As parents, we are always looking for ways to perfect our role.
This may be through seminars, books, blogs, or advice from our own parents.
While all of these sources provide invaluable advice, they don’t address the true principal behind successful parenting.
If you really want to raise God-fearing children, the true answer is in the Gospel!
When we share the Gospel, we are telling others about the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ — a grace so deep and powerful that we are forgiven of our transgressions time and time again.
As believers, we are given this grace even when we do something God explicitly told us not to do or keep making the same mistake over and over… and over.
So why is it so hard to show our children the same grace?
Putting grace at the center of your parenting will transform the way you praise, discipline, and reach goals with your children.
So if you’re feeling discouraged as a parent right now, or feel that the approach you’ve been taking isn’t working – then grace-based parenting could be what you’ve been waiting for!
Now, in contrast to grace-based parenting is the concept of legalism parenting. In theological terms, a legalistic approach to Christianity requires a strict adherence to a set of rules. This application of faith is based on acts bringing about salvation.
As Tim Kimmel explains in his book Grace-Based Parenting, legalistic parents try in vain to prevent any sin from entering or occurring in the home.
But trying to control our children—and everyone or everything they come in contact with—is impossible.
Sin was already behind enemy lines the moment your child entered the world because the world is sinful. When Adam and Eve sinned, a perfect life void of mistakes became out of the question for every little Bobby and Susie (Psalm 51:5).
Your children’s behavior has been influenced since the day they were born and their need for grace has the same starting line.
So shy away from a controlled environment for your children. It only sets your child up for failure when they leave the home. Instead, help them learn to turn to God for guidance and strength.
The Gospel Coalition reports on the difference between a grace-based home and one without:
“The graceless home requires kids to be good and gets angry and punishes them when they are bad. The grace-based home assumes kids will struggle with sin and helps them learn how to tap into God’s power to help them get stronger.”
Romans 7:22-23 speaks on the struggle with sin, even when we want to do good: “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”
It is vital as parents to be clear with our words and actions, showing that we support our children’s inner being that delights in God’s Word.
And remind your children often that all have fallen short of His Glory (Romans 3:23), but that through the strength of Jesus, we can overcome our sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Showing grace when our toddler hits his sibling or when our teenager comes home past curfew doesn’t mean that we don’t impose any consequences for their actions, but that we focus on what comes next: repentance, direction, support, and renewal.
And remember, it is not our jobs to change the hearts of our children, but the Holy Spirit’s (Romans 7).
We are vessels for Jesus who resides within us as believers, and in the same way, are beacons of light for our children—not the judge, jury, and executioner.
Lay control at the feet of our Father in Heaven and let the Designer of our little ones guide our steps and theirs.
Please let us know if you use grace-based parenting in your home and how it has directed your parenting.