This is Truth.Love.Parent and we are dedicated to helping you become an intentional, premeditated parent.
I asked my wife what she thought of that tagline and she said, “the only thing that comes to my mind when I hear ‘premeditated’ is murder.” Well, no doubt there are a couple people out there who might feel that way in their parenting, but that’s not what we mean!
Merriam Webster defines premeditated as “characterized by fully conscious willful intent and a measure of forethought and planning.” I love that definition! Imagine your parenting being “characterized by fully conscious willful intent and a measure of forethought and planning.”
Well, that is our topic for the day: 5 Steps to Being a Premeditated Parent. And if this podcast benefits you in any way, we’d love for you to share it with your friends.
Think about your greatest skill. Isn’t it great that you can fix that transmission, balance that checkbook, grow that pumpkin, and shoot that basketball without even thinking about it?
Have you ever noticed, though, that no one seems to be an expert in parenting? Open any Christ-honoring parenting manual and you will read somewhere in the the first chapter that the author acknowledges he isn’t the perfect parent.
Well, I’m here to say that I’m not the perfect parent either. In fact, when it comes to your son, you’re the best parent he can have because you’re the parent God chose for him . . . not me. Of course, our sin keeps us from being the best parent we can be even with our own children. This is why in one way or another it’s always about me, because I need to defeat my own sin if I want to successfully help my children defeat theirs.
Part of that process is learning some things God calls wisdom, discernment, and self-control. We like to call it Premeditated Parenting.
1. Stop Following Hearts
Every time a boy breaks the rules at Victory Academy for Boys they have to fill out a Think Sheet. One of the questions on that Think Sheet is “Was your decision based off fact or feeling?” Every single time, without exception, the boys eventually acknowledge that in the moment their sinful behavior was motivated predominantly by their feelings -- not their brains.
That’s not completely surprising, though. The world’s doing a great job teaching them that’s the only way to make choices.
“If it feels good, do it.”
“Follow your heart.”
“Be true to yourself.”
“Do what makes you happy.”
. . . and other Disney-isms.
But the reality is that God tells us our hearts are deceptive and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), that evil finds its root in the heart (Mark 7:21), and that only the fool follows his heart (Proverbs 28:26) because we will all be judged for the times we followed our hearts (Ecclesiastes 11:9).
In all fairness, though, our children aren’t the only ones giving in to their emotions.
How many times have we reacted in the moment based solely off how they made us feel instead of God’s Truth about the situation?
Follow Truth Instead
The essence of Premeditated Parenting it to set yourself up for success by creating and practicing a prepared response to conflict. Think about Merriam Webster’s definition: “characterized by fully conscious willful intent and a measure of forethought and planning.” Before an issue ever arises, I need to consciously plan out my response.
God wants us to be wise -- storing up knowledge (Proverbs 10:14). He wants us to be discerning and base our life choices off of knowledge (Philippians 1:9). He also wants us to base our self-control off knowledge (II Peter 1:6).
But what is this knowledge God keeps referring too? It’s the knowledge of God that comes through His Word. We can never hope to parent well if we don’t ground everything we do in God’s Truth. That’s why our show is Truth.Love.Parenting. Without the foundation of God’s perfect Word, and without the power of God’s perfect love, it’s impossible to parent successfully.
In order to be a Premeditated Parent, I suggest the following . . .
1. Study your past reactions.
Take a good amount of time to think through the conflicts you and your children have had. Dissect what was said on both sides. Be critical of yourself. Be honest enough to acknowledge where your communication was motivated by how you felt and not how God commanded. To keep us honest, I suggest you be prepared to get an unbiased opinion. A spiritually-minded spouse, pastor, or counselor should be able to accomplish this even with just your side of the story. Proverbs 11:14 says “Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.”
2. Prepare a Christ-honoring response.
Feel free to lean on those counselors pretty hard for this one. Up until now, you likely responded one way or the other because you really believed it was best. But what if during your introspection you realize it wasn’t best? What should you do now? That’s one of the reason’s we’re here. We would love to walk you through the Scriptures to help you formulate a righteous response to your son’s hateful words and rebellious actions (Psalm 119:9). You can always feel free to reach out to us at Counselor@evermindministries.com
3. Practice that response.
You’ll have ample opportunities to put your Premeditated Parenting to the test with your children, but you can also use these steps to become a premeditated spouse, employee, and friend. Try it out. Get comfortable with it. If you find you’re still struggling with responding emotionally, or you don’t think your approach isn’t having the right effect . . . contact your accountability partner or counselor, talk with your spouse, or even give us a call at Victory Family Ministries. Proverbs 15:22 says “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.” There are plenty of people in this world ready and willing to help you be the best mom and dad you can be through the power of the Holy Spirit.
4. Bathe your interactions in prayer.
Really, Aaron? You want me to pray before interacting with my kid? Yes, I do - especially if you’re entering a situation you know has tempted you to respond incorrectly in the past. You’ve told your daughter to clean her room, and you know she frequently fails to put her toys in the right spot. Pray before entering the room. Prepare yourself to work the plan you know will glorify God. Remember that true self-control is really Spirit-Control (Ephesians 5:18). You need God’s strength to be gracious in the face of anger, loving in the face of hate, and peaceful in the face of angst. You can’t do it by yourself. Know that if you email us, we’re praying for you, but don’t rely only on that. Run to Christ! He will strengthen you (Philippians 4:13).
5. Be critical of your “performance.”
It’s very easy to see your children’s flaws. But noticing those won’t help you grow and become a better parent. After the conversation or interaction, talk with your spouse about how it went. Be honest about where you threw your Premeditated Parenting Plan away in exchange for emotional reactions. Reaffirm the power of God’s Truth and the victory inherent in His plan. Rededicated yourself to parenting His way. Practice some more. And try it again.
The area of Premeditated Parenting is a dynamic place to see real, quality change take place. But it’ll involve a good amount of work on your part. But isn't being a good parent and glorifying your Savior worth it?
If you have personal questions and no one to turn to, please reach out to us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com. We don’t currently have a phone line dedicated to working through questions, but you may always feel free to reach out to me or Mark Massey. Mark is the executive director of Victory Family Ministries, and I’m one of the family counselors. We’d love to point you to the Truth you need to parent today.
As always, you can connect with Evermind Ministries on social media including Facebook and Twitter, and you can follow me as well @AMBrewster.
Have a fantastic day and may your put your premeditated plan into action!
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