Season: 2 Episode: 024
Summary: Shanda and her husband Dean talk about the common mistakes made by godly parents today. Should parents make their kids go to church? Can you wait until your kids rebel and then get the church to save them? We’ll talk about these mistakes and more on today’s episode.
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Welcome back, my friend. You are listening to episode 24: Common mistakes godly parents make. Before we get into today’s show, I want to read a review left on my FB page from Emily White and it says, “Love listening to the podcast. It feels like she’s talking to a friend.” So short but so sweet. Thank you, Emily! I am so glad you feel that way and I hope I make everyone feel welcome when you hear me, meet me or just read something by me.
So, by the time this podcast airs it will be the day after Mother’s Day. For that reason, I want to talk about common mistakes godly parents make when raising their kids.
Before I started this podcast and women’s ministry, I was a youth pastor for seven years. I’m also a teacher and have taught middle school and elementary school. And of course, if you’ve listened to me long enough, you know I have three boys of my own. They are 16, 14 and 10.
I’ve seen and heard a lot of things from different parents and I can assure you that parents are the most influential people in a child’s life.
I was on a job interview for a kindergarten position a few years ago and I was asked who the most influential people in a child’s life are. I’m a statistics person, so of course I looked it up and statistics confirm the impact parents have on their kids lives.
I said as much to the principal who said, “What if the parents aren’t good influences. Who is the greater influence on the child’s life then?” He’s asking the same question, while not taking into consideration that bad influence is still influence.
Parents can and do impact their kids both negatively and positively.
So if you’re a parent, or hope to be one some day … we’re going to talk about some mistakes christian parents make and what we can do to raise our kids to the best of our ability.
My goal is not to make anyone walk away with mom/dad guilt. Because if you’re a parent you know that’s real. And we have to remember that every family has disfunction to it because we are all broken people trying to rear up other broken people. So, don’t be too hard on yourself. Take the nuggets of truth that applies to you from today’s episode and pray over them as you raise up your little guys/girls.
The 5 common mistakes we’re going to tackle today are:
- “I don’t want to force my kids to go to church” philosophy.
- Being ignorant of what’s going on with your kids.
- Not letting your kids catch you reading/praying and encouraging them to do the same.
- You don’t have honest conversations with your kids because it’s uncomfortable.
- You try and get the church to save your kid.
“I don’t want to force my kids to go to church” philosophy. I hear parents say this all the time. I’ve also had youth members who would come and go and come and go. There was no consistency.
Let me first start off by saying that the parents who ask this question almost never have a solid relationship with God in the first place. They are hit and miss so they place no real value on their kids developing a relationship with God.
If you want the hard and fast answer … look no further than what Joshua told the Hebrew people in Joshua 24:15, “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
He didn’t say, “I’m going to serve the Lord and the rest of my family is still deciding.”
Let me also say that there is verse after verse throughout the Bible that instruct parents on how to train their kids to know God. Many of them are in Proverbs and they are for both the mother and the father. God doesn’t tell one parent to teach more than the other.
We also must remember that people don’t discover truth on their own. They must be led to the truth. Truth must be taught. And children have to be guided.
And here’s a kicker for all of you who think your kids want to go to church … they don’t. My mom used to take us to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday. I prayed and asked God to keep her home. I didn’t want to go to church. “Can’t we just have one day off, Jesus? Is that too much to ask?”
Kids aren’t always going to want to go to church. But how else will they learn about God and develop their own relationship with Him?
With my own kids, we established long ago that they will go to church regardless of whether they want to or not. But if we require our kids to go to church, that means we must go too. Like Joshua said, “As for me and my house”.
That means what Joshua required for his house he required for himself. They were all in it together.
So, should you force your kids to go to church? That depends. Are you going to go to church too? Are you committed to serving the Lord and being committed to assembling with like believers?
As for me and my house we will serve the Lord is more than just pretty home decor bought at Kirkland’s. It means your whole house is committed.
2) Ignorant of what’s going in with your kids.
First, let me say that some parents have this philosophy that their kids’ bedroom is their space and they ask for permission to enter. I don’t share that philosophy.
It’s a parent’s responsibility to know what their kids are watching, who their kid’s friends are, how school was that day, if they’re turning in homework, their social media accounts, and all the things.
Proverbs 29:15 says, “A child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”
Parents who are actively involved in their child’s lives, education and have open communication with their kids, have more successful children in these areas.
If you want to get your kids to open up and come to you with problems, you must cultivate those lines of communication and build trust with your kids.
That way they are more likely to not want to keep secrets from you.
I was really mindful about this with my boys when they were very young and this is how I did it:
- I took them on mother-son dates and I still do. When we’re by ourselves, it’s easier for them to open up and talk about things they wouldn’t talk about around the entire family.
2) I always ask my kids how their day was. I talk to them about their teachers and their friends.
3) When your kids trust you with sensitive information, be careful who you tell. One of my boys comes to me more than he goes to his dad. He literally asks for alone time so we can talk.
4) Make sure you connect with your kids every single day. You want to keep that bond and the lines of communication open.
It is your job as a parent to go to your kids and see what they’re doing. A few of our house rules are:
1) You cannot be on your phone in your room alone. Be with your family so it provides accountability.
2) When it’s family time, it’s family time.
3) When we all eat dinner at the table, there’s no TV or phones and we have a game where we pull out questions and go around the table and answer them.
