Parenting on Purpose


Parenting has many joys and yet also many challenges. Through purposeful engagement around key areas, parents can encourage and support the growth of their children while also helping them to draw closer to Jesus. Learn more as Brian Sutter provides practical parenting concepts in these short videos.

Emotional Regulation


Spiritual Development



Further Information

Parenting on Purpose: Technology
Through purposeful engagement around key areas in technology, parents can provide teaching and protection for their children in this ever-changing world. Learn more as Brian Sutter provides practical parenting concepts in these short videos.



Hi, my name’s Brian Sutter. I’m one of the counselors here at ACCFS, and I’d like to just take a few moments to talk to you about parenting on purpose. I’ve found in my work here that there’s a lot of parents that they would really like to know what, what are some of the key domains to think about as a parent and, and how then to help their child in those domains.
So some of the resources that you’re gonna see here, I’d like you to focus on just a few things. One would be to identify your children’s abilities and the skills that would be helpful.
Number two would be what kind of instruction is gonna help facilitate growth in this area? And then the third would be practice. How do I give opportunity to practice those things so that they can rehearse them and get better at those? I think if we can keep those things, those concepts in place as we think about engaging our kids, we’re gonna be in a good position to parent on purpose.
We’re really excited to share these resources to you as you seek to engage parenting on purpose.

Emotional Regulation:

Parenting on purpose with our emotions. One, one of the, the key concepts or one of the key developments for kids and adults, both that leads to being able to engage the kinds of behaviors that we’d like to, is emotional regulation. In many ways, that’s the foundation of the pyramid. If we’re able to regulate our emotions, then we can do a lot of things really well. So, as you think about that in the ability category, that would be thinking about what are, what are the, our child’s skill?
Are they able to recognize what their emotions are? Are they able to recognize where those emotions come from? When, when it’s late at night and, and their leg hurts, can they recognize that maybe the fact that it hurts is more tied to them being tired than something else? Or let’s say, you know, two days after they’ve experienced a loss and they’re just really grumpy, are they able to recognize that emotion as sadness and tie it back to something that’s happened a few days prior? The those would be, uh, abilities or skills to be thinking about in the emotional regulation category. Can they name emotions? Do they recognize maybe where they’re coming from? Are they able to put a label of an intensity level on them and how those things are impacting them? If we can know what their abilities are, their strengths and weaknesses, that’s gonna help us come alongside developing the skill of emotional regulation, then that’s gonna help inform the second principle of instruction.
Where is it? They maybe need insight into what emotions are and, and the sensations that they experience in their body, what emotions those are, maybe tied to how maybe this a few days ago impacts where they’re at today.
How maybe to think about their friend over here and what they’ve experienced recently and what might be going on with them emotionally and, and how that’s tied to the behavior that they’re getting from their friend, whether positive or negative. And then the third area, the practice area to, to practice things like, you know, learning skills that help regulate emotions. Like, Hey, why don’t you sit down and take a few deep breaths? Or, you know, what, as I’m, I’m, I’m observing you. It looks like you’re getting upset.
Maybe this would be a good time to practice taking a time out. And then we could come back and, and visit even just practicing being able to put words to their internal world. For some kids that’s, you know, going back to the ability piece is gonna be pretty easy. They’re gonna naturally be able to sit down and tell exactly what they’re feeling, why they’re feeling others. That’s gonna be an area where they’re gonna have to take a, a lot of time and practice to develop that. But the other kid, maybe they’re gonna have to, to know how to, to reign their emotions in. They can name them, they can articulate them, they can know why they’re there. But to be able to pause, slow down, take some deep breaths, and do the things to help move those from high intensity to low intensity, that’s where their practice needs to happen. Parenting on purpose as we help develop our kids’ emotional regulation.


