7 Things I Would Do Differently, if I were Raising My Children Again

7 Things I Would Do Differently, if I were Raising My Children Again


Warning: I found this article somewhere (not sure where by this time) and I do not necessarily agree with every statement under each point. I do think, however, there is truth to be gleaned under each major thought. I have tried to make notes where appropriate They will be the bold thoughts in parentheses.


     My children are adults now and several have children of their own. We had lots of fun as a family, and I have lots of great memories of raising our kids. But in retrospect, I think I would have done a number of things differently. So, I share them in hopes that younger parents might benefit and not make some of the mistakes I did. Some things I would do differently:

     1. I wouldn’t try to shelter them from every possible influence of the world. Parents should try to be careful as to what their children are exposed to, but we can be overly protective. We homeschooled, kept our kids from playing public school sports, and didn’t let them go trick-or-treating. And we didn’t let our kids watch Sesame Street because Oscar the Grouch had a bad attitude.

     Eventually, I came to realize you can put your children in a bubble and it still won’t guarantee that sin won’t sprout in their hearts. My wife and I thought that if we did all these things, it would guarantee our children would automatically follow the Lord. Now I’d consider each individual child as to the best kind of schooling for them. There’s no best way. The Bible just commands fathers to bring up their children in the fear and instruction of the Lord. (My thought – I agree. No doubt, we do not expose our children to every evil in the world, but we must not misuse passages like 1 Corinthians 15:33. Jesus was the friend of sinners, He ate with tax collectors and the first thing the Father did, after His baptism, was use the Spirit to drive Him into the wilderness to battle Satan. If I do not allow my children to battle Satan under my tutelage, then how can I expect them to be prepared to fight the wiles of the devil alone.)

     2. I would try not to express disappointment or shock when they confessed sin to me. Though I tried to not to act surprised when one of my kids confessed a sin, there were times I dropped my head or got a pained expression on my face, which certainly didn’t make them want to open up to me.

     3. I wouldn’t emphasize manners as much. It’s good for kids to learn to say “please” and “thank you,” but at so many of our meal times I bugged my kids about their manners. I justified it by saying, “Someday you may be invited to the White House, and you’ll be embarrassed if you have bad manners while you’re eating with the president.” (My thought – yes and no. Meal time does have its virtue as “let your hair down time,” but I do not want it to turn into a feast attended by savages. Whether one dines with the POTUS or his/her future in-laws, there are certain social graces that children need to learn.)

     4. I would try to encourage them more. Although I did try to encourage them, I believe that proportionally I corrected them more. Now I would seek to reverse that. (Hmmm…sounds like the response some have to the pulpit. If 2/3 of what Paul told Timothy to do – 2 Timothy 4:2 – was on the side of “negative” preaching, one cannot go wrong with that formula. YES, YES, YES we should encourage our children every chance we get and even times of correction can be accompanied by positive thoughts – John 8:1-11, in the same sentence Jesus told her He would not condemn her, a positive, and that she was not supposed to repeat the action, a negative. Notice, however, even the negative included a positive – He implies she is capable of not sinning. BALANCE is the word of the day.)

     5. I would try to draw them out more as teenagers. There were times when our kids were going through really painful experiences as teens, and I was too quick to dole out spiritual advice rather than empathize and try to understand what they were going through. (Absolutely! We are not to try to be our children’s BFF, but we are not the lecture police either. We do not take their side in every conflict, when they are in the wrong, they are in the wrong, but neither are we to be cold statues of adulthood unmoved by their hurts. Growing up is difficult, as nearly every experience, emotion and hormonal change is new. Sometimes kids need a harbor where they can unload their emotional baggage.)

     6. I would try not to expect our kids to change their attitudes immediately. Even now, I’m not always quick to have a good attitude, yet I often expected my kids to “snap to” and change their attitude on a dime. I hope I would not do that now. Along these lines, I also wouldn’t look for fruit too soon. I was looking for change and maturity way too soon. Adult believers are slow to change. Sometimes it takes many years to see the fruit of the Spirit in adults, let alone in our children. (Too true, but that does not mean they are “off the hook.” Change must occur and if the attitude or action is detrimental to them, or those around them, they have to be taught to rein it in, even if they are boiling on the inside.)

     7. This doesn’t have to do with my parenting, but I would also not judge other parents. At times if another parent was having struggles with their child I would think they must be doing something wrong. Later on, I’d find myself having struggles with one of my children.