4 Things That Destroy Our Parenting

While celebrating a birthday with my in-laws, my 3-year-old son asked if he could do something outside. I can’t even remember what it was, but the answer was a definite no. As most kids do, he then went into negotiation mode. The information he proceeded to share gave me the confidence to change my answer from no to yes. But in fear of looking like a “soft dad” in front of my in-laws, I dug my heels in even further to say no and followed it up with one of those “end of discussion” looks.

My pride to look like the final authority with an obedient son in front of my in-laws negatively impacted my parenting. It took me away from making the best decision just to protect my own image. Pride is one of the enemies in parenting, but there are more things that can destroy our parenting. Here are 4 of them.

1. Creating a “Fatherhood Façade”

One of the guys in my friend circle seemed to have the perfect family. They were always dressed well, smiling, and seemed to be enjoying life together. But one day, he let us know that he had just moved out and was getting a divorce. It blindsided us as things appeared to be so great. As he began to share what had been going on inside the home over the last few years, we realized the effort he took just to look like they had it all together.

Every dad should try to ensure that his family is unified, communicates well, and spends time together intentionally. Unfortunately, when our families aren’t like that, we sometimes make it look like they are, creating a fatherhood façade. This fatherhood façade is a slippery slope for the whole family as it begins to eat away at the humility, openness, and transparency of that family. Our kids then learn to put on a false identity every time they leave the house to appear acceptable instead of being their authentic selves.

Every dad should try to ensure that his family is unified, communicates well, and spends time together.

2. Letting Our Fears Restrict Us

“Careful… Careful… Careful…” just might be the soundtrack to parents on the playground while their toddlers (especially the first born) try something new and adventurous. It’s easy to want to protect our kids from every fall, scratch, and mean word, but we also need to give them space to learn and develop. Fear can feed stagnation and restricts us from letting our kids grow up. Second Timothy 1:7 tells us that “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Modeling to our kids that fear will not restrict us will enable them to become bolder and more courageous.

3. Relentlessly pursuing work accolades.

A multimillionaire who inherited great wealth and did not need to work still had a full-time job for the sole purpose of showing his kids that Dad gets up every day to work hard. Our careers can be a great way to model to our kid what hard work, dedication, and perseverance look like. It can also show our kids what our priorities are (or aren’t). Consistently having late nights, long trips, and evenings filled with a distracted mind may not make an immediate impact on our parenting. But years from now, when we won’t have any remembrance of the project we were working on that caused us to miss that ball game or recital, our kids will remember who wasn’t in the stands.

4. Letting Our Pride Override What’s Best for Our Kids

Like the story in this article’s intro, the only reason I wanted to stand firm was because I was too proud to look like I wasn’t firm. Sometimes it’s important to stand firm just to show our kids that no really does mean no, but this wasn’t one of those moments. Proverbs 11:2 tells us that “when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Let that be an encouragement to not allow pride, one of the enemies in parenting, to rule us. Instead, we can find wisdom through our humility.

Sound off: What are some other possible enemies in parenting?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing you would like to do that you think I’ll say no to?”