What Parents Really Need to Hear

Gina Butz parenting, truth 5 Comments

what parents really need to hear

photo by Andre Hunter

Erik and I were in a baffling parenting moment recently. We struggle to find activities that all four family members enjoy together. It’s not surprising to us – for the 13 years we lived overseas, we lived in such a tight community with an abundance of like minded people that we were almost never alone as a family. Vacations, meals, you name it – we had company. Now we’re in the states looking at each other thinking, “So now what do we do?” It’s hard to know how to fill the space sometimes.

We were pondering this issue as we drove to have dinner with friends one night. We decided to take advantage of the wisdom of other couples and ask them what they thought we should do about this.

They listened. They asked good questions. They gave a few suggestions. But what they seemed to realize, and we quickly did too, is that what we needed wasn’t a solution. We needed to hear two things: “You are not alone in your struggle,” and “you are doing a good job.”

Google “parenting advice” and you’ll get “about 106,000,000” hits. Hope you have a lot of time to read every opinion under the sun. Do this. Don’t do that. You can read opinions that vary so widely it will make your head spin. We all want to do it well. Some of us like to think we’ve found the answers, and can be dogmatic or defensive about them, depending on the day. Or we hide in the shadows, afraid to ask our questions, thinking we’re the only ones who just can’t seem to figure this parenting gig out. We forget that our situations and our children and the way we are individually wired means that there are so few methods that universally apply.

But what we can say to one another is this: You are not alone. You are doing a good job. God is on your side. He will help you. Keep trusting Him.

Let’s say that to each other, and I think we’ll all find it’s true.


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Comments 5

  1. Gina – Excellent article! When our kids were growing up, I used to say (okay, ‘ think’ more than actually say) ” if you want to love me, love my kids.” The community aspect of child-rearing is so important. That was one of the best encouragements I could get, just something that indicated you liked my kids. Give me advice – if I ask – but just love my kids. For me, that was the best way of letting me know I was doing something right as a mother.

  2. This is so good! I love how you guys weren’t afraid to tap into the minds of other parents. I tend to hide in the shadows, afraid that others will think I’m a failure at this parenting thing. I wonder sometimes, though, if talking about the struggles more might actually be helpful to others on their journey. It’s a tough job, that’s for sure, and it just seems to take on different levels as our kids grow up and leave the nest. Thanks for writing this! 🙂

    1. You’re welcome Amy! Yes, I can tend to hide too, embarrassed to admit I don’t have all the answers. It helped that the other parents had older kids we admire a lot. We figured they must have done something right along the way. 🙂

  3. I’m so with you! I remember reading “The Strong Willed Child” years ago and thinking that he didn’t have very many good suggestions, but the book was a best seller because the author told stories of his strong willed child. You left reading it feeling you were not alone! Others experience the same pain.

    At the same time, we are never alone because God’s presence is with us. It doesn’t mean we are perfect. It just means that however much we screw up, he can redeem it. That has been such comfort to me!

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