Redeeming the Bad Parenting Moments




It had been a long, frustrating morning with a child who was displaying a very poor attitude. I tried desperately hard to stay patient, but after yet another round of struggling with her disobedience, sharp words flew from my mouth.

Her next sentence came in a hushed whisper, “I know that you don’t love me.”

I bit back an angry retort and instead silently pleaded to God in prayer. Please help me to be the mother she needs. Help me to see her the way you do. God please, I need you!

I knew my child was right – I was not acting lovingly towards her in that moment.

“Love suffers long and is kind; love… does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NKJV)


The precious soul I had held so tenderly as an infant – feeling certain at the time that I would always love her perfectly as I adoringly counted her tiny fingers and toes – she was trembling with sorrow and it was my fault.

Years of good – the baking sessions, messy science experiments, book reading, bike riding, park visits, and bedtime snuggles – all of it completely melted away in my mind as I felt myself drowning in guilt over my sharp outburst towards my precious daughter.

And you know what? I’m not alone.

At some point, almost every parent has been wracked with guilt over at least one parenting situation. Whether you’re the one who occasionally speaks too sharply to your children or the parent who tends to be too permissive just to keep the kids happy, there are probably times when you’ve felt like a complete failure.

That’s just where Satan wants you. He wants you to lash out, or to allow your kids to rule the house, and he wants you to feel terrible for it… so terrible that you consider giving up and sending your children to government-run schools, thinking that maybe someone else can do a better job with them.

But God, the giver of life, the redeemer of sins… He knows where you can improve but He also knows you’re doing your best. He’s the one who hand-picked you to be the parent of your children and nobody else can do that job better than you can.

And when we sin, either by speaking harshly in anger, or by letting our children get away with poor behavior, we need to go to them and seek their forgiveness. They need to see that we’re humans with flaws just like they are. This is an opportunity for us to take our children to the foot of the cross – and there’s no better place on earth we go together.


But far too often, we don’t do that because we believe Satan’s lie that we’re not good enough and that we can’t possibly do any better. So instead of letting God redeem our bad moments, we drown in guilt over our perceived shortcomings. But He knew before you started that you wouldn’t be a perfect parent or teacher and He loves you anyways, exactly how you are. This stuff you’re doing, raising your family, teaching your kids? Yes, it’s imperfect, but it’s important and you’re enough.

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

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Davonne (4 Posts)

Davonne Parks is a married Christian homeschool mom who began teaching her children at home in 2009. She blogs about cultivating a heart for motherhood, as well as organization and simplicity, at Davonne believes that some of life’s richest moments happen when we embrace the beauty of imperfection as we extend grace to ourselves and others. She’s written two eBooks, “101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms” (free to her blog subscribers) and “28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person.”

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Homeschooling – More Than Books!

The longer I homeschool the more I realize that homeschooling is not just about the books. It isn’t just about teaching the kids their math facts or logic. It isn’t just about reading all the classics. It isn’t just about learning politics, world history, and even that which is beyond our world. Homeschooling is about something much simpler than all that. Homeschool is about teaching our children how to truly live in this life they’ve all been blessed with. It’s about learning life skills.


Of course homeschool includes all the ‘normal’ schoolwork, but it also includes so. much. more! Having the chance to be with our children during those times when most children are in traditional school gives us homeschooling families an extremely unique opportunity. Our children are blessed with the gift of learning life skills in a much greater quantity which will help them in their own lives as adults. This is especially important for children who have any kind of disability no matter how large or small that disability may be.

Here is an example:

My daughter, who has Asperger’s, has some motor planning problems (among other things) and lacks some common sense. Prior to this last one or two years, she couldn’t tie her shoes, braid, open up a can of food, unscrew certain lids which weren’t difficult, wash her own hair, dress her self correctly, do any amount of kitchen work, acknowledge certain unsafe situations, etc.  Through much diligence from my husband and myself, she has been able to overcome some great obstacles.

Last summer, I decided that if she were to ever mature into adulthood – complete with moving out, having a family, or going to college – she would definitely need to know many other skills that don’t fit into any school transcript or standardized test. I’m talking about cooking, cleaning, laundry, menu planning, budgeting, navigating the town, how to handle emergency situations, time management, etc. Of course, if she were in regular school, she would still get some of this, but not near what she truly needs to be successful in living a successful, independent life.

