Let’s face it, parenting is not for the faint of heart. In the early seasons of parenthood, the primary struggles are in understanding what your child needs. They can’t communicate, except through crying, so we go through a common checklist to determine how to calm them: clean diaper – check, food – check, eliminate gas – check, adequate sleep – check. You go through this checklist many times in just one day. As our children grow, they begin to be able to communicate and with this comes new complications. They learn the word “no!” They develop minds and wills of their own, and now we encounter new problems. Our checklist no longer works! What do you do when parenting becomes challenging?
At this point, parenting requires some new skills. Most of you have stumbled into parenting patterns that seem to be working. Maybe they are the same things your parents used on you! Yes, the words of your own parents are now coming from your mouth! For better or worse, you are now modeling what your parents taught you. And that’s how this parenting cycle works…until you encounter something you never expected…until the familiar is no longer working for your child…until you are exasperated, and nothing seems to be getting through to your child. What do you do then?!
When the Top 10 List Doesn’t Work
Most of us seek help by asking around to see if others have encountered what we are experiencing. Maybe a few friends can offer advice. A local mom’s group might be the answer. Perhaps there is a new book on the market that promises instant results. We may even troll the internet at two in the morning to find a Top 10 List that ensures a miraculous transformation. For some of our parenting challenges, these things are useful. I’m glad they’ve worked. But what happens when they don’t? What happens when you’ve exhausted your search, nothing has changed no matter what you’ve tried? This can be a very lonely and isolated place. It’s in these times that you begin to question yourself…and sometimes God. Where can you turn when the Top 10 List doesn’t work?
A Good Prayer Warrior
Over the years, I have met with many moms who have found themselves at this very point. My heart always goes out to these mothers. I have no quick fixes or easy pat answers. About all I can offer is a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on and my heartfelt prayers. Most of the time these moms are doing all the right things. Some even meet with a mentor to be a sounding board and pray with her regularly. Assembling a team of support people who care about you and your family is a very powerful weapon for the parenting years. It’s priceless to have people who are so committed to you and your family that they are willing to be awakened at two in the morning by the prompting of the Holy Spirit to pray for you and your children. That beats a Top 10 List every time!
God is on Your Team, Too!
I’ve been on a few of those teams and recently joined another one. This time, I was prompted to do some online searching for resources that might help. I was savvy enough to know that a Top 10 List would not have the answers,. Perhaps a little research would help me find something new. I finally came across an intriguing title, Parenting First Aid: Hope for the Discouraged. There were no parenting tips and tricks in this book. That’s a good thing, most of the time those don’t work for the long haul anyway. What I found in the pages of this book was the kind of encouragement that every parent will need at some point in their parenting journey. It’s the reminder that God is on their parenting team and He wants your children to come back to Him, just as much as you do!
First Aid from God’s Word!
The author of Parenting First Aid shares of his own parenting struggles. Credibility comes from being in the trenches! This book is a great reminder that we have someone else on our team who cares infinitely more for our children than even we do! You guessed it, it’s God. God is working in the lives of our children and He is working in us! The book provides daily devotions that step you through some familiar scriptures. When applied to parenting struggles, they encourage us to keep going, to run the parenting marathon, and persistently pray for and be available to our children, no matter how wayward. Each days’ insights will better prepare you for what you’re going to face. A separate study guide is designed to help you include others on your parenting journey. What an easy on-board to build your parenting team!
Hope for Any Stage of Parenting
Whether your children are toddlers, elementary age, pre-teens or adults, this book is an excellent resource to help on your parenting journey. I highly recommend it for you! It has certainly challenged me to be a more intentional prayer warrior and to view the trails in life from a different perspective, one where God is at the center. Most importantly it has reminded me that I’m not in this alone!
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