How to be a Better Parent – OR – a Better Son or Daughter!

Posted On October 17, 2019 By Peter In

Recently, I preached on parenting – some of the top regrets I hear, & how we can avoid them! We assume that, because we’re socially intelligent, our kids will necessarily catch it. But, it takes a lot more intentionality than most Christians think. To put it simply: life has a way of crowding out many of the best parenting moments. So how do we seize these moments? (Both as parents and as sons & daughters?)

Well, first things first: if you missed the sermon Perspective – Part 5, you can check it out here.
And, the handout I mention in the sermon can be found here.

However, if you keep reading, I pasted both of these handouts below! So, as you continue reading, ask yourself: Which of the tips helps you (or disturbs you) the most and why? Allow God to mess with you!

How to Be a Better Parent:

Habits that increase the transmission of wisdom

Imagine that parenting and discipleship came down to 2000 “conversations and demonstrations.” How will you log the majority of these before your kids leave the house? The top regret of parents is, “I underestimated how fast they would grow up; I underestimated how small the window of mentoring was; I underestimated how much proximity and leverage I had to mentor when they were young; And, now I have to play catch up.”

Here are 3 Simple Habits which have a huge statistical impact on value-transmission and child outcomes:

(1). Be in church EVERY SINGLE WEEKResearch shows, ppl who attend EVERY week have: higher grades, higher graduation rates; higher academic achievements; better time management; better sex lives; better marriages; better life-expectancy; lower depression rates; lower mental illness.

& these outcomes PLUMMET for Christians who even miss even one or two weeks a month! (see citations in book Broken Escalators, Peter Haas; Chapter 3, pg. 56) Or see THIS BLOG – The Jaw Dropping Benefits of Church Attendance:

(2). Have dinner together EVERY NIGHT: Kids who regularly eat dinner with their families are 3x less likely to smoke pot; (cuts the risk of substance abuse in half). It lowers stress levels; significantly lowers risk of suicide. With nightly dinners, kids are more likely to confide in their parents, more likely to feel emotionally content, more likely to be selective about finding positive friends, more likely to get good grades; and, they’re more likely to say their parents are proud of them.” (cited from: The National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse at Columbia University).

(3). Always Parent towards “Less is More” Less Sports; Less Piano Lessons; Less Social Events (to free them up). And YOU must model the same behavior: Less Debt; Smaller mortgage; Slower career goals; Basically… Less of ANYTHING that causes you to log fewer hours with God & each other! How?

Turn your 5 year career goals into 10 year goals; Teach your kids: “If that extracurricular is truly so important, you’ll find a way to do it in your 20’s!”

Don’t be like the “Seed among Thorns” (in the Parable of the Seed & the Sower). “[They] hear the word, but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things come in and choke the word making it unfruitful.” Mk 4:18. If the devil can’t get you bad he’ll get you busy!

And if you’re looking for more Parenting Tips, click: “How to Help Your kids Fall in Love with the Church”

Or “How to Survive Young Kids – A Marriage Tip” 

How to be a Better Son or Daughter

Habits that increase the transmission of wisdom

What to Look for in a Spiritual Mom or Dad:

  • Full of God’s Word and the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Psm 1:3; Gal.5:22)
  • Be sure they attend & serve weekly in a healthy local church:

“Planted in the house of the Lord they will flourish” Psm.92:13

The top 2 predictors of spiritual health & growth: “4-7 friends at a local church + a weekly ministry that charges them up.”

  • Avoid people who always make you feel comfortable. (If comfort is what you’re looking for, get a massage therapist.)
  • Avoid mentors who are easily available: Most of the mentors worth having are too busy to mentor you. Expect the relationship to require some form of inconvenient intentionality.


What is Your Job as a Good Son or Daughter?

(1). You must take initiative: You seek them out; Don’t expect them to seek you out. You communicate your needs; Don’t expect them to read your mind or affirm you in intuitive ways. Make it easy for your spiritual parents. 

(2). You go to them with the attitude of Serving & Re-Learning:

Teach ability is not the ability to learn. Rather it’s the ability to relearn that which you already know. Don’t seek confirmation as much as impartation. Go with the expectation of receiving homework; Don’t give them homework.

(3). Don’t expect them to fulfill ALL of your mentoring needs: A healthy person has an entire team of advisors… financial, marital, etc. Healthy people need: “Role Models” (books/podcasts); Mentors; Peers (who will hold you accountable); and people you’re mentoring. (because we reap what we sow). No single person should play all of these.

 (4). Don’t oppress them with YOUR definition of Fatherhood or Motherhood. Your job is to learn their definition. And in honoring them, you will reap what you sow. God will always provide additional mentors & opportunities to us when we sow honor to them and mentoring to others.

For More Mentoring Tips, see the blog linked HERE:

For dozens more blogs and messages on parenting, check out my parenting page! I cover everything from “How to talk about sex, dating” to “How to Vacation with young kids.”


Peter Haas is the Lead Pastor of Substance Church – an international multisite church based in Minneapolis. Peter is also a dj-turntablist who produces & tours with Substance Variant. He writes comedy books on spirituality: “Pharisectomy: How to Remove Your Inner Pharisee and Other Religiously Transmitted Diseases” (2012) and Broken Escalators (2015). See www.SubstanceChurch.com – @peterhaas1 (twitter & instagram)


Substance Church – Downtown Minneapolis Campus

Click to visit one of Substance’s Church live services, or see our documentary film-style services on Youtube. To watch our worship vides, see Substance Input Output.


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