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2 Of My Biggest Parenting Fails

As parents, we’re always navigating through the challenges of raising our kids, learning from our mistakes, and striving to improve. Throughout the years, I’ve made so many parenting mistakes that I sometimes wonder how my kids survived. I mean, I really need to write a book about all my missteps. I can call it “Parenting Gone Wrong.”

Okay, so I’m half joking. But as I’m writing this post about past parenting mistakes, regret is beginning to creep in. And now I’m reminding myself that it’s not about being flawless. There are no perfect parents and no perfect families. We should do our best with what we have and consistently strive to improve for our children.

So, in the spirit of “learn from the error of my ways,” here are two of my biggest parenting fails where I missed the mark and the lessons they’ve taught me:

1) I didn’t model, teach, or support physical health
My own upbringing lacked an emphasis on physical health. I ate so unhealthily (that word even seems wrong and made up) and didn’t intentionally try to stay in shape. Regrettably, I carried forward that mindset into my own journey as an adult and a parent.

I failed to model and stress the importance of healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and taking care of one’s body with my kids. Instead, when we were out, I often opted for convenient and inexpensive fast food. At home, I stocked the cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer with too many unhealthy snacks and meals without realizing the negative impact.

For sure, this is one area I wish I had a do-over! Regarding physical health, I would set a good example with it, teach them about it, involve them in it, and make it fun. Specifically, in these areas:
> Eating Healthy
> Drinking Water
> Taking Supplements
> Exercising Regularly
> Sleeping Enough

It’s really important to educate children about health. It sets the foundation for lifelong wellness, promotes proper physical development, and supports mental well-being by reducing stress and anxiety. Teaching kids about staying healthy also plays a role in preventing health problems such as obesity and diabetes. Ultimately, introducing routines from an early age empowers kids to make decisions about their health and paves the way for a happier and more satisfying life.

2) I didn’t enforce a clear plan for technology use
The internet, cell phones, and social media started becoming a thing when my kids were young. I knew that new and coming technology was important, but I underestimated how technology could impact my children’s lives in the area of mental health.

I reacted too slowly and was too relaxed with technological guidelines and limits. Then, I moved way too fast. I didn’t make them a part of this conversation. I merely dictated the rules. The absence of a structure resulted in issues with screen time, difficulty in disconnecting, digital manners, and exposure to inappropriate content. The absence of a conversation around the new tech rules damaged my relationship with my kids.

Explore tips and strategies to navigate your child’s digital world here:
> Blog Post
> PDF Resource
> Podcast Episode

I hope that by sharing these two parenting failures of mine, you’ve gained some encouragement and insights. Parenting is a journey with its highs and lows, and every wrong step serves as a chance for us to learn and grow.

To all the moms and dads dealing with their share of parenting mishaps, just know that you’re not in this alone. Take in the lessons, make those adjustments, and continue on your path to being the best parent you can be. It’s not about perfection. It’s about assessing, learning, and adjusting as we navigate the blessing of parenthood.

For a deeper dive, listen to our podcast episode, “2 Of Our Biggest Parenting Fails | Part 4 of 4”


  • Chris Reed

    Chris married his beautiful bride, Tina, in 1990. They have three wonderful adult children, Jacob, Kaylee, and Macie Joy. Chris began pastoring at a church in Los Angeles in 1995 where he was the Children’s and Student Pastor. He was the Executive Pastor of Student Ministries at John Maxwell's church in South Florida before he came to Saddleback in 2008 as our Pastor to 20s/30s. He has since served as Singles Pastor, Small Groups Pastor, Marriages Pastor, and Parents Pastor. He is currently our Extensions Pastor, leading the charge for Saddleback Church start-ups across the US and world. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies and his Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership.

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