Great parenting–is it even possible these days?
Sometimes it feels like the odds are stacked against parents. Kids are hard! And trying to raise decent human beings in a world where there is so much negativity, so much evil, so many reasons to fear for their safety, and so much pressure on moms and dads to provide feels like an overwhelming task.
However, I fear that the real enemies of great parenting are often more subtle that the more obvious obstacles and fears parents face. And because of that, they can be ignored or not recognized.
Those subtle enemies can be much more dangerous simply because they are more likely to slip in undetected. So parents, beware! Don’t let these enemies sneak in and derail your parenting.
Enemy #1: The Need for Control
If you are living under the illusion that you have full control over your life and over your children’s lives, you are sorely mistaken. Yes, there are certain things that are within your control as parents–like what school you send your child to or what foods you let them eat at home–but there is much more that you cannot control.
That scares the crap out of many parents. Giving up control ties into some of our deepest fears. So we hold on tightly and try to control things that we have no power over, and in the process, we stress ourselves out and drive our kids crazy.
The balance that parents must keep if they are to maintain their sanity and a healthy relationship with their kids is knowing what they can and should control and understanding what they cannot.
Parents who try to control every aspect of their child’s lives and shield them from every hardship are raising entitled and sheltered children who will not know how to be responsible adults. On top of that, they are adding stress to their own lives, which affects their own emotional and physical health.
Enemy #2: The Craving for Perfection
Kids are messy and unpredictable, and this is what drives perfectionist parents to the brink of crazy.
The chores are not done to your standard, the homework is not as organized as you think it should be, or the grades or the sports performance is not up to what you think it should be.
The need for perfection drives parents to push, to be uptight, to neglect the little victories, and to make their kids frustrated. Children are left wondering if they will ever measure up to their parents’ expectations.
Perfectionism will put a wedge between you and your child.
Enemy #3: The Habit of Comparing
Do you compare your kids to other people’s kids? Do you measure your parenting against your friends parenting tactics? Do you compare one child to another in your own home?
Each of these comparing habits are unhealthy and steal joy from your lives. The only way to break the habit is to start focusing on the positive, on what you are grateful for and on what you CAN do, instead of what’s negative, what you wish you had, and on what you cannot change.
When you find yourself starting to compare; stop and force yourself to think of things you are grateful for. I’m not saying that will be an easy mindset shift, but as adults, we have the power to change the way we think. You can turn your mind in other directions if you are truly willing to make the change.
Make Sure Your Worst Enemy is Not Living Between Your Own Two Ears.
The enemies of controlling, perfectionism and comparison are sneaky; they pose as “common sense” and infiltrate your thinking, your behavior, and your relationships, causing hurt, havoc and pain.
If you want to defeat those enemies, you must confront them and go on an offensive attack of changing your thinking habits and becoming intentional about learning how to fight back. You cannot defeat these enemies by wishing them away; you must arm yourselves for battle to win the war.
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