4) My boys can only have Instagram and I have to be a friend so I can see what they post.
So know what you’re kids are doing and be in the know.
3) Not letting your kids catch you reading/praying.
This is a big one and I’ll tell you why: our kids need to see us be more than church goers but Jesus followers on a daily basis.
What are we establishing in our homes?
In Deuteronomy, God instructs the people to talk to their children about God when they walk along the road, when they’re at home cleaning the yard, when they’re driving to school and putting the groceries away.
He tells them to teach them about God and His ways in all they do.
A lot of times kids complain that their parents are different at home than they are at church. Or they don’t see a true follower of Jesus outside of just attending church, so what do you expect from them when it comes time for them to commit to Jesus on their own?
I caught my mom reading her Bible and praying All. The. Time. I would walk in on her kneeling beside her bed with tears running down her face. I knew she was a praying woman.
I’m currently studying the book of Joshua and today as I was reading, this verse stuck out to me and I thought to myself, “I have got to share this with my listeners because it hit me hard.”
It’s actually in the book of Judges because my study led me there in another reference.
And it’s Judges 2:10, “All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.”
In other words, Joshua and all of that generation that saw the mighty hand of God died and when the next generation came along they didn’t know God.
The only way they could not have known who God was is because their parents and the generation before them stopped talking about Him. They stopped having conversations when they took their walks and put the groceries away and drove to school.
Are your kids hearing about Jesus from your mouth? Are they catching you in the word of God and praying in your prayer spot?
It’s our responsibility to make sure they know Him and see us seeking Him.
4) Have honest conversations with your kids even when its uncomfortable
This is another one a lot of parents seems to have a hard time with. When it comes to things like sex, drugs, evolution and other hard conversations with our kids.
What we as parents have to come to terms with is that our kids are going to hear about any and every topic there is because we live in the world. It’s not really an option that we talk to our kids about these things. It’s mandatory.
Kids are naturally curious and we live in an information age. They can find the answers in an instant and the scary part is you don’t know where they’re going to turn to get their answers about hard topics.
Prov 18:17. “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”
The first one to present their case to our kids is going to seem right unless there is someone there with a good counter argument. Again, we live in the world and the world tries to counter God’s truth every day.
Paul presents the Colossians with truth so they are armed and verse 2:4 explains his reasoning: “I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.”
Paul warned and said people will come with persuasive arguments. But when you know the truth, you won’t be deceived.
As uncomfortable as it may seem, it’s so important to talk to our kids about what’s going on in culture. Included in those conversations are the things they are confronted with on a daily basis such as homosexuality, gender neutralism, and hot topics that seem to shape and mold the minds of this generation of young people.
Again, one of the ways Dean and I did that was by taking our boys to breakfast by themselves (Brody isn’t there yet), and we talked to them about the birds and the bees. We laid it out for them and told them what God expected out of sex and marriage and they were scarred for life. Haha!
We also talk about what to expect when they date … what to look for in a mate … how to be a man and take responsibility for what God has given them.
What I’ve learned is the more conversations we have the easier it is to have them. And the more open our kids become to having hard conversations with us.
5) The last mistake is when parents try and get the church to save their kid.
You don’t even want to know how many times this happened to me as a youth pastor. I had parents come and literally dump their kids on the church door step and tell me their kids were into drugs, rebelling, drinking … you name it.
I had kids stealing, failing school, running in gangs, the whole gamut. It was clear they didn’t want to be at church. Their parents didn’t even want to be at church because they’d drop them off and leave.
Let me express this to you … it does’t work. Maybe, by some slim chance or percentage, this kid is going to open up his/her heart to the gospel and accept Jesus, but the parents aren’t even committed because they don’t want to be saved … they want their kid to not be so hard to raise and they hope God and the youth leader can talk some sense into him.
It just doesn’t work that way.
Kids want to see truth, hear truth, and know truth but the highest success rate of Christians are those that are raised in church from childhood. It drops dramatically in the teen years and rises again after that.
I’m not saying teens didn’t get saved in my youth group or that they can’t. But I am saying that you are making it harder if you expect them to give their lives to God once they are already in a place where they want nothing to do with God and don’t want to listen to you.
I had people come out of the woodwork during summer camp because that is where God moved mightily and kids got saved, but when you are trying to make church and church camp save your kid and don’t expect to change yourself … you’re inconsistent and not showing your child that you’re in this together.
If your child is a teenager and you want to know how to save them … nothing and no one will but God.
BUT … remember, you are the most influential person in your child’s life and more than what you say, they’ll watch what you do. Get your own life right before God and commit to Him before you ever expect your kids too.
Then pray, take them to church and ask God to do a work in their hearts. Don’t expect your kids to do something you’re not willing to do.
Let me really drive home that I am not a perfect parent. The good Lord knows we gots some work to do in this heart of mine …. Especially now that I’m homeschooling these boys of mine. Wyatt, my oldest, said today that we need to pray and ask God for patience for me.
He thinks he’s funny. But the funny part is we’re studying the fruits of the spirit right how as a family and it ’s hard to live that out all the time. We talk about that too. So, no. I’m not perfect.
You can and will impact your kids and when Jesus is the center of your life, He’ll be the center of your home and your impact will never leave your children.
Until next time … let’s be the greatest influence in our children’s lives and live out faith right in front of them. I’ll catch you on the next one!