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For Adults Only: A Parent's Personal Checklist

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Review a self-evaluation checklist of offenses that parents typically commit against their children.

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Are you interested in a tool that would help you mend a broken relationship with your child, or perhaps heal a wounded son or daughter? In this article Dr. Dunlap urges parents who find it hard to identify specific ways that they offend their children to read through this list carefully prayerfully.

Listed below are some of the offenses that parents typically commit against their children. As you read through this list you may wish to check any of these offenses that apply to you.

___ 1. I have imposed discipline that I later wished that I had not imposed.

___ 2. I have “called my child names” in an attempt to correct him or her.

___ 3. I do not always encourage my child to be all that he or she can be.

___ 4. I am often inattentive to my child when he or she is speaking to me.

___ 5. When I instruct my child I sometimes imply that he or she is dumb for not already having this piece of knowledge.

___ 6. I do not attempt to understand the reasons why my child gets angry.

___ 7. I fail to instruct my child when he or she has been disobedient.

___ 8. I do not allow my child to make an increasing number of decisions.

___ 9. I have used nagging to coerce my child to do things.

___ 10. I do not allow my child to feel the consequences of his or her infractions.

___ 11. I have belittled my child to other people (brothers, sisters, family members, friends, etc.)

___ 12. I do not allow my child to enter into adult conversations.

___ 13. It is hard for me to accept and respect the differences in temperament and personality traits of my children.

___ 14. I have punished my child in anger.

___ 15. I have disciplined my child inconsistently.

___ 16. I rarely ask my child for forgiveness.

___ 17. I do not encourage my child when he or she is disappointed or discouraged.

___ 18. I speak negatively about my child’s friends.

___ 19. I have used sarcasm as a means of discipline.

___ 20. I have not required my child to make restitution when it has been appropriate for him or her to do so.

___ 21. I have spanked my child in front of other people (siblings, friends, other family members, etc.)

___ 22. I do not help my child appreciate his or her unique abilities.

___ 23. I do not show the same courtesy to my child that I do to others.

___ 24. I have threatened but failed to perform certain discipline.

___ 25. I frequently overreact to my child or to situations.

___ 26. I sometimes feel out of control when I spank my child.

___ 27. I have lost my temper in front of my child.

___ 28. I often do not encourage and support my child’s personal interests.

___ 29. Yelling and screaming is part of my method for controlling or disciplining my child.

___ 30. I have withdrawn my affection from my child after disciplining him or her.

___ 31. I usually do not praise my child when he or she elects not to repeat a bad behavior after having had the opportunity to do so.

___ 32. I fail to pay my child frequent compliments.

___ 33. I have held a grudge against my child.

___ 34. Sometimes the tone of my voice says, “Go away. I don’t want to be bothered.”

___ 35. There may be some question in my child’s mind as to who the leader is in our home.

___ 36. In our home, solving problems usually includes a lot of emotionalism.

___ 37. I do not usually hear or accept my child’s ideas and suggestions for problem solving.

___ 38. I do not usually allow my child to “have his or her own opinions.”

___ 39. I sometimes play favorites with my children.

___ 40. Sometimes I do not give my child the attention that he or she needs.

___ 41. There are times when my child may feel less important than other people in our home.

___ 42. At times I have used intimidation as disciplinary means.

___ 43. My child has not learned to pray by listening to my prayers.

___ 44. I have been inconsistent in reading Christian literature aloud to my child.

___ 45. My child has witnessed my inconsistency in my personal devotional time.

___ 46. We do not frequently use the Bible to make decisions in our family.

___ 47. Except for mealtimes, we do not usually pray together as a family.

___ 48. We do not have regular family devotions.

___ 49. My child has not seen me regularly witness to lost people.

___ 50. We do not memorize scripture together as a family.

___ 51. I have not consistently taught my child the biblical principles for living an obedient Christian life.

___ 52. I do not have a good understanding of how my child’s needs change as he grows up.

___ 53. I do not know the names of my child’s friends.

___ 54. I rarely have time to play games with my child.

___ 55. I do not spend time individually with each of my children, doing things that they enjoy.

___ 56. I do not look my child in the eye when I talk to him or her.

___ 57. I do not express appropriate physical affection for my child by hugging and touching him or her.

___ 58. I do not tell my child that he or she is special to me.

___ 59. I do not point out positive character qualities that I see in my child.

___ 60. I often vary my approach in how I deal with my child.

___ 61. My child, oftentimes, does not know what to expect from me.

___ 62. I usually do not sacrifice personal time in order to be with my child.

___ 63. I am not as involved as I should be with the discipline of my child.

___ 64. My child does not see me making an effort to keep the romance alive in my marriage.

___ 65. My child does not see me making an effort to maintain a good relationship with my spouse.

___ 66. I have been guilty of hitting my child when I was angry.

___ 67. I do not take an active role in my child’s education.

___ 68. I do not touch or hug my child every day.

___ 69. I do not tell my child on a consistent basis that I am proud of him or her.

___ 70. I have not been a good role model for my child.

___ 71. I have not consistently modeled the kind of behavior that I want my child to imitate.

___ 72. I do not respond calmly when my child says hurtful things.

___ 73. I have not taught my child how to respond if he or she disagrees with me.

___ 74. I do not make an effort to improve my parenting skills, by attending classes, reading books, etc.

___ 75. I have bribed my child with a reward for good behavior, such as, “If you behave we will go to McDonalds.

Check any number below that you think your child would check.

___ 76. I feel that my relationship with my parents is hopeless.

___ 77. I don’t settle disagreements with my parents quickly enough.

___ 78. I’m afraid to “get involved” in a close relationship with my parents.

___ 79. I’m afraid to let my parents know who I really am.

___ 80. My past mistakes have damaged my relationship with my parents.

___ 81. I feel like I’m my parents’ slave.

___ 82. I’m afraid my parents will abandon me.

___ 83. I do not feel accepted or understood by my parents.

___ 84. I sense a “distance” in my relationship with my parents.

___ 85. I do not communicate with my parents.

___ 86. I do not feel that my parents are “on my side.”


Now go back and write out each offense expanding specifically on each one. Then, sit down with your child and ask them to forgive you for every offense. This is one of the most important projects to restoring and strengthening a parent-child relationship. Give it your best effort. They will be able to sense any insincerity.


As parents read through these items they should keep in mind that the purpose of this list is to begin the process of repentance, reconciliation and restoration.



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