This article was written by a volunteer and member of Harris Creek, Erin Musgrove, as a recap of the Kids Ministry “Parenting Hacks” event.
This past month my husband and I attended “Parenting Hacks”, presented by Dr. Nicole McAninch, a professor of Child Development at Baylor. Our goal for the evening was simple: to gain some insight on parenting techniques to guide us as we parent a preschooler and infant over the coming years. To tell the truth, there was part of me that was hoping to hear a list of one-liners to be used with kids that result in obedience. Silly, I know. Anyone who has worked with kids knows there is no “one-right-way” to produce a desired behavior. Although my unrealistic expectation wasn’t met, we did walk away from the evening with a changed perspective on parenting and a redefined purpose.
To begin the night Dr. McAninch challenged the parents to “redefine the win”. Culture and society are quick to define #winning in parenting, but God has already defined the win for us; obedience to His commands. Obedience is not without love, and if we expect obedience from our children, we must first create an atmosphere of trust within our families.
She gave 4 C’s that promote trust: Clarity, Consistency, Consequences, and Compassion.
My greatest take-away from the evening was a suggestion from Dr. McAninch to promote clarity within our family. She encouraged parents select 4-5 non-negotiable Godly Character Traits to be our core family values. I can’t expect my kids to live out every good character trait right away, but I can consistently focus on a few.
As a stay-at-home-mom/preschool teacher, Dr. McAninch’s message motivated me. I walked away reminded that I can’t evaluate my parenting success based on someone else’s behavior (my child’s). In addition, I felt empowered by a new daily game plan: Obey God and motivate my family to do the same. In my world of to-do lists, activity calendars, and work schedules, a one-line goal aimed at better relationships with The Lord was just what I needed.