Children have a sixth sense for hypocrisy. Adults do too.

There’s Hypocrisy (with a capital H) that rightly ruins credibility. This is avoided by a lifetime of disciplined integrity.

But then there’s hypocrisy (with a lower-case h) that is unavoidable–because no one (except Jesus Christ) perfectly practices what they preach.

So if someone wants to find fault–if they want to notice and expose your inconsistencies, your subtle (sometimes not-so-subtle) double standards–they can and will.

The most consistent parenting advice I hear for situations where you fail to live up to your own expectations is to repent. Own it. No point in tearing down your ideals–that’s no good. Better to admit the failure and seek forgiveness.

Because if I bend the rule, or rationalize, or blame-shift, or pull rank I teach my child that that is acceptable behavior. And I begin morphing small h hypocrisy into capital H Hypocrisy.

And as a Christian parent–I preach the Gospel to my kids when I maintain the truth of the high standard, repent when I fail to attain it–and continue to point to the One who never fails to attain it on our behalf.