One reader really hit the nail on the head about how we all feel recently with this question.
“I feel like how I am parenting is wishy-washy. How can I be consistent? How do I know what is right?”
Certainly, I still feel this way. Just about the time we think we’ve figured it out, along comes another child who is totally different from the others. Plus, each new age brings new challenges. The rules keep changing!
I remember standing over my toddler with my hands on my hips. She looked back at me with her hands on her hips, too! I am the parent, I told myself firmly. In desperation, I explained that I would make the final decision. But, if I was wrong, Jesus would judge everything at the end.
“Okay, Mommy,” she responded.
Really? That worked? I thought. Parents can make life easier on ourselves and our kids with five quick tips.
#1 Make a decision. Sometimes we pray, ponder, and make a decision, even if decision-making feels uncomfortable.
#2 Confess what we don’t know. Our kids instinctively recognize waffling. We might as well own our doubts. Making mistakes is okay as long as we circle back to correct anything that involves our own attitude.
#3 Seek good advice. All around us wise folks have been parenting a long time. They know stuff. We get to ask good questions until we gain enough perspective to comfortably tackle our family’s challenges.
#4 Be ready to stand alone. Some of the best decisions Dave and I made with our parenting went against the grain of all the folks around us. God does inspire parents to understand their own children in a significantly spiritual way. The biggest mistake parents can make is failing to seek the advice of the One who designed your specific child.
#5 Read the Proverb of the day. My favorite tip. Yep, as if planned that way, the book in the Bible containing Solomon’s wisdom has exactly 31 chapters. Coincidence? No way. For parents, it’s the quickest way to get a foundational mindset of understanding core values.
I NEVER heard a parent say parenting was easy. We gain confidence by knowing what is true and doing what is hard. You have already tackled the hard part of gaining confidence, by choosing to parent. Knowing what is true is as easy as studying the scriptures to know what the Designer of your children says about kiddos. He says plenty, believe me! Most of all, God wants you to know that you, His beloved child, are dear to His Father’s heart.
Finally, let me offer a word of encouragement. Kids are a lot more resilient than we think. Our commitment to keep trying conveys our love to them.
Cathy Primer Krafve, aka Checklist Charlie, lives and writes with a Texas twang. Comments are invited at cathykrafve.com.