Parenting Do Over

parenting regrets“Here’s something I would definitely do differently…”

NOTE: Some great comments in this blog post. Clearly one of those posts where the true treasure is in the comments.

This question is for parents or grandparents who’ve been at it for a while (you’ve got kids tweens or older). Here’s the question:

If you could go back and change one thing about your parenting… what would you do differently?

I’m writing a parenting book about the 7 vital changes I’d make parenting if I had a do over. Let’s face it. Hindsight is often 20/20. I’m packing the book with wisdom and insight from numerous parents and grandparents who also look back introspectively and think, “Here’s something I would definitely do differently.”

Anything come to mind?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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48 Responses to Parenting Do Over

  1. Kathleen Griffith says:

    We have 4 young men ages 25, 23, 19, & 17. I would definitely be better at showing respect with authority at all ages. It seems like we were so concerned about placing boundaries that relationship took a far back seat. Now we see it was based on fear; making sure we did all the right things would keep them on the straight and narrow. Now we see how our actions contributed to a spirit of rebellion. Basing our parenting in fear is NOT of God. Leading in love with discipline IS of God. The world tells you to be a friend. We knew that wasn’t Godly so we let the pendulum swing way to the other side in totalitarian discipline. We loved on our kids but the process of discipline was totally authoritarian without compassion or love. Learning comes so many times through failure and that failure needs to be dealt with using consequences but also compassion and forgiveness. King David had a group of men to lead way before he became King. It gave him opportunity to make his mistakes in a safe place where forgiveness with consequences would be. It prepared him to be a king. He wasn’t perfect but he certainly knew where to go when he did sin – back to God. That only comes from receiving compassion with forgiveness alongside consequences.

    • Pastor Jackson says:

      If I had it to do over again I would keep doing the things I knew I was doing right and not allow other things stop me from doing them.
      The special times I took with the kids going to the park or taking them on bike rides or going fishing… I enjoyed them, they enjoyed them but life happened and it was always easy to say “I’m way too tired today!” or “I have to get this project done so we will just do it next week.” or “I am too busy doing more important things for God so I can’t do that this time”… And pretty soon we weren’t doing those things at all.
      I would also be a lot more consistent with the rules but a lot more low key on what wasn’t really a fight worth fighting!

  2. John & Betty Hagge says:

    My wife and I said we would have like to read to them more. I would have liked to take them out more. Date my daughter and take my boys out much more frequently.
    We have 3 grown kids. Nate 36, Becky 34 and Ben 26

  3. Melodie Mandanis says:

    I am a mother to currently 4 kids as it always seems to be growing through adoption. Ages of my kids are 23, 16, 14 and 10. I love the term “do over” because we desperately need them in life and a sign of healthy attachment is knowing you can make a mistake in your family and ask for a “do over” It is a common term in our family and I encourage my kids to ask for them all the time! If I could have a “do over” I would use the strategy of “turn and walk away” in conflict situations instead of letting myself get sucked up into the crazy. Revisit and initiate a dialog when things have calmed down. Bottom line: Don’t let your emotions run amuck! Stay calm, be respectful and turn and walk away.

  4. Gordon Gathright says:

    If I had a do over, I would spend more quality time with my children. Thinking they were a part of my ministry to youth and families, the time I spent with them was time where there other youth around. There was never enough time for them alone as my children. I’m grateful for the way they have grown and matured but there is so much more that I could have done personally to love them by giving them quality time.

  5. Danielle Aragon says:

    I am a mom of 3 teen boys. They are 17,14 and 13. While raising them has been just as challenging as it has been wonderful, it has been a experience. Thru experiences come learning and change. One thing I would change and do-over would be our obsession and emphasis on sports. Although I thoroughly believe sports and team sports are worth their weight in gold to teach our kid valuable things in life. Placing too much emphasis on sports has burnt them out some. And now, my 17 year old wants to peruse his career and college goals instead of playing his last year of high school basketball. The decision caught me off guard. Had I not put so much emphasis on sports, I wouldn’t be this heart broken that he’s not going to play his senior year. So I would change the degree that we had them play sports too.

  6. Todd Pounds says:

    We were blessed to have a boy and a girl. They are 30 and 28 years old. Both are married and both have three children. If I had a do over, it would be to spend more time with them, especially those times that they requested to spend time but I was too busy doing what I wanted to do, or quite frankly, sometimes I was busy being lazy or “tired”.

