The Biggest Parenting Mistake You Can Make

This is my friend, Sherrie.  Not the bald one.  The beautiful one in the bed who still looks like she’s in her 20’s.  She and Rick have three delightful grown and almost-grown daughters. We raised our kids together with other Jesus-following parents who were all anxious about getting it “right”.

Last year around the time Sherrie’s eldest daughter was getting married she began to think she might be going through menopause.

Nope.

 Meet Jolie Layne Byron.  Born April 23, 2012.

I went to a shower for this new little one and we got to talking about our experiences with our “first round” of kids.  I started thinking…If I had it to do over again, what would I do differently?  What mistakes did I make?  What mistakes didn’t I make?!

There are the “little” things people might point to like the time I let Maggie wear her sandals to church.  It was 30 degrees, but I figure you gotta pick your battles.

Or, Katy might point out how in grade school she was scarred for life when she was home sick and I let her watch “Wait Until Dark” while I ran to the grocery store.

I could also throw John under the bus and mention the time he gave Maggie Ipecac in the middle of the night thinking it was cough syrup.

Times when I was too controlling and times when I was too permissive.  So many possibilities, so little time!!

I sent our daughters, 24 and 26, an email and asked them to weigh in.  I know they could give a list of things they wish we had done differently, but they were both feeling gracious I guess, because they only sent what they appreciated about our parenting.

It made me think of something that happened when the girls were in grade school and we were coming home from a vacation in Florida at a time we had had to pull them out of school.

They’re both really good students but keeping up with homework when there’s a beach beckoning is tough.  In spite of our reminders, Katy had not done the work she was supposed to do.  John, frustrated, said, “Katy!  Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t punish you!”

She didn’t miss a beat.  “Because you’re always telling us it’s all about Grace, Grace and more GRACE!!”

Maybe the biggest mistake we can make is to forget about grace.

I think of all the ways I’ve messed up and, I think of my heavenly parent.  I’m His reckless, well-meaning toddler, crashing into things and tripping over my toes.  I’m overwhelmed by a God who picks me up and dusts me off, and sets me back on my feet with the power to redeem my mistakes, turn me around and point me in the right direction.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9

Might you leave a comment today about what did your parents did right?  

Or a mistake you’ve made that you saw redeemed by God?

3 Comments

  1. Maureen Ramage

    April 30, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    I just loved them, no matter what, still do. Parenting is the hardest position in the world. God Bless You for sharing your inner thoughts, they are always right on!!! Moxoxo

  2. My biggest parenting mistake? Rather than validaing their feelings I tried to talk them out of them.

    When my oh so not popular little girl’s heart broke, waiting endlessly for birthday party invitations, play dates, sleepovers, for a real friend, she cried and I tried to explain.- Not everyone gets invited to everything, sleepovers are not as fun as you might think and so on. My intention was to help ease the pain of rejection. In reality however it fueled the pain by communicating she shouldn’t be hurt. If I could do it over again I’d respond, “It is so hard being left out”. But it is never to late is it.

    God has provided opportunity after opportunity for me to try try again. There is no doubt it has made a difference.

    • Thanks so much for sharing this wise insight Betsy. I can’t imagine a better mom than you. ALL your kids (and friends) are blessed by you.

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