I had never loved like that before. I had nephews that I adored but I hadn’t experienced the emotion that would ignite when I looked into the eyes of my own little boys. I also hadn’t anticipated the weight of responsibility that I would also feel for these little lives. Would I do a good job? Would I teach them well? Would I be able to train them up to become kindhearted, confident adults? Or would I fail?
I am certain that every parent questions themselves as they ebb and flow through the different seasons of parenting. Some seasons are rich with laughter and fruitfulness while some seasons are full of discipline and challenge. It’s in those challenging seasons that we can question our parenting ability. It’s in those seasons that we can feel inadequate; I remember those times. I wish I had been given these four words of wisdom as I navigated the emotions I experienced in those moments:
It’s not personal
When my little boys would express disrespect, ungratefulness, and used hurtful comments~ it wasn’t personal, even though it hurt my feelings. They were misbehaving, for sure, but as children they’re actions were a reflection of their frustrations, emotions, and immaturity rather the deep heartfelt considerations of me. If I would have truly known that truth I would have spent less time responding to their behavior out of my hurt.
Even if you use all the best parenting models your child will misbehave
Back when I was a young mother there weren’t as many “how to parent” books that there are now, today there are hundreds of books telling parent how to be an incredible parent; it can be overwhelming! Nevertheless, would read anything I could about how to parent boys. I was happy to implement the tools I learned along the way with the great anticipation that they would be incredibly fruitful and make for happy parenting. Even with the best intentions there would be seasons where I felt I wasn’t making any headway; failing at the plan. What I know today is that kids simply go through times when they just want to test the boundaries and it simply wasn’t a reflection on how well I was doing. Behavioral challenges don’t necessarily reflect your parenting “know how”.
Use the “village ”around you
When I was in a challenging parenting season I would isolate. I didn’t want to burden anyone, and I found myself embarrassed by the fact that I was feeling like a failure at the time so I didn’t want to invite anyone else into the conversation. The problem with this was that I really needed to utilize the wisdom from someone older, the encouragement from another mama, and fresh voices that could speak into my child’s life during that time. What you’ll learn is that every parent has faced challenges in parenting; you are not alone.
Celebrate the wins
When I experienced a hard season with my little ones I would find myself discouraged, so discouraged that I focused fully the difficulty; it’s all I could see. I had a wonderful mentor who encouraged me to keep a journal where I was to list 3 things my boys did right every day. I was shocked as how this simple task could change what I was looking for in their behavior, I discovered so many interesting and inspiring choices they were making that I simply may have missed. Celebrate those wins; it may very well change the way you respond to your child.
Dr. Dobson wrote a book called “Parenting isn’t For Cowards” and that is true, isn’t it? Yet, the rich love your pour into your little ones, the stories you tell, the topics you teach them, the experiences you give them, and your faithful care for them will bear rich fruit in the days ahead.
If you lead with love you are never a failure, chin up!