5 Ways We Can Fail Our Children


As parents, we will fail … sometimes horribly. But, we don’t have to raise the white flag and surrender ourselves to failure. By identifying some of these wrong patterns, we can start taking steps toward raising our children rightly.

1. Resorting to Anger

Most children can tell by your tone of voice and body language if you are haboring anger towards them. If your child needs correction, but you feel your emotions starting to boil over, go slow. Send your child to the next room, so you can take the time to breathe and compose yourself before approaching them.

2. Avoiding Forgiveness

Sometimes, though, you just mess up and let out your full wrath on them. Been there, done that. But rather than allowing that wall to remain between you and your children, you can begin to knock down those bricks with forgiveness. Though it takes swallowing a huge slice of humble pie, asking your child for forgiveness, not only models for them the right way to resolve conflict, but assures them that the relationship has not been broken.


3. Letting Them Have Their Way

Let’s face it. Kids are persistent. If they don’t wear you down with their continual requests, you may find yourself just giving in to escape the temper tantrums. But be warned. Children that consistently get their way will face a rude awakening one day when they realize the world does not revolve around them. And, if they don’t learn, at an early age, how to submit to your authority, how can we expect them to heed other authorities in their future?

4. Failing to Follow Through

We can also fail to follow through on consequences to their disobedience. Perhaps we were being lazy, or our words were just threats to get them to outwardly comply, or we just completely forgot. But, if you say that their screaming at the store will be dealt with at home, you need to follow through. We can’t get frustrated when they don’t listen to us if all we give them are empty words.


5. Encouraging Delayed Obedience

I used to help out in a classroom, where “the count” was implemented to get the kids to quiet down. It’s funny because once you get to #2, you start including fractions (2 1/2, 2 3/4, 2 7/8). Many of us have probably employed this same tactic at home. But, all we’re really accomplishing is training our children that delayed obedience is ok. If my kid is running towards an oncoming car, I’m not going to say, “I’ll give you to the count of 3 to stop.” And though it’s not always a matter of safety, a child needs to learn to obey his parent without delay.

I’m preaching to myself here too because it’s so easy to get into wrong habits of parenting. But don’t grow weary. You will see the fruit of your labor in due time.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)


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22 thoughts on “5 Ways We Can Fail Our Children

  1. I have no idea what happened to my comment . I tried twice, each time it shows my wordpress picture etc but then makes me sign in again and everyting disappears. If you can see this , I would really like to know.

    1. I saw your comments. I approved one of them, since the other one was a duplicate. I’m not sure why you had technical difficulties. I recently migrated my blog from another web host to wordpress.com, so that could be the reason. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my post. Blessings to you!

  2. Oh Ai, this is so so good! it can be hard to follow through with discipline sometimes but as you said, if we don’t teach them now, it’ll be a rude awakening one day. I love the delayed obedience thing. I have done the counting and lately I’m cutting it out because you nailed it. It just teaches they can delay and obey on their time and sometimes, that won’t work. This is just all so good! Great post and tips!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Rachael. That last one is often a challenge for me. And I know that when I allow delayed obedience, I give opportunity for me to get more frustrated.

  3. These are all so true! To do it right, it’s really hard work. It feels weird sometimes not giving my kid something she wants right now (because I personally don’t care if she has it) for the sole purpose of her learning that she can’t have whatever she wants right when she wants it.
    I’m going to think of your line of having some humble pie when I have to apologize to my kid. I love that 🙂 Thanks!

  4. A great list. I’ve been thinking on #3 “Letting them have their way” lately. We’ve been careful to assert our authority. But I notice too how much her face lights up when, on very rare occasions, I let her have a popsicle before dinner instead of making her wait. Somehow this lets her know it’s not all about rules and no’s. The role self discipline plays perhaps? Still thinking.

    1. I’ve wondered about that too … if those exceptions that we make show inconsistency before the kids. But I think that as long as the kids understand what is normally expected of them, there are going to be those exceptions for the sake of having fun together or blessing them with the unexpected. The Lord often does that with us.

  5. So many good points in this post!! I have to learn to take a moment and not fly off the handle. There are just times when it builds up. I have been known to ask for forgiveness from time to time 😉 We say No a lot! So my son is used to that. I try not to use the term ‘because I said so’ too often. I try to explain my reasons as much as possible. I explain that mommy is just human and I make mistakes too…

    1. Kids know we’re not perfect, that we’ll mess up quite a bit. So when we do ask them for forgiveness, I know it really speaks volumes to them, especially when they’re always being told to apologize. Thanks so much for your comment! These are thoughts that have been spinning in my head about my own parenting. I suspected that I wasn’t gonna be alone in this.

  6. Excellent thoughts here! I agree with every single one of these! I especially like failing to follow through. That is the hardest one for me. Discipline is so hard, yet so necessary. I know it’s good for them, but in the moment it definitely doesn’t feel good.

    1. Yes, absolutely, discipline is not fun … for me and the kids. But when avoid it, it gets worse for all of us. I have to cling to God’s promise that even though sorrowful at the moment, discipline will yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

  7. Great points, here.

    I find it so, so important to reconcile with my children when I drop the ball. It’s a great opportunity, for us, to talk about our faith in Christ, His work on the cross and ultimately, our newfound forgiveness with our Heavenly Father. It also allows them to know that we will all mess up, but that we must seek forgiveness and reconciliation. Mom and dad aren’t immune for it either.

    Lovely post, friend.

    1. Thank you, Ashley! I totally agree that even though it’s so humbling to have to go to your kids and confess your sins and ask for forgiveness, God sometimes blesses that time with an opportunity to share the gospel.

  8. I think following through is so important. It can be tough at times when you’re frustrated with them and they won’t listen, but if we don’t follow through they know they can get away with things.
    Great post! Thanks for sharing on the Shine Blog Hop!

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