Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

Peaceful Parenting (No Thanks to Pinterest)

on May 17, 2013

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I’ll be honest, we’ve been experiencing some parenting problems in our home recently.  With four children, it’s bound to happen from time to time!  Our middle child is struggling socially at school since we moved last summer and has requested to home school this fall.  While I’m willing and capable of teaching him at home, we want to be certain it is the best solution for him.  We don’t want a temporary social issue to become a lifelong problem for him, so we are somewhat hesitant to let him withdraw.  On the other hand, he is highly intelligent, so perhaps being able to work at a quicker pace would allow him to better blossom and gain self-confidence.  Either choice is accompanied by both positives and negatives.

At the same time, one of our preschoolers has been demonstrating some very disrespectful behavior by grunting or growling when I attempt to correct him.  It’s basically the same thing as saying, “NO, Mom!” Part of the problem is that I wasn’t expecting such stubbornness to surface at the age of four!  What happened to my sweet two-year-old?  The one who was going to make it easy for me by skipping the terrible two’s altogether?  His new attitude feels much like a surprise attack, and I’m left floundering for some sort of defense!

We’ve tried various methods of correction: a gentle verbal reproach, a second chance to respond respectfully, some time alone to think about his behavior, even a consequence.  Although we’ve been consistently correcting his behavior, I’m often tempted to wonder if it’s really doing any good.  Continuing in our efforts to parent with Christ in mind is difficult when we are not seeing results.  What am I doing wrong?  What should I do differently?  Sometimes when we’re parenting, there is no clear right or wrong answer.

And this is where I struggle.  When I lack enough evidence or direction to declare one parenting choice as superior to another for our children and our family, I often worry that I’ll make the “wrong choice.” I can become obsessed with gathering information from various sources in an attempt to make an informed decision. Unfortunately, when I turn to parenting resources (even Christian parenting resources), I often find that they can contradict each other in the details.

In our “how-to” age, we can access a hundred different opinions or even tried-and-true techniques about any given subject.  Do you know how many different methods Pintrest lists for something basic like potty-training?  Throw a pee-pee party.  Let them go at their own pace.  Model the behavior using a peeing doll. Use a reward chart. Let them run around naked for a few days.  I even found a pin for a potty-training app!  Which one should a desperate parent choose??

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As a mother of four children (all potty-trained now, whew!), I know that all of these methods have some merit, but not a single one will work well with every child, every time.  Thus, a potential problem with looking to others for help is the tendency to see that repeatedly re-pinned, how-to post as “gospel-truth.”

As I was thinking about social media and how it has changed the way we parent, I wondered: what happened to relying on the Spirit to guide us?  What happened to prayer?  Shouldn’t it be the first on our list of things to do when parenting challenges us? I’ll be the first to admit that when I encounter a problem or challenge, I often run to other humans for wisdom first!  It’s natural to ask our peers for advice.  However, consider King Solomon’s humble request, “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chron. 2:10).

You see, Solomon had some pretty big shoes to fill when taking over his father David’s kingdom.  How would you like to be next in line after the “man after God’s own heart?”  Solomon knew he lacked wisdom for leading. He also faced a huge project, the building of the temple! The temple would be a place of worship for generations to come, and the burden rested on Solomon’s shoulders.

Parenting is a little like that, isn’t it?  We know that the choices we make will affect not only our own children, but also our children’s children and even the generations to come.  Like Solomon’s task, our task is also great, for a whole world of lost people is at stake! The key is remembering who our children ultimately belong to.  Solomon recognized that He was given authority not over his OWN people, but over GOD’S people.  In the same way, as parents we’ve been entrusted with these beautiful beings, but they don’t really belong to us.  They belong to Him.  Like Solomon, we should ask Him for wisdom to lead them, His children.