Parenting on purpose in relationships.
How do we help our kids develop the skills related to having good deep relationships? In the abilities category, you might think of things like attunement. How, how good are they at being attuned to others when they walk in a room? Are they able to recognize that this person over here seems a little sad or maybe withdrawn and this person over here, they seem really excited and something’s going on really well. Like, that would be an ability to say, Hmm, some kids are gonna do that really well and naturally others are not. Compassion would be another example. Some, when they see somebody who’s sad, they’re naturally drawn to them and are gonna be very compassionate, whereas others, one, they may not recognize it, but even if they do recognize it, it’s just not gonna connect and it’s be like, Ooh, that’s something to avoid rather than to move towards.
These would be examples of just thinking about what are your children’s ability when it comes to relationships? Are they quick to move towards others? Do they tend to be more to themselves? Those, those sorts of things. In the area of instruction, you know, to think about Um, just giving them instruction on what it looks like to be a good friend. What would a, a good friend do in this situation? Or as they, you outline a situation or you’re reading something online to think about, oh, how do you think this would impact this person in this story or that person in that story to give them opportunity just to think and be curious again, to ask questions. What does that look like? To be a good friend, to be thoughtful about another, um, individual. And then I think in the practice area, and this would be a really good one to be thinking about, I think is in parenting, would be how do we help our kids practice the relational skills that are necessary to have relationships to, to, for a young kid to say, okay, when we go to grandma and grandpa’s house, I want you to go in and say hi. And I want you to ask them a question to give them an opportunity to practice asking questions, being curious about the other one, or, Hey, when, when grandma asks you this question, how will you respond? And coaching in that as they get older, Hey, you’ve gotten this text, how would you respond to that? Or, Hey, I just got this text from this person. What do you think I should say? Or what would that look like? Giving them that opportunity to practice in a safe environment, those social skills and communicating in some that are maybe pretty safe environments and others that are maybe more, more tricky to not just expect them to be able to figure out all of that on their own, but to think about those relational inner, uh, changes that you engage every day and invite them into that and encourage them to practice their own parenting on purpose in the area of relationships.

Spiritual Development:

Parenting on purpose in the area of spiritual development.
One of our greatest desires as parents would be to help our kids, um, grow in their spiritual development and understanding. So in the skills category to think about, um, understanding would be a good one to consider. What is it that they do understand? What is it that there maybe have a really clear picture of? And maybe other areas that, that aren’t quite as clear. What are some of the things that maybe they’ve, they’ve grabbed a hold of and now you’re ready to move into more complex, uh, concepts or situations, their ability to read. Are they able to, uh, look at something and read the written word really well and that’s what they  understand pretty well? Or is it something more visual? Is that how they primarily are a learner and thinking about those abilities? Then I think help us think, how do I come alongside them and then move into the second area of instruction. If our instruction can be geared towards their strengths, or if our instruction is kind of operating out of a place that we know is a weakness, that we would acknowledge that and either go slower or take things in smaller chunks. And that instruction that might be things like, uh, a, a picture of God, some of the, the attributes that you feel like would be core to how that you would want them to see God. And starting with those like God is love or God is kind, God is faithful,
that you maybe would start to there and then you build on those and, and then you bring in concepts of, you know, God is just, and and he is righteous and holy. And, and how all those things start to, to fit together. Other instruction pieces would maybe be things like just God’s the, the one who defines what is right and wrong and what are his instruction in those areas to think about how we want to instruct them and, and what would be the right instruction at the right time based on their ability and maturity. And then third, would move into that practice. How do we give them opportunity to both practice spiritual disciplines but also just practice developing, um, you know, their spiritual understanding, whether that’s through, uh, giving them opportunity to, to practice prayer or even just to make sure they’re hearing you pray out loud or for them to participate in, you know, the family devotion. Maybe even be able to lead family devotion for it to maybe move from, you know, mom and dad are leading or dad’s leading those things to, okay, how about you do that on your own time? What that individual, um, quiet time look like? And, and for them to start to develop that. I think those would be things to be thinking about as we think about helping our kids in the area of spiritual development. And, and every child being different is gonna have strengths and weaknesses and, and recognizing that I think can help us move into this area and,  and parent on purpose in the area of spiritual development.


