4 Things I Would Do Differently if I Could Raise My Kids Again

Published Feb 19, 2024
4 Things I Would Do Differently if I Could Raise My Kids Again

As a writer, I have many friends who write articles for different organizations. One day, a writer friend asked if she could ask me some questions regarding my parenting. Her main question when she interviewed me was, "What would I do differently if I could raise my kids again?" I wish I could say I raised my kids perfectly with no mistakes. However, there are many things I wish I could do differently if I had the chance to parent my kids all over again. As parents, we all make mistakes when it comes to parenting. Although we strive to be less like our own parents, the reality is we often adopt certain principles and methods of parenting just like our parents. Sometimes, we even find ourselves saying the same phrases with the same tone and mannerisms as them. Becoming like our parents is not all bad, but there are certainly things we could have done better when we look back on our time as a parent. Here are some things I wish I had done differently if I could raise my kids again:

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages
Woman praying, with Bible open;

1. I'd Pray More

Since I was raised in a non-Christian home, my parents never set the example of going to church regularly, praying, or reading the Bible. When I became a born-again Christian at the age of eighteen, I had to learn to read the Bible for myself, pray, and attend church regularly. These were all necessary elements for my spiritual growth. This became more important when I became a parent, as I wanted my kids to see a role model who attended church regularly. As a pastor's wife, life often required me to work a job, minister to church attendees, and be a parent. Because of this, I was tired at the end of the day as my husband was often gone until later in the evening. We often took walks as a family and did fun activities. But I wish we had set the example of praying together. This would have been a good example for our children to follow. Because of this, I'm not sure how often they pray. Although they attend church and read their Bibles, I'm not sure they pray as often as they should. If I could go back in time, I would have prayed each morning for them and read the Word so that they could see what it means to be a growing, mature Christian.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Jacob Wackerhausen
rebellious teenager arguing with mom conflict

2. I'd Be Less of a Helicopter Parent

Growing up in a strict household, I had difficulty finding the line between being a controlling parent and a passive parent. Although I didn't like my controlling household growing up, I do think my mother knowing where I was and what I was doing at all times boded well for me as an adult. My husband, who was allowed to do more free activities and make his own decisions, wishes he had parents who were more involved in what he was doing. As a parent, I erred on the side of being too controlling. In doing so, I robbed them of the ability to make their own decisions. Both of my kids are adults now; they don't have the wisdom to navigate life's challenging seasons with ease. Reflecting on this, I would have been less controlling and a little more relaxed. If they made a mistake, it would have helped them figure out how to fix the mistake rather than trying to prevent the mistake from being made at all.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/franckreporter
5 siblings ontop of eachother in livingroom

3. I Would Have Helped Them in Their Relationship with Siblings

Growing up, I had one sister. She was 4 1/2 years older than me. While we played together when we were young, when she became a teenager, I was still a child. It became less fun for her to hang out with a nine-and-a-half-year-old child when she was embracing her teen years. She began spending more time with her friends and less with me. Therefore, by age ten, I was pretty much on my own. Because of this, we have a strained relationship partly because we have little in common. I never realized how the strained relationship would affect my ability to parent my own children. My kids played with each other when they were young, but as they got older, they grew apart, and now they barely talk. It's difficult to watch them struggle in their relationship. If I could go back in time, I would have learned the skills necessary to have a healthy relationship with my sibling so that I could teach it to my own children. Being an only child, my mother didn't have to worry about that, so she never learned how to teach my sister and me how to get along and be close as siblings. I wish I had helped them figure out how to relate to each other as brother and sister, not as enemies.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Liderina

Dady celebrating baby's first steps

4. I Would Have Been Present

Giving birth to both my children in my 20s, I enjoyed being a parent. But I often longed to advance my own career. I worked jobs in daycares and other childhood educational roles. This was not the place I wanted to go in my career. As I struggled to find my way to have a meaningful career, I neglected to enjoy my kids in their younger years. Looking back, I should have played with them more. I should have neglected the dishes and the housework, worried less about my advancement in my work, and spent more time playing and interacting with my kids. For every load of dishes I did, I could have been making blanket forts and coloring pictures. Now that they're older, and I don't see them as much, I miss those days. I miss their hugs and their excitement to see me at the end of the day. I also would have used the video camera to record more of their lives so I would have more to look back on now that they are older. With one son living on his own and one daughter going to college next year, my house will be empty. What once was filled with laughter, toys, and messes is now empty and quiet. I should have been present more and less worried about the future. I should have been present in the moment with them rather than longing for those days to be over. I hope that when my children get married and have children, I will be a present figure in my grandchildren's lives. It will not be the same as what it was to raise my children, but it will be a second chance for me to be more present and engage and interact with my grandchildren and be a positive role model in their lives.

No one prepares you for parenthood. There is no manual on the most successful way to raise children. Everyone has their own system and style of parenting. What works for one may not work for the other. We all make mistakes as parents. But we can learn from them and move forward. Let's engage with our adult children. Children are a gift from the Lord. To identify that gift is to enjoy watching them as adults navigate their world.

Related Resource: 13 Ways To Be a Better Parent This Year

In this insightful episode of Christian Parent/Crazy World, host Catherine Segars helps you leave behind the old and embrace the new with a “Dashboard for Life,” which is a report card containing 13 gauges on how to improve in the new year. Catherine walks you through how to examine your faith life, your marriage or dating life, your family life, and nine other areas by offering simple, everyday guidance on how to make effective and lasting change. This powerful tool for self-assessment will help all of your relationships, especially your parenting relationships. But most of all, it will help improve your relationship with God. And when that relationship is better, all of your relationships are better.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/monkeybusinessimages

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.

Originally published Monday, 19 February 2024.