The 7 Hills Every Parent Should Die On.

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

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It's easy to lose sight of the most important things when it comes to parenting. I don't know if you can identify or not, but the busier I become, the harder it is for me to keep the critical parts of parenting in front of me. Especially in a world that's moving at the speed of light!

Over the last year, I’ve become keenly aware of my parenting role. Particularly in the area of commitment. “Commitment?” you ask. “Why commitment? Are you not very committed?” Not exactly. Allow me to explain…

I’m not talking about commitment as it relates to showing up to their activities, spending quality time with them, or my involvement in their lives. I don’t really struggle with those things. Honestly, I’m pretty driven to always be involved and always show up. The commitment I’m referring to is a commitment to principles. Unchanging values that never leave our sight and will not be compromised for anything. I call them, the 7 hills every parent should die on. You. Me. All of us who have children!

Why a hill? Well, it’s simple- A cause you believe in should be a hill you will die on! Just like the soldiers in WWII ascended jagged cliffs and overtook the German forces in Normandy because they believed in a cause, we must ascend some jagged cliffs in the battle for our children’s hearts. Raising them with values and integrity is a cause to believe in.

In 12 years of parenting, I’ve blown this big time. Trust me! But, here’s what I’ve discovered: I achieve positive traction in my parenting, and in my life, when I apply these 7 principles:

1. The hill of influence.

There is no greater voice of influence in a child’s life than his or her parent. Did you know that? This means that you and I possess the greatest amount of influence spiritually, emotionally, and socially for our children. It may be hard to see (because it appears like your child listens to nothing you say) but it’s true. They are watching us, studying us, and taking life cues from us. It’s a heavy responsibility.

2. The hill of boundaries.

If you and I want to successfully guide our children to become productive, responsible adults, we must live (and parent) by boundaries. These are healthy guidelines and rules that we set up to ensure the health and well-being of our kids. [For a great resources on setting boundaries with children click here.]

3. The hill of discipline.

Following suit with boundaries is the hill of discipline. The bottom line is this: when the boundaries you and I set up for our children are crossed (and they will be crossed), discipline is crucial! Discipline redirects and charts new courses. When applied correctly, it can be a powerful tool in bringing necessary change to our children.

4. The hill of example.

The greatest lie we could deliver to our children is, “Do as I say, not as I do.” I really can’t believe anyone says this anymore but they do. I just heard a father say it to his son the other day. The truth is, we are the greatest example our children will ever see. They will follow our example. If we live by character and integrity they will too. If we choose not to, they will too. It’s that simple.

5. The hill of financial responsibility.

Our children will learn how to handle money by watching the ways we handle money. If we are financially irresponsible, they will be financially irresponsible. You can count on it! On the contrary, if we handle money responsibly they will too! And by making this a hill you die on, you are guaranteeing they won’t return home from college to live in your basement! 🙂

6. The hill of generosity.

Our children study us closer than we think. They watch the way we treat the world around us. And they carefully examine, and tuck away in their hearts, how giving we are to those in need.

7. The hill of unconditional love.

The greatest gift we can give to our children is love. Loving them unconditionally for who they are, short-comings and all, but also teaching them to love others. To instill a heart in our children that loves all people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or creed will make this world a better place to live. I believe future generations will be impacted, even changed, through the love of our children and how they choose to live this out.

What are some other parenting hills you die on?

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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.