Focus on the Family

Change Your Parenting Ways, Every Day

Acknowledging the need to break free from bad habits is the first and most important step.

by John Fuller

Simply knowing about your shortcomings, without taking tangible action, won't do anything beneficial. You'll only become frustrated if you don't make something happen.

The adage is true: A journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step. So start the journey to become the dad you long to be today by changing your ways – or, more specifically, changing just one way this day.

Rather than be overwhelmed by your deficiencies in the dad department, take on just one area in which you can improve and see what you can do to make some changes.

Look through an inventory of who you are and – in light of your history – how you are likely to parent. Then list the things you don't want to do as a dad, whether that is yelling, being aloof, or escaping fathering responsibilities by loving your work too much. Map out the ways you tend to deal with life, specifically tie them to parenting, and then pick some ways to leave those chains behind.

Determine now that you'll step away for a few minutes when you sense yourself getting frustrated by your child. Or make it a point to talk every day with your wife about the baby – and how things are going for you as parents. You get the idea. The only way to break free from the shackles is to be discerning and deliberate.

Nobody is perfect, and there are no fail-safe methods when trying to break free from our past. So cut yourself – and those you love – some slack. What's important is that, when things go awry, we forgive our spouse or children, or ask to be forgiven. Pray for wisdom and discernment.

Simply acknowledging the need to break free from bad habits is the first and most important step.