As much as we’d like to be ‘superdad’ or ‘supermom’ for our children, there is no such thing as a perfect parent. We are all prone to make mistakes. 

Dr. Joshua Straub points out that a lot of our parenting habits, both good and bad, come out of how we were raised.

“A lot of times we either parent the way our parents parented us, or we go to be opposite extreme because we don’t like the way our parents parented us. But we do these things without even thinking about it.”

“Some of us need to go back and forgive our parents; some of us are holding a grudge against them. Maybe your parents are too unhealthy to reconcile a relationship with and you need to set a boundary there, but maybe you’re harboring unforgiveness and need to forgive them.”

“Sometimes that can be writing a letter, you don’t even need to send it, but you write a letter. I describe journaling as a great way to begin to piece your own story together and rewrite your own story as a parent. Because our stories as parents impact our kid’s stories in how we’re raising them and how we interact with them.”

If you find yourself flying off the handle and saying things that you regret, Dr. Straub says it might be a good time to take a step back and do some journaling, or reach out to another parent for advice.

“This is what I believe the church is really good for. When you get involved in a good, healthy church and you have fellowship, a community group or a small group, and other parents that you can just process with and say, ‘Hey, I need help with this.’ This is what the church is all about – us coming together to support one another as parents, and to be able to raise kids who live, love and lead well.”

Dr. Straub adds that there are four times in a given day that provide us with opportunities to connect with our kids on a deeper level.

“In the morning when we wake, when we walk along the way, which is drive time, meal time and bed time. I’m telling you, tuck your kids in the bed at night as much as you possibly can. It is the most vulnerable part of their day.”

“You could be tucking your kids into bed for three years and they never mention a word. But it only takes that one time because they know you’ve been there over and over and over again for them to say, ‘Dad/Mom, can I tell you what happened to me at school today?’ It is the key time of the day to really get into the hearts and lives of our kids.”

As parents, we will never be perfect and we will make plenty of mistakes. But we can still do our best to raise our kids in a God-honoring way. 

Joshua Straub, Ph.D., has two cherished roles—as husband to wife, Christi, and dad Landon and Kennedy. He serves as Marriage and Family Strategist for LifeWay Christian Resources and is the president and cofounder of The Connextion Group, a company equipping leaders, businesses, organizations, and churches in family wellness. He is author of  .

Hope for imperfect parents