A parent was asked, “What’s parenting like?”. Here is the reply, “You know all the side effects they list on prescription drug commercials? It’s like that”. Here’s a quip from another parent, “Before becoming a parent, I didn’t know I could ruin someone’s life just by asking them to put pants on!” In a nutshell, parenting is a tough gig. Ask the ones who actually have kids, not those who hypothetically raise non-existent kids! Many parents are stretched, some to breaking point. Feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and guilt are rife.
In truth parents, you are probably doing a better job than you think. Don’t compare yourself with other parents. You are unique as is your family. Decide on your approach even as it evolves through trial and error. However, this is not to be confused with seeking counsel from other parents, particularly the more experienced ones. You will also need to adapt your approach factoring in the different personalities of your children. Growing up, Stephen and Melissa were more compliant, whereas Matthew was willful. We had to adjust our parenting style accordingly.
Parenting is a huge responsibility and privilege. It is part of Jesus’ mandate to make disciples! Let me commend four excellent goals of parenting from Nicky and Sila Lee’s book, ‘The Parenting Book’:
1. The family provides support
· ‘Our children need to know that whatever happens…their family values them, accepts them for who they are and misses them when they are not there and forgives them…when they mess up’.
2. The family provides fun
· Every family needs happy and fun moments to thrive.
3. The family provides a moral compass
· A family is where children are taught principles and values for living well that glorify God such as integrity, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, self-control and being responsible.
4. The family provides a model for relating to others
· A family is the first setting in which socialisation takes place where they learn to love and respect others, including those in authority.
In all of this though, include God in your parenting. He is not silent on this important subject! Whatever models of parenting you subscribe to (and there is a staggering array of them) seek His counsel in prayer and in His word which contains time-tested wisdom and insights.
To fruitful parenting,