Are you a polite parent?

{We’re out of town celebrating my daughter’s birthday … so today,  a compilation of posts from the archives on the topic of Polite Parenting.  I do hope they are encouraging to you as this new week begins. ~ Teri Lynne}

Several months ago I pondered the question … “What if submission begins with simply being polite?” In the course of that pondering, we looked at applying that idea to our marriages, parenting, and other relationships.

In looking at how the idea of submission relates to parenting, I developed four principles of polite parenting.   I wonder if we couldn’t all use a bit of reminder about these simple truths.

Principle 1: Don’t make it  about you

We make parenting about us instead of about our kids. It’s the reason we need to be affirmed in our schooling choices and time allocation.  It’s the reason we only share the good things our children do or the things that we feel pretty confident no one will judge us about.  It’s the reason most groups of mothers, in real life or online, end up becoming a competition for the “most engaged, most creative, most spiritual” title.And in all of that, we’re beating ourselves up and letting our children down!  But what if, we were just polite! What if we didn’t enter the competition, didn’t play the game?  What if we didn’t feel the need to share every situation so that others can tell us how great a job we are doing?  What if it was really about our children?

How do you work diligently to make sure your parenting is about your children and not about you?

Principle 2:  Obedience matters because it honors God.

When we teach our children to be obedient to us, we give them opportunity to learn to yield to God.

We must not take this lightly – demanding obedience for our own convenience or self-fulfillment.  Rather, we diligently train our children to give heed to our instruction because it affords them the blessing of pleasing the Lord.

Of course, this happens differently as our children grow older, but we must never allow ourselves the self-indulgence of believing that the major lesson of obedience is anything less that honoring God.

How are you teaching your child this important lesson?

Principle 3:  Be a student of your child.

We need to be aware of our children’s personalities and likes and dislikes … and even how time of day and hunger and our own level of stress can affect them.  We need to pay attention!  Learn our children … and then act on what we learn.

Now that I’ve talked to my daughter about what I do that irritates her, we both know I need to work on those things … and I will be asking her how I’m doing.

{This was the most challenging and convicting of all the polite parenting principles for me … I encourage you to read the entire post and consider carefully how you might be guilty of exasperating your children.}

How have you learned your children?

Principle 4: Parenting isn’t a short-term effort, it’s a life-long event.

So, in practical terms, we need to remember that our parenting should be two things:

  1. Grounded in the Word of God
  2. Balanced between discipline/correction and encouragement.

And let’s face it … rarely is there a day when that all happens smoothly … but over the course of our children’s lives we have the privilege of guiding, chastening (I love that word!), instructing … and of warning (sometimes from our own mistakes and fallings), exhorting, and encouraging.

Mommas, don’t take score at halftime!  Allow God’s power to work through your efforts as you daily, moment-by-moment, entrust your child to the Lord’s hands.

How do you refocus yourself on parenting for life, not for the moment?

I pray these reminders have encouraged and challenged you … they certainly have me! 🙂

7 Replies to “Are you a polite parent?”

  1. so true. having polite(kind, caring) caregivers has a big long-term effect on every child’s development. Sadly, to understand this, I had to raise my third child…I did not understand the concept with my first or second one. thankfully, they are all still young and impressionable, so I hope “better late than never”..

  2. oh girl – you just spoke directly – DIRECTLY to me this morning!! Thank you for your loving words of truth in kindness !!!
    Stef – Layton Family Joy recently posted…kicking off the week in prayerMy Profile

  3. “We make parenting about us instead of about our kids.” Ouch – so true though!

    When I’m consistently praying and thinking about the long term goal of raising children, I do so much better than when I am in the moment and reactive.

    Great reminder here. Thanks so much.
    Stacy @ Delighting in the Days recently posted…My Reading List for 2011My Profile

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Thank you, Stacy, for stopping by. Great insight!

  4. This is a fantastic post and really gets to the heart of how we should be focusing our parenting efforts. Thank you. I’m so glad I stopped by 🙂
    I heard a quote from Lisa Terkeurst the other day, and it flows beautifully with what you’ve shared here…
    “Be courageous enough to allow THE LORD to write your child’s testimony”.
    I loved that. He leads us and walks with us on this parenting journey!

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Thanks, Tanya!! 🙂 You are so sweet and encouraging. I appreciate your comment … and look forward to getting to know you better.

  5. […] talked before about the idea of submission beginning with being polite and what polite parenting looks like, the best part of a godly, well-made home is this:  The people who live there are […]

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