“I feel like how I am parenting is wishy-washy. How can I be consistent? How do I know what is right?”
First, thank you for offering this clear insight about how wishy washy all parents and grandparents sometimes feel! You really hit the nail on the head. This question filled my heart with happiness because just asking it exudes truth.
Wishy Washy Parenting
One problem with parenting is that just about the time you think you have it figured out, you get another child who is totally different from any others. What worked with your first child, won’t work with the others. As parents, it feels like the rules keep changing!
I remember standing over my toddler daughter with my hands on my hips. She was looking back up at me with her hands on her hips, too! I am the parent, I told myself firmly. I get to make this decision, but I have no idea if I am right. (Yes, it was probably a fashion conflict because I am fashion-challenged. My babies had more instincts about fashion than I ever will!)
Anyway, in desperation, I explained to her that I would make the final decision, but if I was wrong I had great news. The Bible tells us that Jesus would judge everything at the end. (I am not actually positive that includes fashion faux pas, but I was desperate.)
“Okay, Mommy,” she said and relaxed. Really? That worked? I thought. Kids love justice, don’t they? And honesty.
Sometimes the Buck Just Stops With Us
To answer the question of wishy-washy moments in all parents’ lives, I have a few of tips.
#1 First, sometimes we just have to pray, ponder, make a decision, and then stand strong. Letting the buck stop with us is one of the many commitments we make when we commit to parenting.
#2 Confess when we don’t know for sure. Yep, our kids are pretty instinctive when we are waffling anyway. They know, so we might as well own our doubts. You are still the parent. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as we own them and circle back to correct what we can along the way, especially when it involves our own attitude.
#3 Seek out good advice. All around us wise folks who want to help us. Some have been parenting 10, 30, 50 years. They know stuff. Keep asking good questions until you gain enough perspective to feel comfortable tackling your unique challenges.
#4 Always be ready to stand alone. Some of the best decisions Dave and I made with our parenting went against the grain of all the folks around us. God does inspire parents to understand their own children in a significantly spiritual way. The biggest mistake parents can make is failing to seek the advice of the One who designed your specific child.
#5 My favorite practical tip is to read the Bible Proverb of the day. Yep, as if planned that way, the book containing Solomon’s wisdom has exactly 31 chapters. Coincidence? No way. For parents, Proverbs the quickest way to get a foundational mindset grounded in core values.
We gain confidence by knowing what is true and doing what is hard. I NEVER heard a parent say parenting was easy. By parenting, you have already tackled the hard part of gaining confidence, that is taking on the hard job of guiding a child to maturity. Knowing what is true is as easy as studying the scriptures to know what the Designer of your children says about kiddoes. He says plenty, believe me! Most of all, He wants you to know that you, His child, are dear to His Father’s heart.
Finally, let me offer a word of encouragement. Kids are a lot more resilient than we think. If the first thing you try doesn’t seem to work, try something else. The commitment to keep trying shows your child how to succeed in life. Plus, your commitment to keep trying will convey your love for them. Parenting is really a win-win for the child of a conscientious parent committed to keep loving each child in all their individual uniqueness.
Cathy Krafve, Texas Author, Columnist, Speaker, and Radio Personality, specializing in Christian Marriage and Family invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.