Grace Based Parenting

Grace Based Parenting in Our Blended Family Home

This month I have been learning a lot about grace.  We have been talking in church about giving and receiving grace. This is a topic of discussion in MOPS, and I started studying the book Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel.  And I have been finding these lessons extremely helpful in my everyday life.

I believe, as parents, we need to receive grace daily. I don’t know about you, but I make mistakes as a parent every day.  And I am learning that I can either live feeling guilty about it, or accept that I am human, receive the grace that God offers, and try to learn from those mistakes.  I am also learning that I need to show my kids grace daily. They make mistakes too.

Dr. Kimmel talks in his book about raising strong vs. safe kids.  (For a great illustration of this, you may want to dive into the post, How to be a Grace-Based Parent.) As parents in general, and especially as Christian parents, we may be prone to well-meaning but misguided attempts to keep our kids safe.  I’ll own up to that.  I am surprised to say I can be a “helicopter mom.”  I spend a lot of time and energy worrying about my kids.  And often, as a result, I put rules into place in our home that are meant to keep our kids safe.  And there is nothing wrong with that–most of the time.  Having a rule that your 3-year-old cannot cross the street alone is a GREAT rule.

However, as parents, I am learning that we must be cautious to keep a middle ground on rulemaking. If we lapse into a rulemaking frenzy, we teach our kids that the world is a dangerous place rather then a beautiful place. We teach them that objects, things, people, and places are to be feared rather than to trust in themselves to make wise decisions.  And they decide that ultimately, that God is not powerful enough to protect them. I don’t know about you, but that is NOT the lesson I ever want to teach my kids!

Grace-Based Parenting

Rather, I want my kids exposed to places, people, things, and ideas of this world. This is why grace-based parenting is such a powerful parenting win. On that inevitable day, when they become adults, I want them to walk out with confidence in themselves, in their family, and in God.  I want them to have an inner strength to be naive, timid, or easily influenced. Because, rather than hovering over to protect them, we kept a watchful eye on the way they were exposed to things on the lessons they learned as children.  Because we allowed them to explore and ask questions and created a learning environment where they were loved unconditionally and were free to express themselves.

Grace based parenting

Will I continue to have rules in our home?  YES.  I will be vigilant to not allow the pendulum to swing to an “anything goes” mentality.  But I will be putting more thought into the way that we handle rules and discipline in our home.  Always seeking to find that middle ground so that our girls walk confidently hand in hand with us and with God throughout their lives. How are you practicing grace-based parenting in your home? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below. 

Finally, for more great blended family insights, be sure to check out Jenny’s thoughts on becoming mom and stepmom. We know that step-parents have an important job and a difficult one. Know that we are cheering you on 100 percent!

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Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at www.ithrive320.com.

30 thoughts on “Grace Based Parenting in Our Blended Family Home”

  1. I fight my own fears all the time. She is my only child, barring someone dropping a child at my door with legal rights attached in a note, she will be my only baby ever. And I am working on having an Abraham attitude – willing to turn her over to God like he did with Isaac, but that is probably the biggest issue in my heart right now. I try not to actively worry, but I have to fight the HELICOPTER mom in me. Thank you for reminding me that it really is my sin that I don’t trust God is her God too. He has a plan for her beautiful little life that will work out in His will.

  2. Very important your words here. We had a saying in our home while raising our girls, “rules without relationships was a recipe for disaster.” Rules and boundaries are needed, but I agree, to build relationships with our children, we most definitely need grace! I like what you said, “trust in themselves to make wise decisions.” We don’t give our children nearly the credit they deserve when it comes to this. Because, we are so in the business of keeping them safe way to much.

  3. It is a fine line between protecting your children from the world but exposes them to enough of it so they are able to function in a fallen world. I don’t know what that is. Parenting is such a tough job these days. They things that are promoted by our culture and society these days were unheard of when I was growing up, so I certainly understands parents of today reservations about what their children are exposed to.

  4. I’m not a parent, but I do enough babysitting to see many different parenting styles, and I love getting to speak into kids and parents lives, helping them give themselves grace, even in the hard times.

  5. This sounds like a book I need to read. It is hard not to feel guilty every day as a parent. We are human, but there is also a lot at stake. It’s a good thing God can redeem our mistakes!

