Question: What do you find most challenging about parenting?
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV)
For me, the most challenging part of parenting is adjusting my expectations, training, and discipline to the uniqueness of each of my children.
I have five children ages seven to seventeen; Each child is different. One child craves hugs and responds better to life if the hug quotient is full. Another child doesn’t want hugs, but responds well when I take the time to sit and listen. One child has a sensitive spirit and rarely needs discipline. Another child constantly challenges authority.
It takes time to get to know my children. The way my children enjoy spending time with me is also different. My youngest just wants to be with me and often offers to help with whatever I’m doing. My next child loves to play games. Another son enjoys riding in a vehicle with me – the destination is unimportant. His brother still comes and sits beside me, or even on my lap, gives me hugs, and compliments me often. My eldest child prefers to communicate with text messages.
Some of my children also have special needs. This means that I can’t expect my fourteen year-old to act like most fourteen year-olds. Sometimes a younger sibling things I’m being unfair because I expect more from the younger one than the older one.
Parents have the challenging job of knowing our children and then teaching and training them accordingly. I’m thankful I don’t have to tackle parenting alone. My children have a hard-working Dad. We all have a Heavenly Father who stands ready to give us His wisdom if we will only ask:
“If any of you lackswisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5 NIV)
Question: What helps you get through the tough days?
Several things help me when I face challenging days as a parent:
- Prayer – God is never too busy to hear my desperate pleas for help.
- Reading God’s Word, the Bible – There are many encouraging passages I return to again and again. Some of my favourites are Psalm 37, Psalm 1, Isaiah 41, and Ephesians 6
- Perspective – Talking to parents who’ve gone through similar situations and have survived is a great encouragement to me.
- Sufficient Sleep – It’s always easier for me to handle challenges when I get my sleep!
- Healthy Food – I try to choose more fruits and vegetables rather than products with refined sugar. However, chocolate is still part of my diet – in moderation. 🙂
- Respite – Sometimes I need a break from my children to clear my thinking and renew my perspective. I find an occasional break is good for both me and my children.
- Confession – When I make a mistake as a parent, I’ve found things turn around quickly when I’m willing to “‘fess up.”
What about you? What do you find most challenging as a parent? What helps you get through the tough days?