  7. Danielle Aragon says:

    I am a mom of 3 teen boys. They are 17,14 and 13. While raising them has been just as challenging as it has been wonderful, it has been a experience. Thru experiences come learning and change. One thing I would change and do-over would be our obsession and emphasis on sports. Although I thoroughly believe sports and team sports are worth their weight in gold to teach our kid valuable things in life. Placing too much emphasis on sports has burnt them out some. And now, my 17 year old wants to persue his career and college goals instead of playing his last year of high school basketball. The decision caught me off guard. Had I not put so much emphasis on sports, I wouldn’t be this heart broken that he’s not going to play his senior year. So I would change the degree that we had them play sports too.

  8. Mulligans, eh?

    Jenn and I have one son, a 10-year-old boy named Josiah. While we’ve avoided most of the massive pitfalls associated with parenting, the one thing we both agree on is this: we’d have started “family Bible study” a little sooner in Jo’s life. It’s such a rich time each evening, decompressing, studying a book of the Bible that Josiah has picked out for us, and then praying together. I think we (wrongly) believed he needed to be a little older, but that’s so relative.

    We’ve got time to make up for lost ground, but I wish we would have started this discipline around age 5 instead of later.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking question.

    David

  9. Judy Hopkins says:

    If I could turn back time, I would capture more of our family time on film (camera and video). We had lots of fun and our children (now 18 and 20) have grown so fast. I tell new parents all the time how fast the time goes. Cherish their youth. Spend time with them. In middle school, my son often requested “family movie night” and we would watch the videos I did take of them when they were small. I wish I had taken more!

  10. Sam Swann says:

    We have five: 28, 25, 23, 20 and 14. Girl, girl, boy, girl, boy. The three eldest are married and have children, giving us a combined total of six grand-kids (with another on the way). The one thing that I would change is being more consistent with eating supper together at the table. We had seasons where this was more of a priority than at other times, but as they got older and busier and more social, it became less and less of a priority. I think I would be a little more insistent, if there was a do-over button. The times around the table during a meal are some of my most precious memories.

  11. Kevin Dacy says:

    Our three sons are ages 30, 27, and 22. One area of parenting I would have done differently is to have spent more time with them in the area of finances. Balancing a checkbook, creating budgets, instilling a plan that would help them to be responsible stewards. Saving, spending and sharing with others to plan for a secure financial future.

  12. Cindy Namanny says:

    I would use a softer voice. Speak softly when they are young so that everyone has to learn to listen. … my theory is then the demanding, louder voice should not be needed.

    my children are all grown, and I am a grandmother.

  13. Ryan Wallace says:

    We have two wonderful daughters, aged 15 and 13. As busy parents we thought we could leverage technology to stay in closer contact by letting them have cell phones at a young age. Although it has allowed us to find each other on maps, and stay connected by way of video chatting when Mom or I have been traveling, I would have delayed their entry into the world of digital as long as possible.

  14. Kim Kopsaftis says:

    We just had our last child (a son) last April. He turned 1 last week. Something I’d like to do over w/my previous 3 (girls ages 13, 11, & 6) is to correct them out of LOVE and not out of anger or frustration. I never had good instruction on this and failed so many times…yelling, spanking out of irritation rather than correction. I am trying w/our little guy to make sure when I correct him, I do it consistently and realize i’m CORRECTING and TEACHING him, not punishing him for doing something he doesn’t even KNOW is wrong! Thanks, Jonathan! Appreciate all you do!

    • Brian Coles says:

      Great post! My wife and I in an attempt to fix the same problem would yell at each other TEACH!!!!! when ever we sensed the others frustration during at disciplining moment. All the best!

  15. My wife and I have 5 children between us (we are a blended family). A 24 year old, two 19 (almost 20) year olds, a 15 (almost 16) year olds and a 2 1/2 year old we adopted. We are kind of experiencing the “what would I do over” thoughts as we parent our two year old.

    I read some of the above comments and I agree with spending quality time (is there ever enough of that) and starting earlier with spiritual training. One of the things I enjoy with our 2 year old is prayer time each night. We ask who we can thank God for that day and it is always interesting who he mentions. Sometimes it is the person he just saw, a family member or even the lawn mower.

    What I think I would do differently is to think about how I am preparing my son/daughter for life as a Christian adult, especially as a husband/wife. While I don’t want to rush the growing years, I think I could have done a better job of picturing my children as adults and what things I wanted to instill in them and prepare them for as adults. What qualities do I want them to exhibit as a husband/wife, as a person in the work place? I’ve seen a lot of parents who start to panic in the high school years and wish they would have done things differently as they prepare to send their child “out into the world.” Thinking about that future person helps guide what I do on a regular basis today.

