Parent with grace and mercy. Although consistently responding to children’s behavior is important, so is surprising them with your kindness.
I want your kids to experience your goodness so they believe in it. Your strategic use of grace (providing something good when they don’t deserve it) and mercy (not providing punishment when they do deserve it) can strengthen your relationship when you explain what you’re doing. These kind and compassionate responses model God’s responses to us, His children.
Observant Parents Encourage Children
When you were young, do you remember what it felt like to be accused of something and even punished for something you did not do or that was an accident? It’s painful. Do you remember never getting a pat on the back or reward of any type when you did something well? That’s painful, too. Observant parents who know their kids can prevent this type of thing from happening frequently.
Encouragement matters. It’s attractive. Encouraged children are more likely to make wise and healthy choices. It does their hearts good to know, when being honest with their parents about their behavior, that they won’t always be punished and they may be awarded. Circumstances will be considered.
Are you concerned about your children’s behavior? Do you wish you could more often respond to them with grace and mercy? Here’s one way to look at it. One of our core needs is purpose. A main way we fulfill our purpose is to glorify God. I tell children that a main way they can do this is when they choose first-time obedience. What makes this more likely?
- People to serve. Do they want to serve you or are they often angry at you?
- Direction. Do they care what you think because they know you’re on their side and they want to please you?
- Hope. Would they describe you as hope-giving or hope-zapping? Are you a positive or a negative person? Do you encourage or discourage them?
Parent with grace and mercy. It’s good for you and for your kids.