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13 Incredible Ways to Be the Best Parent Ever (or Worst)

Do you want to be the best parent ever? Okay, so there are no perfect parents, but hey, most every parent wants the best for their child so we do everything in our power to make our kid’s lives good. Sometimes what seems good ain’t so good. But we don’t find out until it backfires.

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best parent everPerhaps like me, you have had your fair share of backpedaling to where you went wrong. Talk about humbling…

The good news is kids are resilient. Heaven knows I have had a few parenting failures that have been redeemed. 

In this post, I am going to help you be the best parent ever. But first, here is a list of 13 parenting strategies that may seem harmless at the time, but over the years could turn into one big, hairy parenting fail. Furthermore, check out the 13 tips to fix it or prevent it from happening in the first place with these examples of good parenting.

RELATED: Do You Feel Like a Failure as a Parent? 6 Tips to Deal with a Difficult Child

How Can I Be the Best Parent Ever? (Or Worst)

Here are 13 things you may be doing as a parent that is not productive. More importantly, check out what to do to reverse it so you will be the best parent ever! Or prevent it from ever happening…

1. Make your child the center of the universe

Everything in your home revolves around your child. He gets a separate meal made for him, he goes to bed when he feels like it, and he doesn’t have to do what he is told.

Whatever your child wants, he gets. You don’t hesitate to buy things for him constantly. You are wary of ever saying “no” because you don’t want to hurt his feelings, hear him cry, or throw a tantrum.

He is the prince (or princess) and everyone tries to make him happy at all costs. If you make your children the center of the universe, you will have a self-centered child one day. It’s not worth it.

What to do: Your child is a welcome member of your family, but God and your marriage come before your kids. By the way, you are not the maid or short-order cook. Your goal is to lovingly train your child to do things for himself.  Furthermore,  saying “no” sometimes is part of being a good parent. It’s okay if they don’t like you all the time.

RELATED: Accidentally Raising An Entitled Kid? 9 Awesome Parenting Tips to Fix It

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2. Don’t teach empathy

Don’t ever let your child know how his behavior affects others. He doesn’t need to say “I’m sorry.” Or learn how to read other people’s emotions and facial expressions. It is all about his feelings. No one else’s feelings matter.

When it comes to poverty, make sure you shelter him from seeing how others live. Whatever you do, don’t ever let him volunteer or go on a mission trip when he gets older. It is too dangerous, and he could be upset.

What to do:  A good parent is someone who teaches empathy. Have your kids pray for missionaries, friends, or family that may be hurting. Another thought…Have your kids volunteer or go on a mission trip before graduating from high school.

RELATED: Family Bonding Activities: The Best Way to Get Close to Your Kids

3. Allow laziness

Don’t make your child work. Don’t ever give chores and, by all means, don’t let him get a summer job. Make sure he sits around all day playing video games, watching TV, and having friends over.

Let him make a mess and not clean up after himself. It is too much work to clean up.

Bad grades are no big deal. He doesn’t need to study or make an effort to be successful. He is probably going to live at home forever anyways. If you choose to allow laziness, you will have a lazy child. Pretty simple.

What to do:  If you want to know how to be the best parent ever, then make sure your kids learn how to clean up, return things in good condition, and work hard. Teach delayed gratification.

4. Don’t give consequences for bad choices

Don’t punish your child when she misbehaves. It might hurt her self-image or make her feel inferior. And don’t ever be angry with her because it could make her not like you.

You are her friend. She doesn’t need a mom or dad.

Don’t forget that she is innately good. She doesn’t really mean it if she is rude or acts sassy. If she is disobedient at school, make sure you get her out of her punishment. You don’t want her to learn anything from her mistakes.

If she breaks something, you don’t need to make her repair it or pay for what is broken. And most of all, she never needs to go back and make amends for wrongs committed.

What to do: A good parent is someone who will calmly enforce consequences for bad choices. Let the punishment fit the crime. For example, a younger child needs to sit in time out, apologize, or help fix what broke. An older kid needs to pay the overdue fine, serve the detention, or pay for the ticket he got for speeding.

Don’t save your child from learning a lesson on a small level. It is better than learning it on a big level. This is one of the best ways to be the best parent ever.

