As a parent of a 2 year old and one on the way in six weeks, I’ve been ever challenged with the concept of “gracious parenting”. My two year old has a very strong personality and I’ve been struggling with how to best address his behavior, all while showing love and grace.
There are so many books on parenting but I recently started reading Give Them Grace by Elyse M Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson. While I don’t agree with all of their ideas, I did appreciate a majority of what they had to write about. The whole idea behind the book is as parents we desire good behaviors, therefore we use discipline and/or other approaches to compel obedience. This in itself becomes a problem when we forget the other aspect of parenting which is compelled by love and grace. This understanding of love and grace only comes from knowing a God who has given us the very same love and grace.
So, what does this look like when parenting our children? Personally, I have been challenged to integrate both concepts when training my child. There are times when directives are essential in my child’s life and times when understanding and conversations revolving around grace are more important. I ask myself if I am more concerned about building my child’s character based on God’s standards or simply getting positive behaviors out of him/her. Am I taking time to talk and teach my child, or simply giving out orders? I want my child to know that I rely on the same grace, patience and love that God gives me every day. I want that to be modeled to my child even when they are not acting the way I feel they should be.