Parenting four kids has taught us a lot. Now that our oldest is 16 we’re starting to see how our parenting has moved through four distinct phases.
Phase 1: BABYSITTER – this is the first stage in parenting where all we care about is making sure our kids are safe and that they don’t put a fork in the wall outlet. This phase is physically exhausting but mentally exhilarating as your baby smiles big for you even though you have rank morning breath.
Phase 2: REFEREE – the second stage of parenting where you teach and enforce the rules. If you have more than one kid this is the phase where you want to pull your hair out, and maybe your kids’ as well. This stage is both physically and mentally exhausting.
Phase 3: COACH – when your child matures and begins to understand the rules you can then move into the realm of teacher/coach. This is the stage where you’re teaching them how to win in life. It can be mentally exhausting as your teenager asks questions you have no idea how to answer, but at least you can physically take a break and watch a movie with them afterward.
Phase 4: TEAMMATE – this is the final stage that all parents hope to one day achieve. When your in this stage you are doing life alongside your child as someone on an equal playing field. In this phase you go from teacher and mentor to friend.
Here’s the key – If your kid can honor you as babysitter, referee, and coach then you will be the best teammate they could ever have. But if not, there’s no phase four for them or for you. This is why it’s so important that we parents honor God’s authority in our lives so we can model to our kids what honoring authority looks like. Then one day we can walk alongside them as teammates as they teach our grandkids the same.
What could be better than that?