In his book, "Four Things Every Parent Should Know," John Croyle reviews four basic things that contribute to successful parenting.
1. Love them unconditionally
Children need to know that parents will "come and get them" no matter where they end up (jail, drunk, pregnant, etc.). This doesn't mean being happy about it or condoning it, but kids need the security of knowing that parents' love is bigger than their failure.
2. Believe in them
Your children need to understand that your confidence in them is sometimes stronger than their confidence in themselves. They cannot learn about believing in their possibilities if parents don't first believe.
3. Discipline them
Parents sometimes neglect discipline out of fear of losing the love of the child. Actually, children need and want discipline that's fair, consistent and applied in love. Solomon says that one who fails to discipline this child hates him. (Proverbs 13:24)
4. Keep working on them
The temptation is to continue housing them but secretly give up trying to parent – especially when they reach the rebellious stage of adolescence. The true measure of our love, however, is the refusal to give up even when everything they do seems to indicate that they want you to do just that.
It is at this time that God's love is clearly revealed through parents, as Paul said, "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Successful parenting doesn't always produce successful children but it does provide the roadmap for a successful life for those children who choose to follow it.