  16. Penny Hansen says:

    We have two boys – sophomore in college (20) and a junior in HS (17) and both are competitive swimmers. The thing I would do differently – the sport thing for starters. Feeling like it was so easy to get “sucked in” Our oldest had some big goals (Division I – B1G Ten). We live in a small town so that meant driving to find a club, anywhere from 45 minutes – 1 hour each way. Coaching changes/coaching issues on teams caused us to move around. Not all coaches were supportive of a swimmer that drives so far. When they missed for weather, school, etc. some would make comments causing the boys to feel bad even though I would remind them, you did swim, just not at the pool the coach was at. Many struggles/battles over swimming vs. youth group, swim meets vs. church. We have made some changes with the younger one as school comes first and he cannot afford 4+ hours out of his study time. He misses swimming club though. Tried to encourage him to “try” some other activities at the High School with not too much success. Think he saw his brother not engaging and sees nothing wrong with him not engaging at HS. He has made youth group a priority though which is good! Have heard lots of other parents make the same comment. We feel the pressure for the children to “focus” so early on one sport. When did sports move to 7 days per week all season? Though I feel like sports offers some good development, it has moved to the front of the line in many families. And many times they are so busy running, they have not even realized it!

  17. Greg Klapp says:

    We have three biological children (17,15,12) and our youngest (10) adopted from China two years ago. There are really two area that I wish I could do over and am attempting to do so now. I would like to go back and be more intentional from the very beginning with each of my children specifically in passing down faith. I am attempting to help them understand why more than just what is right or wrong. The other area is in focusing more on their heart rather than their behavior. Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to guard our hearts above all else because all of the issues of life come from it.

  18. Alice Sanchez says:

    I have two children, ages 35 (daughter) and 32 (son). I wish I could do over the amount of time I spent with them, especially as teens. As a single mom, I worked two jobs that kept me very busy during their teen years. One memory in particular was on a Sunday while I was working, my son went to our church and gave his life to Christ. He called me and to tell me this, and that he had something else he needed to tell me when I got home. However, the “moment” passed, and he never discussed it until years later. I missed out on this very important time in his life.

  19. Brian Coles says:

    We have three children 2, 4, 6, I’m still in the game but wish I could be better at two things. The first is knowing the deference between being near my kids and being with my kids. We spend a lot of time near them, in the car, watching Netflix, going to church, hanging in the house, however this is normally “near time” not “with time” being with them is getting on the floor and joining the game of cars or dolls or what ever it is. Having those one on one conversations.

    Secondly, (this is kind of a parenting thing) I wish we would have devoted ourselves fully to the success of the marriages around us. So many our close friends marriages failed, just two or there years after they began. Of course that was just enough time to add two or three kids to the mix. Living in a Christian community we take responsibility for not just our own kids but (in some sense) all the children in our community. I know that sometimes things just don’t work out, and intervention can be difficult and messy, I still wish we would have done more. When marriages fail kids always lose.

  20. Michelle says:

    We have 3 amazing kids, ages 17, 15 and 13, and, if I could reverse time, I would learn to be more honest and humble with them to share how/when I’ve made a parenting mistake. More often, I’d ask my kids to pray for me as their parent! I believe that would be a great example to my kids to show them how I’m a fellow sinner needing repentance and how God can forgive and equip each of us. On a lighter note, I’d also fight for each moment with them, no matter how tired I am! As our kids have gotten older, we’re occasionally missing our habit of praying with each of them & kissing them good night….I’ve realized that even if that means they come to my bedroom to pray and kiss me in my bed (because they stay up later than I do), it’s important!

  21. Mary says:

    We have four (5) children – 26, 24, 22, 20 (daughter in law 25)

    The thing that comes to mind for me is some of my children have been very easy to talk to and others more quiet and reserved. I think I wish I would have worked harder at getting into the heads of my more quiet children. I tended to leave them in their peaceful place too often and gab away with the others. As a result, I have found myself surprised by some things we have discussed as adult children now wishing I could have addressed when I had a greater and/or different influence. Of course our conversations are different now so my responses and/or receptions are different. But I do love our conversations and enjoy the young people they have become.