RELATED: Reversing the Moral Decline In America: 7 Biblical Ways to Raise Strong Kids

5. Be a hypocrite

Live by the motto, “Do what I say, not what I do.” It doesn’t matter what you do because you are the adult. You can act however you want because you are the boss.

Your kids are not watching you or learning anything from your actions or behavior. You have a different standard than they do because you are the god of the household.

What to do: How you behave matters. Your kids are watching you whether you like it or not. In fact, they are more likely to follow what you do than what you say. If you want your kids to respect who you are as a person, practice what you preach. This is how to be the best parent ever.

RELATED: Bonding With Children: 9 Ways to Connect With Your Kids

6. Allow disrespect or rudeness

It is okay if your child says something disrespectful to you. Let him scream at you, threaten, or push you around.

If he is rude, ignore it. He is just telling you how he feels. He doesn’t need to adjust his attitude. Having a bad attitude is tough and cool, In fact, a bad attitude will take him far in life. Ever met a child like this??

What to do: Don’t allow disrespect. Period. Plain and simple. If he does it to you, he will do it to his teachers, his boss, and the law. Allow your child an avenue to respectfully disagree and/or ask for reconsideration as he gets older. (This can be abused so keep it in balance.) You want a household that is firm but loving.

RELATED: How to Raise a Boy Right in an Ungodly World: Best Tips For Parents

7. Don’t pray for your child

You don’t need any help from God. It is useless to pray for your child to have wisdom, protection from harm, or help in times of trouble.

You have got this. God can’t help because He doesn’t really exist. Or even if He does exist, He doesn’t know or understand your child or his needs. God is irrelevant to you and your family. Let me tell you, this type of self-reliance will mess up your kids. This is one of the worst parenting mistakes you can ever make. 

What to do: Pray for your child daily. Pray for wisdom on how to raise him. You can also pray for favor, protection, godly friends, etc. This is one of the ways to be the best parent ever.

8. Don’t teach any morals or values

The Bible is nonsense. It is an old book that doesn’t really fit into today’s world. Things have changed. The Ten Commandments are just suggestions for people who need a crutch.

Go by what you feel is right. There are no absolute truths. You are your own truth. In fact, you are your own god. It pains me to even type this! But oh, how I have seen this over and over. 

What to do: Teach your child the difference between right and wrong. Read the Bible out loud. Encourage a quiet time with God. Remember, character training is just as important as schoolwork.

9. Don’t get involved in church or youth group

Going to church or youth group is a big waste of time and boring. In fact, sports are more important on the weekends than any church service.

Your child could be a professional athlete someday. It is all about the big game and winning. You don’t have time to sing and hear some guy talk about how to be good. There are a bunch of hypocrites at church anyway.

What to do: Get your kids to church! And help them find a youth group/bible study they enjoy going to every week. (Preferably at your church, but whatever works.) They need to be in the Word of God. This will help you to be the best parent ever.

10. Don’t develop a relationship with your child

Children should be seen and not heard. You don’t have time to play with your kids, do fun activities, or make some great memories together as a family. And don’t eat any meals together. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

Forget being involved in his life or attending any of his extracurricular activities. Your child is there to serve you. He comes to your world, you don’t go to his. Your life is way more important.

What to do: Spend time with your child. Go to his games, help him with homework, stop and listen when he is talking. Be there for him. You can have a great relationship and not be a buddy. Your role is to be a sounding board, cheerleader, and wise guide through life.

11. Act in a severe way

Have lots of rules that don’t make sense. Yell and threaten when you are angry because this is the only way you are going to get her attention. Act severely without grace.

Make sure you are abusive with your words and actions. Cut her to the core. Show her who is boss.

Make her terrified of you. It is your way or the highway. Don’t listen to the circumstances or understand the context of a situation. You don’t have time for that nonsense.

What to do: Respect your child as another person. Treat him like you would want to be treated. You can enforce the house rules without destroying her spirit. Use positive parenting tips such as praise to help reinforce good behavior. Enforce consequences for bad choices without losing control of yourself.

12. Don’t have boundaries

Anything goes in your house. Make sure everyone is having fun all the time. Rules are boring and restrictive.


Just as long as your child is at your house, you have control over the situation. Drugs, sex, and alcohol are okay in moderation.

Respect for other people’s space or things is not important either. You just take and use what you want without asking. You don’t need boundaries or any type of guidelines for good behavior.

