to be a Christian parent. I can promise you, there are other parents out there just as passionate and working just as hard to parent their kids towards God as you are. And don’t forget. God wants you to succeed. He loves your kids even more than you do. He wants them in Heaven even more than you do. He is there to support you in your journey.

Have you ever run a long race? I have and honestly I hate running around the block, much less 10k. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me moving forward is that free tee shirt at the finish line. As silly as it may sound, picturing myself showered, fed and wearing that shirt gives me the endurance I need to finish. I will never be first, but I finish and I get the same tee shirt as the guy who won.

Ever wonder why there are so many scriptures about endurance? Because they were written for you. God wants you to know He understands Christian parenting is hard. Really hard. But he also wants you to know that with His help, you can endure. You can cross that finish line. There’s no tee shirt (to my knowledge), but spending eternity in Heaven with your kids, grandkids and other descendants is the best finish line “prize” possible.

Sometimes to endure, we just need to be reminded about what God says about it. I encourage you to regularly read some of these verses. Put them where you can see them daily on your bathroom mirror. Memorize them. Pray them. Your kids need you to endure. So does the Church. So does the world.

Romans 5:3-4, James 1:12-18, Hebrews 10:36, James 1:2-4, Colossians 1:11-12, Romans 12:12, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Hebrews 12:1-3, Romans 15:4-5, Philippians 4:13, 1 Corinthians 9:24, Galatians 6:9, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Matthew 24:13, 1 Peter 2:20 (These are just some of the verses about endurance in the Bible to get you started.)

Free Resources for Teaching Your Kids About God

If you’ve been a Christian for very long, you have probably learned God has commanded you as a parent to teach your kids about Him and what He wants from and for your kids. Churches usually try to help parents by providing regular Bible class opportunities for kids and teens to learn even more about God. Unfortunately, COVID has drastically altered the ability of many congregations to provide their regular Bible classes. Which means if you have been depending solely upon your church to teach your kids about God, your kids have missed as much as 18 months of critical learning opportunities.

You can help compensate for this loss, by becoming more intentional about teaching and training your kids to be who God wants them to be at home. You may be at a loss though, for where to begin. Thankfully, Parenting Like Hannah and Teach One Reach One Ministries have lots of free resources to help! Here’s a partial list to get you started.

  • Parenting Like Hannah blog posts. From fun ideas to use to teach your kids important Christian life skills, to tips for solving common parenting problems to family devotionals ideas, you can use the search function on our blog to find what you need, when you need it. We publish at least two new posts each week, so there are always new things to try. Sign up for the newsletter to have new blog posts go straight to your email.
  • Parenting Like Hannah Facebook Community. Ask to join our private Facebook community and receive daily Christian parenting challenges five days a week. Make sure to like or comment on posts so Facebook will keep them in your feed.
  • Teach One Reach One children’s Bible lessons and activity ideas. With over 200 Bible stories to choose from and Bible, application and service project activity ideas for most lessons, you’ve got plenty to keep your kids engaged when learning about the Bible. The activities were designed for Bible classes, but most can be easily adapted for use by a family.
  • Teach One Reach One academic tutoring activities. With our Bible lessons, we’ve also provided ideas for faith based tutoring ministries which you can also use to help your kids learn or practice academic skills while also learning Bible stories. We have activities for ESL (which can be used with any language), beginning and advanced elementary language arts and math, science, health and hygiene and sustenance and survival.
  • Teach One Reach One teen devotionals and Living the Christian Life curriculum. We have regular devotionals, plus an entire curriculum designed to teach your kids Christian life skills while they are studying the Bible.
  • Printable parenting sheets. These one page tip sheets cover a wide range of popular Christian parenting topics. With tips and scriptures all on one page, they are a great resource for handling common parenting issues.
  • Baptism study with leader guide. Is your child asking about becoming a Christian? We have a great free ebook that contains everything you need to study baptism with your child. It’s one of our most popular Christian parenting resources.

To find these resources and more, head to and If you can’t find what you need, contact us and let us know. We may know of a place you can find it or it might be the idea for a new resource we create. We want to minister to you as you teach your kids about God. Let us know how we can help.