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When it come to raising kids, we all have hopes & dreams for them, right? Your list might look a lot like ours, my husband and I want our kids to grow up loving the Lord and to be respectful, kind, independent, trustworthy, responsible, courageous, compassionate, and loving. So what is our END game? How do we get them there? Intentional Parenting with a Game Plan.
Sure, God is in control of our children’s future and ultimately He determines who our kids will grow up to be, but He also gave parents a very specific calling! Our kids did not become our kids by accident… and God did NOT give us the kids in our home just to provide their physical needs. Our job is to launch them into this world well and that doesn’t happen without intentionality on our part.
Being intentional can look a lot of different ways and there is NO right way!
There are a few keys to finding YOUR path to intentionality as a parent:
1.) Be Aware of each child’s individual needs & gifts – We often want an “easy button” as a parent, just tell me what to do and I will do it…. but it’s not that easy! Each child is an individual with specific God given gifts and their own set of strengths and weaknesses. So we can’t parent each child exactly the same. (check out this series of posts called Your Child’s Personality from Focus on the Family & this Spiritual Gifts test for YOUTH)
We parent best when we really know our children!
2.) Be Engaged in their Interests – Not just remotely interested like REALLY TRULY interested… trust me they know the difference! My 9 year old son loves books, we often connect with him by reading books together. My 13 year old daughter is really into music, we often connect by simply letting her pick the music we listen to in the car (currently the “clean version” of the Hamilton soundtrack) or sitting on her bed while she plays us her favorite new songs.
Does this take sacrifice & time on our part as a parent? YES! Is it worth it to connect with our kids and have “teachable moments”? YES!
We gain influence in their lives if they believe that we TRULY care about the things that matter to them!
3.) Be Present in their Everyday – To be clear I’m not saying be a Helicopter parent! Being present means slowing down and paying attention. This one is my personal struggle & the one I’m committing to work the hardest on this year… this article by Hands Free Mama was my inspiration! Also check out this great list of ways to be present for your child.
They need our presence way more than any PRESENT!
If this is a struggle for you, as it is for me, may I recommend these great books:
4.) Be Real about your life – We want our kids to share their struggles and successes with us, but we aren’t often willing to do the same with them. They don’t need perfect parents, they need authentic ones. How will they deal with the REAL world if they only see the shiny side that you show them, be sure you are exposing them to age appropriate REAL world issues. They need you to model authenticity for them. Check out these 3 Reasons to Be Vulnerable with Your Kids.
Being vulnerable with your children feels risky, but it’s worth the risk.
5.) Be Educated – We are not parenting the same generation that our parents did. Just because your parents didn’t have to have “those” conversations with you, doesn’t mean that you won’t have to have “those” conversations with your kids. As parents, it’s important to be lifelong learners. My favorite resources to stay “on top” of things are Common Sense Media, Parents Who Fight and Raising Boys & Girls.
Our kids NEED us to be one step ahead of them!
6.) Be Fun, with no hidden motive – What is fun to us is not always what’s fun for our kids!
- Have a book lover? – Read a book series together – There are so many great benefits to reading or listening to a book series with your child. It fosters time together and great conversation. Your child will feel like you have been on an adventure together and you never have to leave home!
- Have a movie lover? – Consider themed movie nights – Pick a favorite movie and let that kid help you plan the whole evening around it with a themed dinner, activities, & decor. Finish the night cuddled up watching the movie.
- Have a Gamer? – Have a family tournament – Pick a multi-player video game & have a tournament. Get fun snacks and make a tournament bracket, see who comes out the family champion! We love to do this with bowling or tennis, but also have some mean Mario Kart or Dance Party competitions. This is a great article on gaming with your kids!
- Have a Sports lover? – Attend a game together – While professional or even college games can be expensive, don’t count out local high school games or just going to a friend’s little league game together!
(Here’s more GREAT ideas if you struggle with being a “fun mom”)
Find what’s fun for them and it might take a little effort on your part, but you might find you like it!
7.) Be a Leader in their Spiritual Development – Too many times we leave this job to the church… parents are the most influential people in their child’s spiritual development. Find a resource that fits the age of your child and USE it! Ask God to open your eyes to natural “teaching moments” that lend themselves to spiritual conversations. This does not have to be a formal family devotional time, just be intentional.
- I’m excited about the new family discipleship resources that my friend Jess is launching this year at Gather and Grow, check them out HERE.
- If you are looking for a traditional devotional book to walk through with your child, here are some options for younger kids, tweens & teens.
- Pray FOR and WITH your children.
Here are some great resources on Prayer:
8.) Be Open Handed – Give it All to God and let Him work through us – We have to be willing to admit that these are God’s children and we are NOT in control. We will not be the perfect parents, but we do have a perfect Savior. Being in His Word and staying in communication with Him through prayer is the best thing we can do to be intentional in our parenting! They need us to continue to invest in our own spiritual lives as well. We can’t draw from an empty well. We have to be filled up with Christ to allow His spirit to guide our words, actions and reactions.
Founder of The Praying Mom
This website was birthed out of Christy's passion to see women become intentional in their lives. She is passionate about helping moms discover their purpose in their homes, churches, communities & world! Follow more of her journey HERE