What to do:  If you want to be the best parent ever, make sure your child understands your expectations. You need some basic house rules. Your child needs a parent, not another buddy. Teach boundaries. Respect and enforce them. Don’t allow drugs, alcohol, or premarital sex. Period.

13. Allow pride and arrogance

Your child does not need to be teachable. He is the smartest or most popular kid around. No one is going to tell him what to do.

He doesn’t need some stupid teacher to make his life miserable. He knows best and doesn’t need others to speak into his life to make him a better person.

What to do: If your child is teachable, he will learn not just academically but also spiritually. He will gain wisdom. People like working with someone who has a good attitude, smart, and has wisdom about life. If you want to be the best parent ever, make sure he is pleasant to be around.

What Are the Qualities of a Good Parent?

The qualities of a good parent can be found in  Galatians 5:22-23. They are the fruits of the spirit.

These nine character qualities will help you to be the best parent ever. Out of all of them, I suggest you start your parenting with love. Sometimes that means tough love; it’s not always all hearts and kisses!

When you develop the fruits of the spirit, you will naturally pass them on to your kids. In fact, more is caught than taught. This is the best parenting advice ever!

Your kids are watching you. They see who you really are when things get hard so be a good example to them by allowing God to work on your character first.

What Are the Hardest Years of Parenting?

According to some of the blogs I have read, years 8 and 11 are supposed to be some of the hardest years. I have to disagree.

I think the answer is that each child is different so the hardest parenting years are different. Every stage has its tough moments. Getting up in the middle of the night with babies was hard. However, staying up until your teenager comes home was hard too. In each instance, I felt out of control. And I was exhausted.

If I had to choose a time period, I would say the high school years were the hardest parenting years. You don’t have control so much anymore, and you are praying that what you have taught your kids actually worked.

Thank heavens it did…eventually. God is good!

What do you do to be the best parent ever?

family estrangementGot Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!

Are you experiencing family problems or even estranged? Are you feeling shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

This book talks about my seven-year estrangement from my Christian family and also gives solid tips to help you with your own family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.

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Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids.  It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.

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52 thoughts on “13 Incredible Ways to Be the Best Parent Ever (or Worst)”

  1. This is great, Julia! And convicting, too, where I feel I’ve slipped a bit! Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

    1. Kara, thanks for commenting. I know, right? It’s so easy to slip into enabling when “everyone” does it. It is hard to step back and let the consequences fall where they may. Of course, when our kids are in real danger we do need to stop that. Small stuff can be let go though.

    1. I bet that was a funny post! I think we need a little humor when raising teens. It can get serious real quick. Kids are hormonal and can get charged up over the smallest things.

  2. You are so right, every stage has its hard part to it. Each of my children has behaved differently than the other in those stages. What is most important is to bring your child to The Lord in prayer, and learn who that child is and love them according to who they are and their love language.

  3. Oh good, by this list I am not screwing up my daughter. Some parents need some harsh and tough love. I just naturally thought all of these were common sense to parents, but I guess I am wrong in thinking parents should be responsible.

    1. Rikki, go figure! You would think these are common sense things, right? As a teacher, I have seen some really sad situations. Kids neglected, abused, abandoned, etc. It is heartbreaking. There are lots of ways to screw up your kids. But God can redeem any situation. Thanks for the comment.

    1. Berlin, it is kind of fun to write a post on the opposite of what you should do. It tends to get people’s attention. It is sad there are many ways to screw up your kids. Hopefully, none of these scenarios fit my readers!

    1. Wendy, it is hard to raise kids. I definitely stayed on my knees. Still do, actually. There are so many ways to screw up your children. I definitely don’t want to be responsible for doing any of these. Thanks for your comment.

    1. Heather, I think that is one of the best ways to screw up your children. Not giving them responsibility and consequences. They need it to learn how to manage life in the real world. Thanks for your comment.

  4. I do think we need to try not to be hypocrites to our children. But that comes with the understanding that we will fail and we will not always live up to our own values because we are broken fallen creatures. Knowing God’s love is still there for us, and that he loves us despite our faults is an equally important lesson.

    1. David, this is so true. We do things that are not good parenting. I think it is important to model good behavior and ask for forgiveness when you do something wrong. This will help kids to see you can make mistakes and move on. No one wants to screw up their children. Sometimes it just happens.