Please hear me out; I’m not suggesting we exclude the advice of others. I really do enjoy Facebook, Pintrest, and other social media forums and have successfully used many ideas from other savvy moms (along with a few epic failures)! 🙂   I believe technology can be a wonderful tool for us sisters in Christ to share wisdom from the Lord. I firmly believe women are meant to teach and encourage one another in their Christ-centered living.  Titus and Timothy both address the blessings older, more experienced women have to offer to younger generations.  However, what I am suggesting is that we not forget the ultimate source of wisdom when it comes to parenting, or really anything in life – our Father God.

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In the midst of my parenting problems, I hear His voice.  Trust Me.  Ask ME for wisdom instead of asking others first. Be led by the Holy Spirit and by my WordAfter all, I am their Creator; who better to understand them and their needs, but me?  Persevere in your purposeful parenting and wait to see what happens.

I still don’t know how to best correct our four-year-old’s sudden defiance, nor do I know where our middle child will attend school this coming fall.  Both situations are works in progress. Perhaps what both require is simply more time.  However, I do know that in the midst of my uncertainty, I can trust Him.  He is in control. He knows my heart is in the right place.  He knows I want to be a peaceful parent, not one ruled by fear, or dare I even say, by Pintrest? 🙂

My sisters in Christ, if like me, you often feel confused by the wide variety of parenting styles, methods, and opinions out there, I hope today you hear His voice: trust in Me.  If you find yourself lying wide awake at night wondering, “What am I going to do with this child?!,” ask for wisdom.  And then sleep peacefully knowing that although your children have imperfect parents, they are perfectly protected in the hands of the Father.

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I’d love to hear from you, if you are willing to share!

What parenting issues are you struggling with lately?  What scriptures have you turned to for wisdom or  encouragement in parenting?

Jen 🙂

If pressure to be a perfect parent plagues you, you might enjoy:

107436d28e757e8b972839cfd80fcc8c

  You might also enjoy:

http://wegotreal.com/things-arent-always-as-they-seem/

Also linking up at:

http://abidingwoman.com/

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7 responses to “Peaceful Parenting (No Thanks to Pinterest)

  1. Helene says:

    Turning first and always to God with our parenting problems seems like obvious advice. The problem is at least for me I don’t do it!!! Thank you so much for the encouragement. It’s not what I don’t know that gets me in trouble, it’s what I don’t do.

    • Yes – It seems so obvious, but I’m sorry to admit that praying for wisdom is often a last resort for me. If only we could consistently put into practice all of that head knowledge. But then, I guess that’s what this journey of faith is all about! Thanks for visiting.
      Jen 🙂

  2. Tammy Eddingfield says:

    Jen,
    Enjoyed your posts. Thank you for sharing. Your pictures are beautiful as well.
    Tammy

  3. […] like you just aren’t doing things right, please take some time to read The Superwoman Myth or Peaceful Parenting, No Thanks to Pinterest.  Moms are so hard on themselves, and I definitely don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on […]

  4. Heather B says:

    Amen, Jen!! Fantastic reminder. Why do we so easily stray? Even the most devoted Christ-following Christians need one another for reminders.We are doing everything we can to give our son the foundation and understanding he needs to succeed in his faith. I’ve been reading a brand new book by Dr. Tony Evans. Part of his goal is to actually help the parent themselves to grow in confidence and discover your worth as a parent based on God’s Word. It’s called “Raising Kingdom Kids: Giving Your Child a Living Faith.” He says, “It’s far easier to SHAPE A CHILD than to REPAIR AN ADULT. Raising kids who recognize and retain their identity as children of the King launches healthy adults who have the capacity to stand strong in their faith.” Equipping and guiding our children starts with us, parents! This is the most solid, thorough, inspirational and affirming parent book I’ve ever read! I love it and HIGHLY recommend it for all parents!

    • I’m not familiar with that book, Heather, but it sounds great! We are getting ready to go through “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Ted Tripp right now and it sounds like it’s along the same lines. I’ll have to take a look at the book you mentioned next! Thanks for sharing with us.
      Jen 🙂

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