I have started introducing her to many life skills even though they are very challenging for her. Thankfully, God has blessed me with a stubborn streak, or we never would have gotten over the first obstacle. ;)

Over the last several months we’ve been focusing on cooking.

This serves many purposes. When one learns to cook, they not only benefit themselves, they are also able to bless others. I also believe that it is great therapy for kids who struggle with motor planning problems. There are many times when both hands are needed or one needs to cross the midline to do a cooking task. It requires some physical strength, mental focus, and time management skills as well.

Mastering cooking skills is time-consuming and more times than not, kitchen mishaps are a normal occurrence. When one has a learning disability, acquiring a certain skill isn’t something that comes quickly or easily. It takes a ton of practice, sometimes requiring the person to perform the task hundreds of times before there is any light at the end of the tunnel. Even the simplest of tasks like taking the twisty off the bread bag, opening the spice container or a ziplock bag, opening the milk, or dumping cereal into a bowl can require days and days of practice to figure it out.

On most days, I have my daughter make breakfast. To some this may seem mean, but I see it as a unique learning opportunity that she would never get if she was always having to hastily catch the school bus. It took her a month or two of repeated practice to learn how to crack the eggs without crushing the egg in her hand. It has taken several more months for her to remember things like turning the burner off or limiting the amount of pepper and salt in the meal. Learning how to stir the eggs without sloshing it all out of the pan proved to be yet another challenge.

I’ve had my share of ‘interesting’ egg inventions. But, after a season, she can make scrambled eggs well – most of the time. Toast was a lesson all its own. Buttering bread is not an easy skill for someone with motor planning issues, but after months of practice, she can now do that too.

Another thing that became her responsibility was packing our family lunch on our homeschool co-op day. After an entire year of practice, we can count on having a ‘normal’ lunch which actually tastes good. Recently, she randomly took it upon herself to make the family spaghetti. Even though it tasted terrible the family ate every last noodle. She was so proud of herself. She has since done this meal several times….every time it gets better and better.

I believe insisting that my daughter learn these skills has not only provided her with another tool for adulthood, but also helped her gain some much needed confidence.  I think she is realizing that she can actually take care of herself and even others.

A few of the learning skills on my ‘life skills list’ are things like:

  • Laundry and other chores
  • Meal Planning
  • Taking care of the animals
  • Scheduling
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Budgeting
  • Personal hygiene
  • First aid/CPR
  • Street Smarts training (avoiding being the victim)

There are so many other things that need to be learned. Our next obstacle will be learning how to do the laundry. This one might be more about me not wanting to do it anymore but either way, it is an important step towards adulthood!

If there was one main thing I would make sure is happening, it would be to not do for your children what they can learn to do themselves. Insist they do it. Even if it takes them 5 minutes to do what would take you 10 seconds, keep up that stubborn streak. Don’t give in because it’s easier if you do it. If they struggle, walk them through it patiently. If they have motor problems, help with hand placement and think outside the box to get the skill learned. With diligence, this is going to be a very important part of your homeschool experience!

Again, homeschooling has more to do with life and less to do with books.

What are you doing in your homeschool that has nothing to do with typical school? Please share your experience!

Heather F (3 Posts)

Heather is a Christian gal who lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where she married her high school sweetheart, Levi, 2001. She is newer to homeschool and tries to “keep it simple” while teaching her three “active” children with Classical Conversations. Heather also juggles the responsibilities of being a part-time emergency room RN and police officer’s wife. She has a reputation of creating kitchen disasters, but loves collecting new recipes and learning about natural, holistic living. She is also a wanna-be urban homesteader and has a bunch of chickens, a couple goats, and a rabbit!

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A Good Work Ethic

How to Instill a Good Work Ethic in your Kids @hsbapostWork ethic: it might mean different things to different individuals. To me it means doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, the way it needs to be done, and without complaint, or expecting something in return.

Come close; I have a secret to tell you.

I’m lazy. I do not like to work. My work ethic is not one of which I am proud. 

There. It’s out in the open now. No more secret! I procrastinate; I struggle to get things done; I ‘fall off the wagon’ way too often. I have to work at it constantly {uh, no pun intended there}.

