Parenting is plagued with lots of difficult decisions. Knowing how to parent with firmness and kindness can be a challenge. Think about how you parent. What type of parent are you? Do you lean towards strict discipline and quick consequences or do you favor kindness and compassion over all else? More often than not, I find myself using more justice in my parenting technique. I am slowly learning to find a balance and include more mercy in raising my children.
Justice can be a great and efficient parenting tool if it is used correctly. There are set consequences for actions (good or bad) and punishments or rewards issued. It is enforcing discipline in a calm way, applying the “letter of the law”, having structure, and providing limits. This is a great way to teach your children about cause and effect.
Some parents take justice to the extreme. They set expectations that are too high, apply severe and extreme punishments if mistakes are made, and so often these kids don’t even know if they are loved.
Mercy shows compassion even when it isn’t deserved. It gives second chances, shows tenderness, forgiveness, tolerance, and love. Misbehavior is considered an opportunity for gaining wisdom and the child is taught with kindness so that they don’t repeat their mistakes.
I have seen extremes with mercy as well. Often we see rules get pushed aside, hollow threats that are never followed through, consistently giving in to child, picking favorite kids, and doing everything for your child. Kids in these circumstances end up super spoiled, self-centered, lazy, and inconsiderate of others.
Both justice and mercy are important in parenting. You have to find the right balance of each. Each situation will be different, and each kid will need a little different balance. Try to use both in your parenting. Show compassion but also follow through on rules and expectations. Every time you discipline, show increased love.
Things you can do to have more balance with justice and mercy:
- Be consistent
- Focus on the positives
- Give time to those you love
- Adapt to each family member
- Set reasonable expectations and consequences
- Show compassion even when they don’t “deserve” it
- Control your anger-and never discipline in anger
- If you say you’ll do something, follow through and do it
- Use punishments that teach and have a purpose
- Let go of guilt
- Forgive, say sorry, and move on
- Keep a Christ-like countenance
You never have to do this alone! God knows how to be the perfect parent. He wants your family to succeed. Ask the Lord for what you need. No matter what you are struggling with, He can help you through any situation. Ask Him in prayer. He can help you find what is best for your child. The “Perfect formula” will be different for each child. Trust Him to give you exactly what you need. I know you can be a successful mom!
Things that inspired me today: