A Parent’s Top Priority.

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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A couple of years ago, my son got busted! I mean, REALLY busted. 'Bigger than life' busted. But the most important thing about that day was the lesson on priorities that we learned as parents.

That was quite a night in our household. Our son was in so much trouble for the choice he made that his dinner had to be taken to him in his bedroom. Yeah, it was that bad! Bad enough for me to remember minuet details like that.

Here’s the worst part- we were less than an hour away from the start of his baseball game and, at the time, I served as one of the coaches.

I remember talking this over with my wife. As the two of us surveyed the ‘damage,’ we realized there was no way he could go to his baseball game. That would have been too much of a reward, we decided. He had to learn a lesson. This type of behavior would not be tolerated.

That night our other children had activities going on, so I stayed home with him while my wife took the others out. I was embarrassed as I called the head coach to let him know we weren’t coming. After I hung up the phone I stewed. Then I fumed. Then I paced. And then I sat in my backyard and fumed some more.

I was angry, embarrassed, and appalled that I had to bail on coaching- a commitment that I made. If you know me, then you would know that I do not bail on commitments. Frankly, I was upset that my son’s terrible choice made me look bad to the other coaches and players.

The more time I spent mulling all of this over, the more frustrated I became. And then, a subtle voice gently spoke to my mind and heart: “Mike, you’re a parent first. You’re an ‘everything else’ second.”

My first responsibility was to be a parent. That’s the agreement I signed when I decided to become one (I don’t actually remember signing anything or agreeing to any terms, but my wife assures me all the time that I did! :))

It no longer mattered that I was one of the coaches. That had to take a backseat now. My son needed a consequence and my new job, on that lovely spring evening, was to enforce the determined consequence. The opinions of others no longer mattered. Whether or not anyone would understand that my son had made a bad choice and now my evening plans were altered was irrelevant.

Their thoughts or perceptions meant nothing. I realized that afternoon that my top priority was to be a parent first. Everything else, had to be second. That’s what we signed up for. Your children, my children, whether they screw up or are in need, take top priority. Even on the good days, when life is calm and peaceful, they should take top priority.

There are exceptions to this. I am not saying that you should let your children dominate your life and dictate what you will or will not do simply by having poor behavior. There are times when you and I, as adults, have to carry on as planned, in spite of their tantrum.

Sometimes the healthiest consequence for your child is to have to sit in timeout and watch everyone else enjoy themselves. But your priority, and mine, as a parent supersedes every other responsibility we have. And that may come down to stepping away from other commitments or plans we’ve made to sit in our house while our child stares at the walls of his or her room.

This takes sacrifice. Sometimes, lots of it. It’s not easy. It’s parenting. And it comes first!

Have you struggled with this? Share your story or comment and join the conversation.

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.