Parenting with mercy Part 1

New commenter, Mel, was writing on her blog about the pull on new parents of rote, by-the-book solutions to the common “tear-your-hair-out” parenting issues. She is SO not alone in that. One nice thing about having raised some children is you’ve also seen your friends’ kids grow up, so you’ve seen a crew of kids go through this, that, and the other thing, and their parents handle them in a variety of ways, good days and bad days, mistakes, wisdom and all–we’ve all had our portions of each–and the kids have turned out.

I mean honestly–my friends have great kids, and so do I. If you know me, you probably know at least some of the kids I’m talking about–and aren’t they a great crew? Aren’t you proud of them all? I know I am. Now, of course, God’s not finished with any of us or any of them–everyone’s got rough edges, heartaches, and issues–just like every other adult–much as we all would have liked to spare our children.

But alas, there is not a perfect foolproof way to raise perfect kids. It’s funny how everyone knows that, but parenting books still prey on our hopes and fears that if we just find the right method, and employ its silver bullet in just the right way, we’ll eliminate the issues and ultimately present our children perfect to the world by age 18 or 21, and they’ll be such shining examples that a hurting world will want to become Christians just out of sheer admiration and amazement at their virtue.

“Ah, me,” as they sigh here in the South. It occurs to me that if such perfection were possible, Jesus-dying-for-our-sins was a wasted effort. God could have sent a parenting method book instead of His Son. Besides, most people like being around redeemed people who’ve been refined and are being refined in the fire of heartache, failures and struggles. I know I do.

But I digress. The great thing about having raised children to adulthood is that you know then, firsthand and for reals that kids grow up and that toddlerish, childish, and teenagerish behavior melts away. I’ve been in Christian circles where it was considered a heresy to say of a child’s behavior, “it’s just a stage,” but guess what? Lots of it really IS just a stage. Manage it for your own sanity and that of people around you but don’t fear overly much that if you don’t do X, they’ll never learn Y.

Kids strain toward maturity like little homing devices. You don’t need the latest greatest parenting guru’s help with this. Just some common sense, a sense of your own proper authority, some memory of what it felt like to be a kid, and a strong attachment to your children so that you *know* what’s going on in them and their world. Oh, and as solid a home life as you can manage. Do attend to your marriage and your spiritual life, and make your home a place of safety and peace and ministry and share those values with your children.


About katiekind

Enjoying the second half of life. I have three sons who are the apples of my eye and a wonderful husband of 35 years--those are the important things. Long ago, out of the blue, I became a Christian. It was something I never planned on, but what joy it has been. I do website development and I like to read and garden and paint and I love beauty and truth.
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6 Responses to Parenting with mercy Part 1

  1. Mama Grizzly says:

    I so love reading your posts on parenting – and especially needing the reminder that most things truly ARE just a phase. One thing I’ve noticed too with my 4 year old is that many times when his behavior is a little “off”, if I’m honest and truly reflect, it’s because I haven’t filled his little love bucket. Once I fill that little love bucket (and for him, it’s attention and cuddling), he’s just the sweetest thing to be around.

    I truly wish you were a lot closer! I’d love to be able to have you over for coffee and some Mom advice. *sigh* Guess blogging will have to do! But, I do so love your reminders like this!!!!!

    And I think your children are MARVELOUS!

  2. Brian says:

    Thanks for the reminders! With 3 of our own each in their own stages it’s easy to forget that “this too shall pass”. For me, I also need to remember to parent through each stage instead of just waiting to pass on its own. We are so tempted to take the easy way out sometimes – or at least I am. :)

  3. Mel says:

    But 3-step programs are so much easier… *whines* ;-) Looking forward to Part 2 and following.

  4. TulipGirl says:

    It’s soooo much easier for me to recognize the stages of growth in my own kids looking back.

    I can’t be the only one with school-aged children to think, “Oh, I could do infants and toddlers again–no problem! But I’m befuddled with school-aged kids!” Though, I know that’s not how I felt at the time.

    I want to encourage them, nurture them. . . It’s hard to see the “stages” that they are in right now. (Maybe because they are close in age, yet so disparate in personality and development?)

    I’ve appreciated your “been there. . . not so long ago” perspective with mothering.

  5. katiekind says:

    I think with older kids the stages are not so pronounced as they are with little kids, and last longer.

    Really as far as stages go there’s kind of a big blank spot in my mind between all those little kid stages and then the teenaged stage. :-)

    It’s pretty fun to be in the late teen phase with my third and see the patterns emerge. One thing I remember is that 6 months and a year can make a big difference in teen maturity–maturity seems to increase in geometric, rather than linear, proportions especially in the late teen years. It’s really neat.

  6. deb says:

    I realize that this is a several months old article but I just found it. One thing that I am beginning to notice is that many of my friends have great kids despite the fact that they all used many different methods of child rearing. One size really doesn’t fit all when it comes to parenting.

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