10 Perfect Parenting Tips from a Not-So-Perfect Mom


Children are like mirrors—they reflect and mimic what they see. It can be good. It may be bad. I know this because it’s played out in my family a hundred times. I lose my cool one day, and then sometime later, I see this adverse behavior displayed—usually in front of everyone in the supermarket—from one of my sons.

Lately, I’ve been convicted about my parenting. When it comes down to it I don't want to just “get by" as a mom. I want my days, minutes, words—everything—to count.

Here are ten effective parenting tips to help you better reflect the grace of God to your children. I’ll admit, some of these lessons I’ve learned from others and it’s easy for me to get off-track, but I pray these tips will radically transform your parenting.

Because, at the end of the day, parenting is really about making disciples. 

1. Speak to your child in a way that you would want to be spoken to.
Our lives are full of stress. We have burdens we carry every day. Sometimes inadvertently our stress can be filtered down to how we treat our children. The words we speak to our children can either bring "life or death" (Proverbs 18:21). Choose them wisely. Make them count.  

2. Look them in the eyes.
I personally think it's important our children see us stop, get to their level and look at them when we speak or interact with them. To me, it says, whatever else I am doing can stop because you are important enough to me to have this conversation. I love it when my husband looks me in the eyes and talks to me... it melts my heart. I have a feeling it is important to our children too.  

3. Give them a chance to speak their minds.
There was a time my oldest son and I were going at it. I became quite emotional and completely took over the conversation and would not let him get a word in. Later, my husband graciously pointed out how I sort of "bullied" the conversation. I seemed to ramble on over things that didn't even happen because I never gave my son a chance to plead his case. They may be young, but they have a right to explain their side of the story and to graciously be heard.  

4. Ask for forgiveness... often.
You are human. You will make mistakes.You will sin and do wrong things and your kids know it. Let go of your tough exterior and be quick to ask your child for forgiveness when you mess up. Learn to do it and be ready to hand out forgiveness at any time! 

5. Don't speak down to your children.
Our family loves a good laugh, but there comes a time when you can cross the line of laughing together and hurting one's pride. Be careful to know the difference. Our children need to know we have their backs and we won't tear them down for the sake of a joke.  

6. Don't compare them to another child or sibling.
God created us all different. He is the one who ornately designed us with our unique qualities and traits. When we start to compare other children's abilities to our children, it can etch away their confidence. It says to them, "Mom or Dad is disappointed in who I am"... "I'm not good enough." Instead, encourage them in their giftedness. Praise them for their accomplishments. Don't try and make them into something you think they should be. 

7. Give them an encouraging touch.
You may think your child "isn't the touchy type," but I would argue that every child needs to lovingly be touched. There is nothing like a parent's arm around them or pat on their back, literally. We should never be too busy to show we care this way. They need and want it from you. 

8. Learn to laugh with them.
Laughter is so good for all of us—young and old. Let them laugh at your flub-ups and mistakes. Show them that life doesn't always have to be so serious. When they see you smiling, they know you approve. Approval is huge for any child. 

9. Be on guard... guard their hearts.
As parents we can easily get worn down and let things slide. But I’ve been convicted lately about vigilantly protecting the hearts of my boys. Let me explain. Just recently we took a little trip. My husband was not with us so some of the things that are "iffy" that are usually run through him had to go through me. My son asked to watch a movie on his iPod. My instinct was to say, "Go ahead." It would give momma at least an hour and half of only dealing with three boys not four—so why not? It sounded so appealing. I had no clue what the movie was about and I started to wrestle with the decision. I researched the content and I was alarmed by the material and had to put my foot down. I so badly wanted to let him watch it to get a breather, but I'm glad I decided to do what was hard even though I had to deal with his disappointment. In the end, we are usually their only line of defense in protecting their hearts from potential pitfalls that could affect them in years to come. Stand up. Be the parent. Get wise and do what you know is right... all the time

10. Keep pointing them to Jesus.
There are many things I don't do right as a parent. I mess up quite often. I'm thankful that I can keep going back to examples of how Jesus dealt with others while he was on earth. I can point out to them what he did and said... how he responded… and show them time and again what we should strive to be like. Ultimately, we will always get it right – in our parenting - when we set him as our example to follow.


  1. I LOVE this! I completely agree. I've just been discouraged this morning by the children-should-be-robots mindset that seems to permeate Christian teaching. Children are PEOPLE and should be valued and respected as such! What are we teaching them about how to treat people when we don't consider their wants/opinions, when we talk down to them, when we do nothing but give commands all day? It really frustrates me. It's no wonder our children aren't practicing kindness when you look at the modeling we give them sometimes.

    1. I totally agree, Crystal! Thank you for sharing this. Yes, we are not creating machines to act how we program them to... we are molding them to be kind and generous, gracious and disciplined. We do this by setting the example in our lives first. Thanks, Crystal :)