4 Important Ways to be Attentive to Your Family

christian family stewardship stewardship of family Jun 18, 2023
4 Important Ways to be Attentive to Your Family

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”

– Psalm 103:13


We live in a culture of constant distraction. As parents, it can be a true struggle to be attentive to our children when they want or need our attention. And yet it is critical that we master the art of self-control and - in many cases - self-denial so that we can actively shepherd our children through life’s ups and downs. When a child knows that their father and mother are approachable and interested in his ideas and concerns, he is much more likely to see them as a safe place in which to confide. This is our heart’s desire: that our children know they can come to us with anything at any time. We want to be available and encouraging, and we want them to turn to us as their preferred confidants rather than to their friends.

Before we began our homeschooling journey, Cole came home from school with a bad grade on a science test. Rather than hide it from us, he showed us his paper and said that he didn’t think he was very good at science. We listened to how he felt and then pointed out the many strengths that God has given him. We explained that the test was not reflective of his personality or character. It wasn’t even a true evaluation of his abilities, just a test that had been tough. We reminded him that he was a beloved child of God no matter his grades. 

I’m so grateful that Cole felt comfortable coming to us with his struggle. It wasn’t really a big deal to us, but it certainly was to him. Because he knew that Dad and Mom were on his team, he knew he could come to us even if he was embarrassed. He didn’t internalize his feelings but shared them. In response, we were able to build up our son when he needed encouragement. It’s vital that our children learn to trust us this way when they’re young. Open elementary schoolers are much more likely to be open middle and high schoolers when they’ve had positive experiences confiding in their parents.


Spiritual Attentiveness

There’s a well-known adage that proclaims, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” This is remarkably as true in the spiritual realm as it is in the physical. Children look to their parents as the model for their own spiritual lives. If those lives are non-existent, it will be impossible for parents to properly recognize spiritual angst and minister to their children in the ways they need.

We are stewards of these precious blessings, which means that our first job when they are struggling is to recognize the issue and point them to Christ and His word. The Bible equips us for all things in life and godliness, including the ability to give attentive counsel to our children. When kids know that their parents are approachable and also see them being active Christians (in deed, not just in word), it is much more natural for them to come to them for advice and perspective on spiritual issues.

Keep in mind, it’s okay if you don’t always know the answers to their questions. Admit your own limits and promise to pray for wisdom as you search for the answer. Better yet, a parent can invite their child to search the scriptures or talk with a pastor and pray alongside them. Growing deeper roots of faith alongside your children is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. You will also set an excellent example of searching out truths and pointing them to reliable sources.

It is vital that children see their parents as their primary spiritual guardians, rather than their peers. When Dad and Mom actively cultivate a home of openness, approachability, and attentiveness, kids are much more likely to want to come to them with questions and problems. Rather than searching for help beyond the bounds of family, they see their home as the safe haven God intends.


Physical Attentiveness

Children have an abundance of physical needs. The basics are easy: food, clothing, and shelter. But children also need more abstract physical connections like undivided attention, verbal affirmation, and time. Furthermore, each child is different. Two kids may need your attention for a similar issue, but this doesn’t mean that they need the exact same thing from you. This is where knowing our children and noticing their personalities and tendencies come into play.

We like to make a practice of having one-on-one time with each of our kids on a regular basis. We spend a lot of time together as a family as well, but being with a child individually allows them to open up and speak about things they might not readily think of in mixed company. Spending personal time with kids also sends several important messages: That they are valued, important, and interesting to their parents. 

It is also a sweet opportunity to show unconditional love. When we have one-on-one time with one of our children, we can demonstrate through word and deed how to live a life that reflects our faith and values. In this way, we are able to simultaneously care for our child’s spiritual needs alongside the physical. We can share what we’re reading in our Bibles, and what we’re praying about, and encourage our children in their own devotions. Many parents assume that their kids will pick up on faith by osmosis, but this is not what Scripture tells us. On the contrary, the Bible warns of generations of God’s people who did not teach their children the ways of the Lord and the chaos that resulted. Passing on our faith requires faithfulness, and faithfulness doesn’t happen by accident. Instead, we are instructed to teach our children daily.


Mental Attentiveness

People are relational creatures (some more than others). Meaningful and deep conversations build trust when parents take the time to actively listen, respond, and encourage their children. These talks are hard to navigate if you’re distracted by a screen, so it’s important that phones and TVs are off when these moments present themselves.

When our children speak with us, we try to prioritize eye contact and focus. I sometimes hold both of Lily’s hands when I look her in the eyes and speak with her because I want her full attention. When she has something to say to me, I will often get down to her level to show that I’m listening and that I know what she has to say is important.


Emotional Attentiveness

When something is troubling one of our children emotionally, we want our kids to come to us with their problems rather than their peers. We strive to show empathy as we listen to what they have to say, celebrating their successes and sharing in their sorrows. There may come a time when the outside help of a pastor or biblical counselor is necessary, and we want to be able to provide them with those resources if they’re needed as well.



It is important for children to know that their parents are there for them spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. We want them to have a desire to share exciting events and challenges with us. We pray that they always know our love is unconditional and that they can always talk to God in prayer. Ultimately, we are modeling God’s love for them and helping them know through our imperfections that He is their perfect Father.


Key Points

  • It’s important for children to know their parents are always available to them, in all situations, throughout their lives.
  • Parents should be attentive to their children and show them repeatedly over a long period of time that they are always there for them. This helps children rely on and expect their parents’ availability and approachability.
  • As parents, Christians model God’s love for their children and show how He is always attentive and available to them.

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