What business do I have to write a post about a good work ethic? Because I have firsthand experience that without it life can be down-right miserable! Miserable for others and for the person with the poor work ethic. And because I have a work ethic that needs major improvement I know the importance of instilling it when young. Old dogs *ahem* can learn new tricks. It’s just much more difficult.

My kids are teens and while I won’t say it is too late for them, oh how I could have saved some trouble if we’d worked on this whole thing when they were, say, 3 years old or 8 years old and kept it up. Fortunately, this post isn’t about what I should have done; what’s done is done. Moving on.

No, this post is about why a good work ethic is still important and what can be done, no matter what the age, to help instill this in our children. And ourselves if we need it.

Why does it matter?

For this question, it depends on where your loyalties lie. For a Christian this will matter because we are created in God’s image and are representatives of Christ. God is who He is regardless of how we behave but if we present ourselves in a negative fashion- have a poor work ethic- then non-Christians will not look favorably toward God. “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” {1 Corinthians 10:31b- KJV} It is for God’s glory that we should have a good work ethic.

For those without a Christian testimony, the reasons will be very different. Money is usually the driving force behind a good work ethic. Those who do what they should, and more, often get more promotions and higher pay. There can be the inner drive to simply do a good job but I venture to say it is for selfish gain.

In both cases, a good work ethic will be beneficial throughout life. For the Christian, the promotions, increases in pay, recognition by man, are all just extras. It is also good to have because it will lead one to be a productive person. It will help foster an “I can do it” mentality that is often missing in employees. There are many who say instead, “someone else can do it.” It will also help them to want to do work for others because they will see it as a good thing.

How do we instill a good work ethic?

Now, I’m sure you remember I said I don’t have a great work ethic. With that the words that follow are compiled from other sources, for the most part. When trying to improve my own work ethic I have had to look elsewhere. Here are some tips I’ve found to instill a good work ethic:

Be the model you wish for your children to follow.

If you want them to be consistent and to have good follow-through, it means you have to do this yourself. It takes time and effort. It is worth it. And it needs to be more action than words. Kids will follow what you do much more than what you say.

I venture to say that this is possibly the most difficult part of instilling a good work ethic. As parents, we must have it first {or be trying really diligently to get it!} to be a good model.

Have a routine.

Regardless if you start instilling good work ethic when your child is 2 years old or 15 years old, a routine helps them see a start and finish. They can see how the work will progress and hopefully can take pride in each step’s accomplishment. Knowing that there is an end makes starting much easier.

Be reasonable in expectations.

A child of 2 cannot do all that a teen of 15 can do. But at the same time, the 15 year old should have high expectations placed before them. It will help them to have high expectations as well.

Be consistent.

It seems almost silly to even put this here because it should be common sense. If we want something to happen consistently, then we must consistently work toward that end. A good work ethic is not realistically going to happen overnight, or even a few nights. It takes time, patience, and consistency.

Be positive.

I am not one to say never point out a weakness. We all have areas where there can be improvement. However, focusing more on the good is important. Point out strengths and work to keep those as strengths. At the same time help turn weakness into strengths by being positive. Praise a job well done. Thank a child for doing something unexpected.

Don’t do it for them.

I cannot stress this enough. Perhaps one of the biggest hampers of a good work ethic is that parents or others in a guardianship position do not let the kids do the work for themselves. It’s sometimes easier to pick up the toys ourselves, or sweep up a mess they’ve made, than let them do it. It takes time and patience when we let them do it. But it will serve them, and you, well in the long run.

As I’ve written these things out, it seems they are all common sense. We all know what we need to do. But the doing it, that’s the tough part. It’s not easy, especially if like me you lack the traits you wish to model. It’s not impossible however.

If you would like any of the external sites that I went to for help with this, just let me know and I’d be happy to pass them on to you.

How do you instill a good work ethic?

North Laurel (8 Posts)

Blossom- "North Laurel" to the online world- lives in Ohio with her husband and two teens, homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way with Ambleside Online. She is graciously allowed to be a moderator for the Ambleside Online Forum. North Laurel loves to read, be on the computer, and learn. You can read her blogging about homeschooling, book reviews and life in general at North Laurel Home & School.

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***SUNFLOWERS UNIT STUDY * New from SEE THE LIGHT 66 pages of dynamic, integrated, comprehensive instruction for an entire month for the student ages 10 and up. $9.99 -***