  5. It’s refreshing reading posts from a religious perspective. It seems like everyone is so anti church and faith latley

    1. Eric, you definitely hit a blog about God and raising godly children. I think there are a lot of people who screw up their children because they don’t allow God to be Lord of their life and family. There is no plumb line or truth. It is all relative. Thanks for your comment.

    1. Yuli, yes, these are commonsense parenting tactics. Unfortunately, a lot of parents still screw up their children because they don’t know how to be a godly parent. Thanks for your comment.

  6. As parents we are bound to make a few mistakes, but there is no excuse for not working hard to teach your kids right from wrong. Love this list; being a parent is the toughest job there is, and while it is fulfilling you can never stop working at it!

    1. Andrea, thanks for your sweet comment. We do make mistakes, but part of good parenting is apologizing when wrong and making changes. I don’t think parents realize how they screw up their kids until it is done. Many times it is too late.

  7. Love this! I use to facilitate a parenting course using an evidenced-based curriculum…many of the points above were discussed during my time interacting with parents.

  8. The hypocrite one really stood out to me. I’d like to be a better example of processing emotions and stress in a healthy way to match the expectations and teaching I try to give to my children. Great list!

    1. Maegan, I am glad that you have thought about the way you are parenting. It is easy to slip down a slope and not realize where you are until you have been there a while. Good job examing yourself. No one wants to screw up their children. Sometimes it just happens when we aren’t looking.

  9. Oh man. It’s hilarious how obvious all of these are when you read them as you’ve written them. It sounds so ridiculous to ever do any of these things! Parents everywhere should read your list and do a bit of self-reflection.

    1. Thanks, Colleen. I hope this gets people’s attention. I wanted them to learn what not to do. No one wants to screw up their children. It just happens over time. Thanks for reading.

  10. What great reminders. Life can get crazy when we all try to keep on with “The Jones”…we must remember to raise our kids in ways that make them into successful, independent, kind adults and not worry about making sure they have the newest and best of everything or that their life is free of sadness.

    1. Colleen, it is so easy to give kids everything they want because we think that is love. Love can’t be bought. It is important to take care of needs and some wants, but not forgo hard work and responsibility. No one wants to screw up their kids. It happens slowly, one decision at a time.

  11. I am so grateful to read these reminders. We always try to teach my oldest daughter empathy and to include other children, and we wonder sometimes if it is resonating. I also completely agree about not making separate meals!

  12. Being a hypocrite is a big one I need to focus on! It’s so easy to just explain things away as “Because I said so” but taking the time to explain why rules are different or taking the time to avoid the things I tell my kids not to do can go a long way!

    1. Oh, yeah, I know that it is hard to be a good role model all the time. And kids don’t always have the same rules as adults. Alcohol being a big one. Thanks for reading this!

    1. Ha ha! Did you think you might be screwing up your kids? These are pretty common sense things. I like to throw people off a bit and make them think out of the box. Thanks for reading.

    1. Yes, sometimes we don’t realize we are doing things that may turn bad later on. I know a few people who have been caught by surprise when their kids were a mess as an adult. Thanks for reading.

  13. This is great!! You nailed it!! Not praying for them, not giving consequences, making them the center!! Oh how people are making a generation of disrespectful and entitled teens and young adults!! Bring back the Bible. I literally commend you for speaking truth!!

    1. Thanks, April. I am trying to help moms see that they can do things in a way that will have great results later on. They don’t have to go the way of the child-centered parenting philosophy of the world. Thanks for reading.

  14. As someone’s child, I really appreciate this post. These are very important guidelines especially during the early years. Thank you for sharing this with us. I do pray this will reach plenty of parents out there! ❤️

  15. My goodness, I could just hug you for writing this. I see so many parents now who coddle their kids so much. I do it to a degree myself too, but I know this is not doing my daughter any favors. Our jobs as parents is to teach our children to be autonomous people that can make good decisions when they get older. Of course and love them (hard) too. It is not our job to be our children’s friend.

    1. I know. I have had some coddling moments, too. It is so hard to be the adult sometimes. I love my kids but I know that catering to them will not make them ready for the real world. I hate saying “no.” I feel like such a bad guy when I do it. But I do it because I love them. I try to make a bunch of great moments in between the “no’s.” Thanks for reading.

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