Well, welcome back.
I’d like to talk to you a little bit about parenting on purpose, uh, in the area of, of self-esteem when it comes to self-esteem.
It’s a little bit of a tricky topic, especially as we think about it through, um, a Christian worldview.
What, what is self-esteem and should it be something we promoting in our kids or not? I really appreciate Romans 12:3, where it talks about the reality that we don’t wanna think too highly of ourselves, but also we want to acknowledge that God is, has gifted us. He’s, he’s given us gifts
and skills according to his grace In the area of ability, I think it’s wise to think about our children’s personality and even how, how easily things come for them, or difficult. If, if it’s a child that has a personality that’s really prone towards seeing how great they are or their gifts and talents is, then we might have to work on that part that says, okay, but let’s not think too highly of ourselves.
If it’s a child that, that has a personality that just is really prone to focusing on what they don’t do well or really struggling with, with failure and, and difficulty, then we might want to be able to speak into what’s God’s gifted them or other children.
They’re gonna just, things are gonna come very naturally for them and easily, and, and in that we want to help them celebrate those things.
But also, you know, when we move into the instruction piece, make sure that we don’t tie their identity, their worth and value into their success, because failure is gonna be important.
Uh, likewise the child that that really struggles in almost every area
and everything just seems so hard, how do we help encourage them and help them celebrate the small things and that that might be harder for them or even harder for us to find those areas.
But that’s gonna be key as we think about this balance of saying, God has put good things within you, and we wanna see those things and celebrate those things, but also we don’t want to think too highly of ourself.
I think sometimes when we think of self-esteem, the focus is on, man, how do I make sure that my child thinks really highly of themselves?
Like we wouldn’t use that language, but that’s what it turns into accidentally.
What, what we’re learning over time is that when we move into that approach, it tends to lead to comparison.
And comparison is always, it goes well if you’re comparing yourself to those that, that aren’t as gifted, it doesn’t go as well when you compare yourself with those that are really gifted. And so therefore, it’s always this constant battle and actually turns into how do I measure up?
That always then leads into, um, really a poor view of self. So I think that would be important to think about in the instruction category.
And then in the practice, I think to find ways to, to be able to reflect on, on events or things that they’ve done.
Hey, what went well? What maybe didn’t go well? What, what, um, could you improve on? What, what did you really, uh, excel in here? And just having that dialogue, giving them opportunity to practice, acknowledging gifts, recognizing weaknesses, and seeing that as part of the journey to grow up in a way that helps them view themselves in light of Romans 12:3, self-esteem is tricky.
Uh, and it is worthy of us being thoughtful about how to step into this space and help our children navigate it well.
We want them to be able to think rightly about themselves, to have a correct view of their strengths and weaknesses, and just invite you into that space, helping them develop biblical self-esteem.


Parenting on purpose in the area of sexuality.
Parents, I know that, that talking to our kids about sex or on the topic of sexuality can be really intimidating and, and stir up some nerves.
But I think it’s, it’s, it’s a topic that’s worth focusing on and parenting on purpose with. As we think about the abilities category, I think it’s, it can be helpful to think of our kids.
What is their maturity level? What is their, their age and their ability to, to process language and handle information. Another area they think can be helpful is just their context. What, what’s the going on around them? What are they gonna see and observe just in daily life that’s gonna give rise to questions or just information. If we know about that, then that’s gonna help us think, oh boy, that’s something I need to speak into.
Curiosity as well would be one of those abilities I think to think about.
Some kids are gonna be very naturally curious and therefore we’re gonna have to think about sharing information probably earlier versus those that, that aren’t quite as curious. As we move into the, the instruction category, I would just encourage you to move into the teaching and asking questions and inviting question. Open that door today. You have information that will be helpful for them, that you have information that they need, and letting them know that, that you’re available and that you’re willing and that you’re even gonna share that information can be, uh, quite helpful with them. Let me even be just a little bit more specific on, on what you might share that would be age appropriate for different kids.
So, so at a young age, we’re probably gonna be focused on talking to them about body parts and private parts and what are those parts for and, and why are they private. And then as you move forward, as you, they get older, you might be moving into this space of talking to them about gender, godly masculinity, or femininity, what does that look like?
And how to live that out even when maybe some of the interest is or desires, uh, fall outside of, of the norm. Those would be things to move into instruction with.
And as they continue to get older and they develop and now they’re experiencing sexual urges or desires, like how do we help them manage those things or think about them or even to, to be aware of the desires that come up or the thoughts that come up.
How do we, how do we think about the opposite sex or those that we’re attracted to and what would, what would godly thinking and action look like and how do those work together?
What does it look like when we feel like we’ve done something or we know that we’ve done something that’s outside of what God says is right? What does repentance look like and who can we come to and how are we gonna respond to give instruction in that, in the practice for us to think about if, if our child has a difficulty with, with self-discipline, that that’s gonna show up in this area of sexuality. And, and sometimes we can practice that. What does that look like to manage the urges and desires,
but also that we can practice self-discipline in other areas that whether that’s that’s food or getting up at a certain time or, or, um, those sorts of things that we’re giving them a model of like, Hey, we can exercise this muscle of self-discipline in lots of different areas.
It’s not just in this area. So what does it look like to grow in that? If that’s maybe, um, a challenge. Another thing that you might think about
as a parent is just putting scenarios on the table. Like, what would you do if, if this text is sent to you or you see this picture or you get this request? I think that can be a really helpful way to practice getting them to think about how they would respond, um, and, and giving them a safe place to practice that can be very beneficial for them. Sexuality is certainly one of those places that can be difficult to step into, and I would just encourage you to, to parent on purpose in the area of sexuality.