  22. Rick Nier says:

    I have 3 kids, 14, 12, 9.
    I still have time to correct this, but something I would have started from the beginning would be intentionally being slower to respond; to their questions, need of advice, to doling out punishments, to jumping into the middle of drama (two of the three are girls, so drama has never been in short supply.)
    I want to intentionally do this to show them relationships are not like Hollywood or fast food…good things take time.

  23. Debra Steubing says:

    Thank you for raising this question. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t ask God to help me be a better parent the next day. I feel that we can always grow and improve no matter what we are doing. But specifically, there are times that I was so consumed with capturing a school play, piano recital, baseball game or whatever my children were involved with on film or video that I wasn’t actually “present” during the event. So put the camera down and just enjoy watching and being present with your child. Take the picture in your mind and in your heart.

  24. Pam Workman says:

    We have three children 39, 35 and soon to be 30. Wow, that seems impossible! What I would like to do over is to take time to pray before I disciplined. I would ask the Lord how He saw the issue and how He wanted it handled. Too many times I went with my feeling and frustration instead of being guided by His wisdom.

  25. Sarah Dziuk says:

    My kids are now 18 an 16. My “do-over” would be to set a routine of at least 20-30 mins a day of quiet time. No electronics, no games. And once they could read and write have them start to use that time to read and journal. There’s so much “noise” in our world and learning how to be still to tune out, and hopefully tune in to God’s voice is a discipline that has been hard to teach and practice.

  26. Sophie says:

    I have 3 children, 11, 7 and 6 (2 girls and 1 boy in the middle).
    If I had my time over I would listen more and talk less, seeking to communicate understanding, sympathy and grace. Too many times I have been quick to judge and condemn by “telling off” which usually only results in alienation or anger expressed by a grumpy attitude. This does not help if we want to really shepherd their hearts. I have been really struck by Jesus’ example of not judging even when he had every right to and with Hebrews 4 and the idea that Jesus is able to sympathise with our weaknesses and this gives us confidence to approach him by grace. If I could model that to my children when they have done something wrong, rather than immediately telling them how wrong they are, it might just open up a conversation which would help us get to the heart of the issue and help them to seek God for help rather then urging them to greater self effort (legalism) and it also might help keep our relationship in tact. It would also communicate the fact that I am for them, not against them. Quick to listen, slow to speak. When I waste my words in front of my kids constantly, the eventual effect is bound to be that they will get tired of listening and switch off. May God graciously keep us form this!

  27. Eleanor Miclette says:

    My family has a bit of a different make-up. We had one adopted daughter who passed away shortly after her 32 birthday, One step daughter who is 22 and lived mostly with her mom, and two children together ages 13 & 14. What I would have done differently differs from child to child. Hind sight has thought me a lot, but it comes down to doing what I already knew was right, vs. listening to others criticism when they didn’t live our life. I would have spent more time making memories, and less time worrying about dishes, more time in conversation, and less time in front of the TV. I would have listened to my gut more often, and trusted that that gut feeling was God telling me to address something because he knew they had been hurt, but weren’t talking. My kids turned out to be amazing human beings with passionate hearts for others. My biggest change has more to do with time spent with them, because I blinked, and now one is gone, one lives on her own, and I only have two left and they are growing up faster then I can take a breath.

  28. Paul Turner says:

    I would have traveled more with my kids.
    I would have put a greater value on education.
    I would have worked less and played more.

    We did course correct but we would have started much sooner.

    My kids are 23, 21, and 16.

  29. Shannon Michele Harrell says:

    Hello. My name is Shannon and I have a 15 year old son. I have always been impressed by parents who have taught their kids to say, “Yes, ma’am,” “No ma’am,” “Yes, sir,” and “No, sir.” I would definitely do that over if I could.
    I also would be much less controlling of my son if I had a do-over.
    I also would use God’s word more in character development in a calm sort of way instead of trying to be the Holy Spirit in my son’s life and beating him over the head with the Word (figuratively, that is. 🙂 ). Thank you for this opportunity.

  30. Debbie Kelly says:

    My husband and I have 3 young men. Their ages are 16,13,and 11 years old. As a mom who did not begin her journey with Jesus until 28 years old (that means my oldest was almost 5 years old at the time) I would say that I would listen to my discernment more. There were times when after I fell in love with Jesus that I should have made different decisions on what I allowed my boys to see, hear and do. I didn’t listen to the Holy Spirit when I felt whatever the choice was wrong. It was difficult when all of my family does not share a love for Jesus. I regretted some consequences of not listening to that discernment. This is what I would change.

