On Developing Your Parenting Style & Structure (Your “Normal”)

We as parents continuously struggle with a desire for our parenting to fall within some elusive parameters that the majority—or some imagined panel of “experts”—might deem standard or appropriate. This idea originates at least in part from the unending stream of feedback we receive from none other than our own children (hardly professionals in this area!) saying that nobody else’s parents are doing things quite the way we are! This barrage can be enough to drown our confidence! A variation of this is the standing claim that your child is the only child who doesn’t get to do that one crucial thing.

If you haven’t established, or aren’t sticking with, a normal founded on your values and your particular parenting, you will continuously give in to the whims and desires of your children. They will keep challenging your decisions, asking you for stuff, or ignoring your requirements, and you will keep giving in to them based on what “everyone else” seems to think is normal. Society’s apparent normal will become your normal, and you will look to TV sitcoms, neighbors, and movies to help you decide how to raise your children. You will yield to cultural pressures instead of doing what you know to be best for your family.

Parenting with grace and truth can be lonely because it seems that few parents care about using that model. But we can’t afford to make parenting choices based on decisions that other parents make. Each of your children was uniquely created by the hand of God; an awe-inspiring and sobering reality that requires us to make thoughtful decisions we know will benefit our own children individually, regardless of what other parents are choosing.

It’s hard not to feel deficient or deflated when our children complain about the normal we’re setting up for them through structure and consequences. But when we commit to parenting with grace and truth, we’re adapting to the Jesus model. We’re basing our decisions on a firm foundation that isn’t prone to crumbling under the whims of culture, and we’re trusting that He knows what we need better than anyone else—including us. This key dynamic also exists between us and our kids—we know what they need better than others do.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” –Theodore Roosevelt

– Excerpt from Parenting with Grace and Truth by Dan Seaborn


Blessed are those whose attitudes are shaped by their hopes, not their hurts.

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