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Grace and Forgiveness in Parenting

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Close up of a father's hand holding his young son's as his son looks up at him
Grace and forgiveness are necessary for a healthy home life. Find out how grace and forgiveness are a part of the seven traits of essential parenting.

The Cross. That’s all we have to say when we think of the significance of God’s grace. Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin, giving us eternal life and the ability to extend compassion and grace to others. Yet extending that grace is difficult. The human brain tends to be a magnet for negativity. We often get “stuck” dwelling on negative thoughts, on retaliation rather than forgiveness.

But grace and forgiveness are necessary for love to exist in a home. That starts with intentionally prioritizing our relationships in each situation. We must look beyond the wrongdoings and remember that we all need grace at times; if we are to receive it, we must also give it.


Related Content: Take our free 7 Traits of Effective Parenting Assessment to see where you rank in the area of grace and forgiveness.   


A few years ago, I counseled a father who wrestled with anger issues. As we discussed his struggles, he admitted to harboring bitterness and anger toward his own father. We discussed how this was controlling his marriage and his parenting. He decided to make a list of things he was determined to forgive his father for. Later, he reported that this simple act of forgiveness gave him a freedom that he’d never experienced. He became more compassionate, connected and patient toward his wife and children.

If grace and forgiveness are the antidote to our negativity, shouldn’t we more freely give it? Yes, it’s hard. Grace means absorbing or canceling a debt that someone has accumulated by hurting you, disappointing you or disrespecting you. It requires us to forgive someone who we believe may not deserve forgiveness, and forgive them for something that we can’t forget. It means letting go of any anger that has taken up residence in our head.

Grace and Forgiveness through Parenting

As kids are learning how to handle life, relationships and emotions, mistakes and messes will happen. Sometimes we just don’t have the patience to deal with the messiness, but when we’re able to extend forgiveness to our kids, we create an environment of freedom, connectedness and love. Kids ultimately benefit from grace and forgiveness in these ways:

Learn how to forgive others

When you model grace, kids learn how to free themselves from being hung up on other people’s mistakes. Rather than spinning their wheels on the slippery ice of anger, extending forgiveness allows them to move forward.

Learn how to effectively handle conflict and learn to repair

Kids raised with an understanding of grace and forgiveness are better able to move past conflict. Conflict shows how kids care enough to have an opinion; grace and forgiveness show they care about the relationship.

Experience freedom from shame and perfection

Kids learn to pursue trustworthiness and relationship rather than manipulation or perfection. They learn that no one is perfect, including themselves.

Experience and learn about parental love

Kids learn how and what to do to rebuild trust. They also learn how the economy of love works. If you love someone, you will know grace and forgiveness.

A couple of years ago, my daughter was in a phase of creatively breaking down words. She looked at forgiveness and said, “Dad, forgiveness is really a gift! Look it says, ‘for-give.’ ” “For” meaning for someone else and “give” in that it is feely given.

Forgiveness truly is a gift for both the sender and the receiver. This trait allows love to thrive in the home.

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Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

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