Intentional Parenting

Teagan Nicks

March 6, 2024

I grew up fairly different than most of my friends; not only did my parents follow a parenting curriculum (whereas I could tell a lot of my friend’s parents were just winging it), they were actually involved in a parenting ministry–Growing Families International–where they taught parenting classes weekly. 

I remember that we would get home from church, eat something quick, work together to clean up the house, and then either go to our rooms or the basement for the evening while they taught Growing Kids God’s Way classes in our home.

My parents were very intentional with their parenting and I am truly grateful for the way they raised my brothers and I—we often got comments about how kind, respectful, and helpful we were. I remember thinking that I wanted to parent my kids the same way one day. Even then, I saw the difference that it made.

Parenting can be a tough thing to figure out when you first begin having kids. Thankfully, I came into parenthood a lot more prepared than typical parents, as I already had many “tools” in my parenting “tool box” that I remembered from growing up. When it came time for our first child to be born, my husband jumped right in reading the Babywise books, so we could be on the same page. So many parents flounder in those early years—especially if they never were intentional about it. Not to say we didn’t have any issues with parenting, but they were pretty few and far between, especially compared to a lot of our peers. People noticed that we actually seemed to know what we were doing (for the most part) and we became the ones that our peers came to for advice!

Our oldest is six and we are now starting to experience some of the fruits of our parenting labor—getting comments about how kind, respectful, and helpful he is, even when we are not around. It brings so much joy to my heart knowing that my kids are a delight to be around and that they are reflecting the character of Jesus.

It’s definitely not been an easy journey—parenting with intentionality and being consistent is really hard work! However, we know that it would only be more difficult and confusing in the later years if we didn’t put the hard work in now. I am just really grateful that I had such a great example of parenthood set before me, so we didn’t have to experience the confusion of trying to figure things out on our own.

Here are the first two steps I recommend to those who are new to parenting or have not given it much thought: 

1.Decide what you want your parenting goals to be. What do you want your kids to be like when they become adults? It’s important to begin with the end in mind. Consider what your parents did and what you liked and didn’t like about their parenting style. It’s even more helpful if you write these goals down on a piece of paper and review it on a yearly basis. 

2.Be intentional with learning parenting skills. Read books and take classes together to learn practical ways to reach your parenting goals. It’s one thing to say you want your kids to be a delight for others to be around and another to actually teach them how to be that kind of a person. Parenting skills don’t come naturally–they are learned. 

“Train up a child in the way he should go;

even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6

If you want to learn more about what should go in your parenting tool box and what shouldn’t, Joey & Carla talk about this in their book, Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave”.