  31. Bill S. aka slide aside guy says:

    We have three children, 2 girls 26 & 24 and a son 22. One thing (of many) that I would do differently would be to not be so perfectionistic with my expectations of their performance. Of course, that was due to my own attitudes and self expectations which He has changed in me.

    One example comes to mind….our oldest wanted to help me mow the lawn. She was approximately 10. I expected her (and made that known to her) that she had to mow in straight lines. When she didn’t (couldn’t), I did not praise her for her efforts, but expressed something quite opposite. She never wanted to help again.

    Lesson quickly learned, but too late for her. If you have seen the slide aside guy story in one of Jonathan’s books, this will perhaps give you some insight into why she did not want to talk to me for a few years unless she initiated the conversation.

  32. Ron Simpson says:

    We have 3 beautiful girls. Ages: 26, 29 and 34. Three things come to mind- I personally would have traveled less for work, been more in the moment and I would have recognized the uniqueness of each child. I did not learn the need for that skill until later in my life. Thank you Ken Blanchard for the concept of “Situational Leadership”! Finally remember the concept that your children are always watching and listening. Some of the concepts and Christian principles we tried to teach our children in their adolescence…did not reappear till later. Praise God…they did. We have been blessed!

  33. Aylene Popka says:

    First, I’d sing, anyway. When my kids were young, they liked me to sing as they were falling asleep or if they were troubled. As they got older, they got annoyed and perhaps embarrassed when I sang softly as we shopped or — uh — not so softly with songs on the radio in the car. So I stopped. If I had it to do over, I’d sing and not worry about it, giving them a happier Mom. Kind of along the same line, I wish I’d lightened up. Thankfully, they’re wonderful adults (27 and 33) now, but looking back, I was overly cautious about some things. With a do-over, I’d jump in the ocean with them more than sit on the sand watching them play.

  34. Cindy Taylor says:

    My husband and I have 2 children, ages 31 and 30. I guess the saying is true that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason, so we would listen more and talk less. I realize now how fast they grow up and I would have listened to them more and talked less often. I would have asked them more questions – just to get their opinion – instead of always giving them my opinion, because eventually they grow up and have to make their own decisions.

  35. Barb Higgins says:

    As our children were growing up we would always sing Sunday school songs in the car. We prayed at meals and at bed time and Jesus was a part of our conversation.

    We attended church regularly and our children were in Bible studies, Sunday school and activities that were Christ centered. Today our children are fully devoted followers of Jesus and they are raising their children in the faith. (Praise be to God.)
    We prayed for our children and they knew that, we loved the Word of God.

    We missed out by not creating the discipline of Family Bible Study. What fun memories we missed by not doing this regularly.

    So with all that said, if God gave us a DO OVER we would be more intentional about having a regular Family Bible study.

    My husband and I would have a family time where we would:

    Sing praises. We would begin with the singing of a song that would teach the to praise God ( I would break out the rhythm instruments and encourage the kiddos to praise the Lord with all their heart?)

    Choose a portion of scripture and ask the children to offer their thoughts. We would give them teaching. How fun it would be to let them tell me how the sheep hear the shepherd’s voice. Then we would talk about how cool it is to know that the sheep listen only to their shepherd. (We could have a different” Baa” to call our kids to dinner, that would confuse the neighbors Ha Ha )

    Pray. We would be intentional about requests by creating a visual prayer wall, but we would not stop there we would have a place to move the requests when they were answered. By doing this we would hope the children would see that God is alive and does answer our prayers.

    My husband would close this time by praying a blessing over our children. I would love to have had Dad place his hand on the head of our son and daughter and pray over them. I think that would be a visual that children would carry in their hearts into adulthood.

    Intentionally and creatively decorate our home with scripture.

    My husband and I have recently decided that when our grandchildren leave our home we will be intentional about praying in a family circle before they leave for their trip home. We want leave the legacy of prayer.

  36. Hi Jonathan. Do-overs would be awesome. If I could do anything over it would be to NOT have allowed my daughter to date in high school. This could have saved so much heartache that not just hurt her, but the whole family. No offense to teenage boys, because I have one of my own, but most aren’t mature enough for a relationship. My now 18-year old son, who is about to graduate high school has so much wisdom, quite frankly, I’m not sure where it came from. He has watched his now 20-year old sister go through one really bad heartache that put her in a mental health institute for a week. It took her two years to get over her high school boyfriend. My son has declared: “why would I date anyone in high school, it’s not like I’m going to marry them!” So wise! I wish I had known enough to instill this in my daughter.

