Never getting it perfect as a parent
Updated: Jan 27
Parenting......where to start? It is one of the hardest jobs, if not the hardest job, that God has given us. The Bible tells us that children are a blessing and gift to parents and there is a reason you were chosen to specifically raise that child. Yet, there are times we are left confused and worried we are not doing it right. There is no parenting manual or a solution to every situation you encounter with your kids. You honestly do the best you can with advice from friends and family with direction from counselors, doctors and professionals.
If you are a single parent, you have to make all of the decisions for your child and that can cause a lot of anxiety. You don't have anyone to bounce your ideas off of or double check that your decision is the right one. Trusting your gut, praying and a phone call to a friend in times of need is all you have. And whether its as simple as choosing the right pediatrician or dentist or as complicated as a medical procedure, it's not always easy. Many times you might not make the right choice. You might not make the right choice on the reward given, punishment incurred for bad behavior, daycare selected, classes at school or extracurricular activities. But I am here to tell you, its not the end of the world. Life goes on. We all make mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and move on. If we are not making mistakes, then we are not learning.
However, that is just if you are parenting on your own. What if we had to co-parent with a spouse? You need to be able to agree on basic necessities like bedtimes and hygiene and school activities. But as the children grow, you have more complicated things to agree on like discipline, medical decisions, college, etc. And most of us women (maybe men) usually ask the person we plan on marrying these questions ahead of time to see if the potential spouse agrees before they continue dating. However, it is hard to decide in your twenties how you will parent, especially since you don't have children at this point, so you are giving your most educated guess. I was guilty of trying to plan every detail when I met my future husband. I learned that it is impossible to guess at how you would handle every situation as a parent. You have to grow together and learn or grow apart.
And then what if you have to co-parent with an ex because your marriage didn't work out? So you don't agree enough to live together anymore, but you have to still agree on what's best for your children? That might be the toughest thing that divorced couples ever have to do! Different rules at different houses. I can't imagine how hard that is for the children. I grew up with parents that were married and grandparents that were married. So my heart aches for my boys who have to deal with different expectations, rules, rewards and punishments.
And yet for other divorced couples, its easy because they put the kids first. I watch as my boyfriend and his ex wife co-parent their teenage son and when he disrespects his Mom/Dad or does something one parent doesn't approve, they unite together as one front for the benefit of their son. They might not agree with each other and their decisions at their separate households, but they support each other for the betterment of their child. In another example, my life coach has a great relationship with her ex husband to the point that there is no visitation arrangement, they just communicate and share time with the boys. Most of the time her ex husband not only takes their two sons, but her other two sons from her current marriage as well. They all hang out together. What a great relationship!
So no matter where you are in your journey as a parent, I can assure you we are all struggling. No one gets it perfect. But if you have been gifted by God to have children, it is your responsibility to raise them to respect, honor and serve others.