Perfect Parenting vs. Intentional Parenting

No one would claim they are or even come close to being a perfect parent. However, many seem to strive for that, especially with their first child. We consume book after book about how to parent, buy every gadget that the kid “needs”, and make sure that we document little Johnny’s every move and milestone.

Photo Credit: @DeLarrenSr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: @DeLarrenSr via Compfight cc

I wonder what motivates us as parents. Do we feel a need to meet our parent’s expectations? Maybe it’s keeping up with the perceived standards set by our peers.

God forbid you end up with a strong willed child or one dealing with trauma! Because that child is not going to participate with your plan for perfection.

I am far from the perfect parent. But then perfection is not my goal. Maybe it’s because I didn’t become a father until I was 50 years old.

Before you judge me, hear me out.

I am not concerned that our son has the perfect food, room, or clothes. I don’t care if he is not in the “perfect” school or has the perfect friends. I don’t even care that he acts perfectly.

I also don’t care if I do everything perfectly as a dad. I am not going to put any of that pressure on myself. Besides each time I mess up it gives me an opportunity to model confession, repentance, and forgiveness. How will that ever happen if my parenting is “perfect”?

Instead, I choose to parent with intention.

I have certain things that I want to make sure that I pass on well as a parent. And, I know if I am not intentional about these things, I will wake up one day soon and my son will be moving out on his own.


The time to teach a child how to respect others is when they are young. Just like all of us when we come into this world, we think that everything revolves around us, or at least it should!

I want my son to learn how to treat others respectfully. I want him to learn how to manage his emotions in a healthy way, even when he is wronged. I sure want him to learn this at a young age. I want him to learn how to respect appropriate authority.

Our son is strong-willed, opinionated, and comes from a hard place. So, he is aggressive, struggles with regulating his body, and meltdowns easily. If I am concerned with perfection, I would suffer from embarrassment on a daily basis! But if I can parent with an eye on his future , he has a better chance to have healthy relationships as an adult.


Right now our son wants to help out around the house. He even gets mad when I don’t let him do something that he can’t handle yet without getting hurt. I know if I don’t instill in him an appreciation for work, this will not last. I want him to learn that work is not a bad four letter word, but instead work is rewarding.


Ahh, money. Can either be a good thing or a really bad thing. It all depends on whether you control it or if it controls you.

Our son is not too young to begin leaning the value of money, where it comes from, and how to tell it where to go. I definitely want him to understand this by the time he leaves our home.

I fully expect him to make mistakes, but I prefer he make them while he lives with us or at least while I am alive.


As my son gets older and it’s more appropriate, I will share with him the many mistakes I have made. For now, I tell him things like, “Be gentle with mommy”, “Isn’t mommy pretty? Go tell her how pretty she is”.

I hope to teach or model for him how to treat women with gentleness, respect, and love.


We all tend to worship something.

I want our son to know why he was created to worship.

Danielle and I intentionally pray with, around, and for our son. We talk openly about our faith. He sees us study the Bible. He began asking Danielle the other day if she had done her “daily reading” yet. That’s some good accountability!

My wish is that when he reaches his late teens, he will have his own faith in God. Not mine or Danielle’s.

The list goes on…

But the point is this:

Perfect parenting focuses on present results. Intentional parenting focuses on future results knowing that present mistakes give an opportunity to teach.

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I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “Perfect Parenting vs. Intentional Parenting

  1. I have studied human development at length and always have this expectation that I should be able to raise my future children perfectly. That pressure is something else! I like how you shift the focus to the future. It removes some of the pressure of the present play-by-plays that the child isn’t likely to remember, and instead focuses on the overall experience!

  2. I like your wording, “Perfect parenting focuses on present results. Intentional parenting focuses on future results knowing that present mistakes give an opportunity to teach.”