In my latest podcast episode, “I’m 30 and Thriving: The Top Lessons I learned in my Twenties“, one of the lessons I taught was to honor your parents. I think one of the greatest lessons we can learn is what to do when we realize our parents weren’t perfect. In this post, I’ll share with you ten principles that have helped me navigate this issue. I hope they help you. I’d also love to hear any insight you have on the issue. Feel free to comment below. Here are ten principles:
1.) Recognize They Did the Best They Can – Hebrews 12:10 says, “For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how.” Regardless of how your parents raised you, I can almost guarantee you that they love you more than you will ever know.
When you recognize that and realize that they did they best they could to raise you based on who they are and what their background was, it will change the way you view their parenting. You will start to appreciate what they did right and you can start to overlook the areas they weren’t perfect at. Thank them for doing the best they could!
[shareable cite=”Hebrews 12:10″]’For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how.'[/shareable]
2.) Be Grateful and Thank God for Your Parents – Two thoughts here:
- 1.) You would not be here if it were not for your parents! I often think about all the things that had to happen in order for me to be here. My parents had to fall in love, their parents had to fall in love, their grandparents all had to meet in fall in love. When you think about it, that is nuts!
- 2.) Your parents will not be around forever. I lost my mom when I was 17 years old. She didn’t get to meet Laura, see me graduate college, see me get married, or anything else that’s occurred in my life since she’s passed. It’s easy to think that our parents will be around forever. They won’t. When you realize this, you’ll treat your relationship with them differently. If I would have known I’d only have my mom in my life until I was 17, I would have done so much more intentionally with her.
3.) Forgive them and Give them the Grace You will Want from Your Children – One day you’re going to have children and regardless of your intentions, you won’t raise them perfectly. You will want them to give you grace and forgiveness in the areas you weren’t perfect. Give your parents the same grace and forgiveness you hope to receive one day.
4.) Honor Them – Ephesians 6:2 says, “2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” It doesn’t say honor your father and mother if they deserve it. It says to honor them. Find ways to honor your parents.
Serve them, let them know how much of an impact they’ve made on you, write them a letter about how much you appreciate them, brag on them in front of others, do your best to represent them well with you life, create memories with them, give them your time, and anything else you can think of to honor them!
5.) Don’t Dishonor Them – When you recognize that your parents weren’t perfect, you’ll want to tell them they weren’t perfect and that you wish they had done better. Don’t do that. I’m not saying to not have conversations with them about things that need reconciled, but don’t dishonor them with your words or deeds. You’ll regret it.
6.) Create the Memories You Wish You Had – Do you ever get upset that you don’t have the memories that other people have with their parents? Instead of getting upset about what memories you don’t have, why don’t you create the memories you wish you had? This can be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding parts of growing up with your parents! Be intentional.
7.) Surround Yourself with Other Men an Women that Can be Parents to You – Regardless of how good your parents are, you are not going to be able to get everything you need for life from them. You are going to need others to help you grow to full maturity. In fact, I love what Henry Cloud said, “You need mothering and fathering in order to reach maturity. It does not have to come from biological parents and often doesn’t Find it!”
[shareable cite=”Henry Cloud”]’You need mothering and fathering in order to reach maturity. It does not have to come from biological parents and often doesn’t Find it!'[/shareable]
If you will be intentional in seeking out mentors and you will ask God to bring parent-figures into your life, He will do it! So start being intentional and ask God!
8.) Get Help – It’s ok to ask for help! Don’t be afraid to get counseling and get resources to help you grow up. I’d encourage you to read “Changes that Heal” by Henry Cloud. This book really helped me grow up in so many different ways.
9.) Set Boundaries – There may be situations in which it is wise to set-up boundaries with your parents. This can be difficult if you’ve never had or set boundaries before. I would encourage you again to read Changes that Heal and to seek professional help to help you navigate some of these things.
[shareable cite=”Henry Cloud”]’Sometimes the greatest way to honor your parents is to break the cycle.’ [/shareable]
10.) Break the Cycle – Henry Cloud said, Sometimes the greatest way to honor your parents is to break the cycle.’ How do you do this? Henry says to ask yourself these questions, “What would you like to pass on that you got from your parents? What would you like to end forever? Be specific… Water one and starve the other.”
11.) Recognize that God is the Perfect Parents and He Loves You – Psalm 27:10 says, “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.” John 16:27 says, “The Father Himself loves you…” At the end of the day, we have a God that loves us more than our parents ever could. He is able to provide for us everything our natural parents were unable to. Follow Him and let Him be the perfect parent in your life.
- Which of these are difficult for you?
- What steps do you need to take to help you with this issue?
- What other steps would you add to deal with this issue?
- What steps can you take to start honoring your parents?
Thoughts? Comment below!
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