by Jennifer Phillips
Brian and I recently led a parenting workshop at our church. I’d like to think we were asked to teach this course because our mad parenting skillz are off the chart, but it may have more to do with the fact that we’re the only ones who said yes. Also, we’re one of the only couples in our church whose kids are over the age of five, so there’s that. BUT ANYWAY. I digress.
We were given the freedom to choose from any parenting-related topic, and while it may have been easier to zero in on things like “Surviving on Little-to-No Sleep,” “How to Get Your Kids to Behave in Public,” or “How to Potty Train and Not Lose Your Mind,” we knew we wanted to zero in on the heart—and not so much our children’s hearts, but what parenting reveals about our hearts. We wanted to talk about idolatry.
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“It’s just not natural to be a good, kind parent.”
The mother who said these words at a recent Mother/Daughter event certainly seemed good and kind! She was a well-educated, well-respected physician in her community, but she was having a hard time parenting her 14-year-old daughter.
“It’s just not natural,” she repeated again with growing emphasis. “What’s natural for me is to be angry, frustrated, and inconsistent. I try one thing and it doesn’t work. So then I try something else. I just wish there was some kind of manual. Parenting is harder than anyone ever tells you. I mean, they come into the world crying, after all. That should be some kind of sign as to what’s to come.”
You may have felt the same way. (You probably do often if you have a 14-year-old!) Inconsistency happens. You are going to struggle. You may fail at your intentions. You may get angry or not follow through on your discipline. But even despite these struggles, you can still establish a pattern of consistency in your home.
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