  37. Emily Good says:

    I have a 15yr old and an 11yr old and I would not have given my oldest a smart phone at the age of 10 thinking he was safer with it verses without. He is now without one and I leave him in God’s hands at all times. For my 11yr old, I would not have allowed her to eat differently than the family…should have fought that battle. She misses out on so many wonderful foods!

  38. Bobby Quattlebaum says:

    My kids are 16 and 18 and if could go back and do it again, I would have had more boundaries especially when their mother and I got divorced. I tried to be more of a friend than a parent. I didn’t want to be the bad guy, so I let things slide that wouldn’t have had we not been divorced. I also would have exposed them more to community service and giving back. Neither of them would have a cell phone until high school at the earliest. I wish I would have helped them have more respect for the dollar and learn that things don’t just fall from the sky, that you have to work for success.

  39. Emily Ray says:

    I have 4 kids, ages 15, 11, 8 and 2. I honestly have many things I would like to do over as a parent. It’s hard to narrow it down to one but I really wish I could turn back to time and see a family counselor with my husband and oldest daughter. I had her before I married from a previous relationship and I didn’t understand how hard the transition would be for her even though she was only 2 when we married. Many problems could have been avoided by seeking a profession to help us understand the challenges of a blended family, especially for my daughter and husband.

  40. Tammi Kinser says:

    I am the mother of 3 boys – ages 16, 14 and 12. I would have let them fall more. We were too quick to pick them up – in every sense of the word. That’s our job as parents to be there for them always, but we get caught up in protecting them so much that we forget they are only ours for a short while. It’s never too late, but we as parents need to provide them the proper tools of life to pick themselves up more and to trust and lean on God. We are trying now to focus on the men, husbands and fathers they will become with a constant reminder to put God first and the rest will truly all fall into place. Parenting – toughest job in the world, but so critical to put the work in! Thank you God for the daily blessing of parenthood, help us not to be so caught up in the world that we forget to put you first.

  41. I have an 18 and 14 year old daughters and the one thing I would do differently is be more intentional with our time management. As do most parents, we tend to let the calendar dictate our lives rather than using it for managing our time. It almost a badge of honor (albeit a poor badge) to have our calendar filled up each month.

    I would make sure that certain evenings were “off limits” for outside activity and if there ever came a non-negotiable event we couldn’t miss, the decision would have to be made to replace the free time at another time that week.

    Our family is never more healthy than when we make time to connect as a family.

  42. Laura Allbaugh says:

    My husband and I have two sons ages 23 and 20. Our sons are truly the most treasured blessings in our lives. Despite our short-comings as parents, they have become strong Godly young men. With that said…One of the things I would do over, would be to ask more questions and be a better listener. More times than I’d like to admit, I gave them the answer or told our sons what they “should do”. Some of life’s most valuable lessons come from figuring them out on our own. Additionally, We have all learned that failure and making mistakes can often become the best teacher in the circumstances we face. Being a hover parent can often hurt them when it’s time to live on their own in the “real” world.

  43. Doug Fields says:

    I think in my early years of parenting, I cared too much about other peoples’ opinions. I was a public figure in a huge church and eyes were on me and my family. I cared too much of what others thought of me and my kids, and I made some quick-fix parenting decisions that moved them to “good/polite behavior”… just so they would make us/me look good. It was Pharisaical at its best. Fortunately, it didn’t happen very long… my wife noticed it pretty quickly and helped me understand I was being an idiot. Now I can see it clearly with other parents who parent for the approval of others. It’s not good… and it’s wounding to your kids. If you care more about how you’re perceived than the emotional healthy of your kids–it’s time to get some counseling. My kids are 27, 24, 21.

  44. Rodney Buck says:

    I have four kids – 15, 14, 10, & 8. I’d schedule regular time with my kids rather than letting the crazy busyness of my life take over leaving them the left overs. I’ve tried to be there, and connect with them consistently and I think I have a great relationship with all of them, but I would do a better job of making sure this happened by putting it into the schedule. In fact I’m going to go do that right now, thanks for the motivation.

  45. Merri Guggisberg says:

    I have to kids – 16 & soon to be 14… One thing I’d do differently is take them to spend more time with their grandparents! We live in different towns (in-laws) and different state (my parents) and now with the busyness of their teenage years, my kids long to see their grandparents more but our parents don’t drive as much so it is more challenging for them to come to our house. If I could do it all over… we’d spend lots more time with our parents! As they say, none of us are getting any younger.