3 Easy Parenting Principles We Used and Saw Amazing Results

Happy children playing with toy laptop at home

I am frequently asked what we did or didn’t do as parents. I am amazed God has allowed us to raise the two young men we have. In their mid-twenties they are far better men than I was at their age. They love Jesus. They work hard and provide for themselves. They love others well. What a blessing!

It’s all grace.

But, there were a few principles we practiced consistently.

Here are 3 easy parenting principles all parents should consider:

Be intentional

Parenting is hard work. Don’t try it without a plan. It’s amazing how we tend to plan for everything in life, but seldom for our parenting. I know men and women who have a plan to improve their golf game, but nothing to help them grow as a father or mother. Parents who plan great social events but have no plan to instill values in their children – they simply react to life as it happens. Some parents scramble to make their children happy, making sure they are in every activity available, but never stop to think what kind of character they want their children to have as adults and what is going to best help them get there. 

If you want to be a great parent, you must be intentional about the role. You must have an overall goal and plan for your parenting. This includes an individual plan for each child. They are each different and require unique discipline, interaction and approaches to parenting. It means deciding in advance what the character and values you are going for and thinking through – intentionally – ways to develop them. 

At the beginning of each new year, we discussed each boy and came up with a shared goal for each one and talked through ways we could better mold their character in the coming year. We thought about character traits should as honesty, integrity and kindness. It made us limit some of their activities so we could spend quality time with them and make sure they were in the right programs (yes church was one) and around the right people influences.  

Shape the heart

The Bible is clear we should “Above all else guard the heart for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) I believe in firm discipline. I also believe in extending much grace. More than anything, however, the parent should learn to know, protect and shape the heart of their child. It is the heart, which will ultimately determine the decisions and directions the child eventually makes in life.

I learned great lessons from older friends and things they did which tended to push their children away rather than draw them closer. I always wanted to have a heart connection to our boys. That doesn’t mean giving them everything. Ephesians 6 commands us not to exasperate our children. We exasperate when we have needless rules, when our homes lack grace, or we give them everything but never helping them develop discipline and structure for their life. 

We taught our boys biblical principles. We shared with them our own struggles. We built deep connections with them. Again, this required time to develop. We ate most dinner meals together and never turned down an opportunity to throw and catch a ball. 

Enjoy the ride

Children are children for a very short time. Enjoy those days. The diaper days turn into the diploma days quickly. Be a fun parent – balancing love with discipline. Laughing with your children will help relieve the stress of your life and theirs and keep them wanting to be close to you well into the difficult teen and early adult years.

Let their friends know yours is a welcoming home – where love abounds always. You may not allow everything, but the door should always be open for a child to return. Children can’t handle all the stress of the adult world. We didn’t hide problems from our boys but we did help them believe God was in control, they could trust Him and us and enjoy being a child. 

We played games and made up songs and laughed until it hurt sometimes. We loved seeing our boys enjoy life and grace in our home. 

For my complete parenting philosophy see THIS POST or read other parenting posts HERE.

Which of these do you most need to improve upon as a parent?

(Speaking of principles, be sure to read my disclaimer post about them by clicking HERE.)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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18 thoughts on “3 Easy Parenting Principles We Used and Saw Amazing Results

  1. Excellent post Ron, and so much needed. I agree with all three points. As with your first two points, my wife and I write our yearly Family Vision which includes a vision for each one of our four children. This time is work, but so worth it! We have seen God's hand and direction in this simple effort. In fact, in the last 15 years, we missed doing it twice and we noticed the difference. We do it during our Anniversary Celebration. We take a long weekend or so do celebrate and take a day to work on our vision. In the next week or so I will have a free course on my blog that will teach others how to do this with a printed outline they can follow. I'm excited about sharing this material.

    One more thing, we are firm believers that we just don't want our kid's obedience "good' character, but we want their hearts. And so in order to do that we have learned that providing proper direction and leadership for their lives, helps their willingness to work with us with anticipation of a great future and a fun present – to the best of our ability – according to God's standards and direction.

    Thanks again for your post Ron. This kind of stuff is very much needed in our world today.

  2. If I may add a fourth: Having Kids Lets YOU Learn Again – You may be finished with your education and have a solid view of the world, but having a young child is THE perfect time to expand your own horizons. For instance, in the last month your child may have come to you asking "What's Wrong With Japan?" Every parent will get questions that are equal parts astounding and daunting from their 4 year olds. Instead of answering that you don't know. Take that opportunity and go to the library so you can both learn about Japan. Their world view is in part shaped by what you know and believe. Taking the time to give your children informed answers to hard questions is as important as molding their heart.

  3. I am a church-planting pastor and the hardest job in the world is pastoring my own family. Thanks for the article and encouragement.

  4. Parenting is a very tasking and rewarding work.It’s a commission that must be undertaken with great care for any mistake has a negative impact on the family,society and the world at large.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with the three principles mentioned (and feel the first is the key to applying the second and third). I do have to say that the title "Easy Parenting Principles" made me a little wary as I have found nothing "easy" about parenting, particularly now that I have a high schooler :)

    • Thanks Heidi! I agree, there is nothing easy about parenting. It even gets harder when they get out of high school…if you can believe that. I chose the title though because in my experience, we have a lot of lazy parents out there. Setting up the system to parent well is easy….follow through gets more difficult.

  6. Wow – interestingly, today early morning as soon as I woke up, a question is keep bordering me, Am I good father of 3 young kids?

    I really need to have an overall plan and believe this will lead my more enjoyable moment with them.