Have you ever experienced a parenting failure that you wished you could take back? It happened one sunny day not too long ago. I lost it. And by “it,” I mean that I lost my temper. And when I say “one sunny day,” I mean today. (How’s that for transparency!) I have two little girls, and I love them more than anything. Seriously… they mean the world to me and I would do anything for them. But unfortunately, these tiny humans know how to push my buttons. They know how to get under my skin at the worst possible moments.
It’s normal to have a parenting failure from time to time. We would all be lying to say it never happens to us. So how do we recover from the wreckage?
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Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. – Colossians 3:21 (ESV)
- Admit you were wrong… to God as well as yourself. Oh, how we love to justify our actions! I’m the first one to admit that I do this way too often. I lose my cool in front of my kids, and I immediately begin to justify it. I claim it to be the result of stress or having too much on my plate. But the truth is that self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. When I’m lacking self-control in my life, it’s because I’m choosing to walk in the flesh instead of by His Spirit.
- Admit you were wrong… to your child. Some may disagree with me here, but I personally believe that it’s important for our children to witness how we handle a parenting failure. More is caught than taught when it comes to our kids. Seeing us admit our mistakes and take the necessary steps to seek forgiveness and restoration is an important part of setting a good example for our children. By taking this step, we are teaching them that we all make mistakes (even as grown-ups) and that it’s imperative for us to always strive to reconcile and make things right.
- Find a way to improve. I’ll be honest. This is easier said than done. But the truth is that as believers, we are called to grow in Christ. We never want to be stagnant. As we grow and learn to abide in the Spirit, we produce spiritual fruit. We also sin less often because we are allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us more and more each day.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23
So there you have it. Parenting failures can and WILL happen. We will let our children down. But how we handle these failures speaks volumes.
And believe me when I say that our children are always watching.
When our children see us recover from a parenting failure, they learn by example what it means to repent and make a change.
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.