  6. I love this post! Honestly I can tend to be a rule based person by nature. Yet God so lovingly gave my husband & I 5 blessings to steward over to help soften me up a bit. With that many kids, we do have rules, but to enforce 5000 of them could’ve sent me over the edge. I quickly learned grace. I’ve learned what battles I’m willing to fight- if it could potentially hurt them or someone else (physically, spiritually or emotionally), it’s getting enforced. Otherwise, I’m letting it go! Thanks for sharing this at Intentional Tuesday!

  7. Hi Jen! You are so right. It’s so important to receive the grace God gives us as parents. My oldest left for college recently and I have found myself replaying the past 21 years of his life in my mind over an over again, wondering if the mistakes I made as a parent have messed him up. This was a good reminder for me to accept God’s grace in the areas that I feel I fell short as a parent and to trust him to fill the gaps. Thanks! Visiting from Cisneros Cafe.

  8. Oh this is so wonderful. Thank you so much for linking up to Open Mic Monday for the soul. I have had to practice not hovering over my child as well. Yesterday, when my 10-yr old pulled out a disciplinary report he had been hiding, I was frank with him. We’ve been having a million conversations about behavior and I always side with him against his teachers. Last night, I finally had to pray and muster the courage to say to him, “Son, I won’t always be able to be with you. You will have to grow up to be a man of sound faith and the actions you choose now begin to lay out a path before you. I’ll always be here to encourage your good choices, but you will have to answer for your bad choices because I cannot answer for you on those. You have to own them, pray over them and CHOOSE to do better tomorrow. Your choice. ” Oh, he hugged me and said, Mom I love you so much. I love him so much too. I felt so brave and had to hold back a good tear. I love him enough to let him walk the walk with God by our side. Thank you for this post and I hope you have a beautiful week. I hope to see you again soon.

  9. It’s so hard as a parent. We want to keep our kids safe at all times. We can only hope we taught them the things they needed to know to help keep themselves safe. THanks for linking up at Family Joy Blog Link Up Party. I enjoy reading your blog weekly!

  10. I agree completely with your article! It is so hard to be able to not cross that line! I am always trying to protect and guard my three little ones, but it sometimes gets in the way of me letting them experience life. Because as my husband says, there will always be things they have to face when I am not there!

    xoxo

    Alicia

  11. I love this! My husband and I were just taking a walk, and we went past one of those ropes courses where you climb really high up with just a tether holding you in place. There was a little boy (probably 8 or 9 years old) on it who climbed all the way to the top. It was so great to see such fearlessness! His dad was down on the ground, following the child’s every move, but allowing it nonetheless! I think it’s important to protect our kids but also to give them room for some bravery, fearlessness, and even failure. It can be hard to find the balance, but I think it’s important to try.

  12. A big YES!

    I started my own parenting resolution challenge this year because I needed to get out of my parenting rut. I felt like I was FAR from grace-based parenting. I was bordering on rule-making and intimidation – definitely not the way I want to be! I want my children to see Christ in me. They’re looking for it too!

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

  13. What an excellent balanced post about structure with grace in parenting. I so enjoyed reading this even though our children are grown and gone with families of their own. Thanks so much for sharing it. Visiting today as your neighbor on the linkup hosted by Barbie Swihart.

  14. I am at the grandparent stage, but I wish I had the kind of advice you imparted when my children were growing up, especially when you said, “That objects, things, people and places are to be feared rather then to trust in themselves to make wise decisions. And ultimately, that God is not powerful enough to protect them. And I don’t know about you, but that is NOT the lesson I ever meant to teach my kids!” Wow! I found that very profound.

    Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂

  15. I love Tim Kimmel’s work! He came and spoke at our church for a marriage and family conference. It seems our world is filled with extremes – the helicopter parent and the disengaged. We need to find a middle ground to promote the independence but still maintain connection and supervision of our children. Great post! Thanks so much!!!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

  16. This sounds like a great parenting book; I will have to look into it. I thought your post was awesome. I can be a “helicopter Mom” as well, but I think it’s age appropriate for my kids because they are still young. Rules are an important part of teaching children how to be safe, and I enjoyed how you shared how these lessons transition when they becomes adults. Thanks so much for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week! Blessings 🙂

  17. I’ve often thought about having a “yes” day. Where everything “within reason” is answered yes to. To let them have and do whatever they wish for one day a year. I’d really be interested to see what kind of choices they made. I believe there has to be a balance of freedom and restrictions. Thanks for linking with #momsterslink.

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