10 Things to Avoid In the Tough Seasons of Parenting (part 2 of this series)

Are you stuck in a tough season of parenting? Sometimes seasons of parenting are harder than others. Whether this season is hard because of health concerns, financial strain, difficult circumstances affecting your family, experiencing heartache or loss, or just the stresses of ages and stages and all that come with it—you may feel like you won’t make it through. Don’t get discouraged. There are better days ahead. I would love to share with you the remaining items in our list of Ten Things To Avoid in the Tough Seasons of Parenting.

 

I see you weary parent.

You are working hard to keep on top of all your child’s needs. You are staying up late and getting up early and still feeling as though you need more hours in your day. Despite your best efforts, things still get forgotten or lost. In spite of your attempts to be the involved and active parent, you still feel like you fall short. Regardless of your desire to meet the individual needs of each of your children, you feel as though there isn’t enough of you to go around. And somehow, at the end of the day, you don’t feel productive, even though you’ve exerted every last ounce of energy you possessed.

How do I get that? Because I see it a lot in the moms I counsel. I hear it a lot in the moms surrounding me. And quite frankly, I feel it a lot, personally! How do we manage the tough seasons of parenting? Enjoy Part 2 in the Ten Things To Avoid in the Tough Seasons of Parenting article! And if you missed Part 1, follow this link to read it! And don’t forget to check out this infographic of the entire list of ten, if you are a subscriber the full-size resource is on your resource page, if not sign up by clicking here it will open in a separate tab!

Avoid Being Bitter and Embrace Getting Better

Some of our hurts and struggles recently have honestly been from watching our kids get knocked down. It can happen in numerous ways. You know. You’ve seen it and felt it. Quite frankly, it stinks. It may come from a coach or teacher who causes your child to lose grasp of their dreams, confidence, or esteem. Perhaps it comes from a classmate who is brutal with their words and crushes your child’s spirit. It might even be from the mere risk of them trying something and hoping for a particular outcome and experiencing the opposite instead.

It is no fun to see our kids get crushed. And I know it causes some mama bear instincts within us when we want to protect them from such hurt. It can feel downright challenging to hold your tongue, choose to not send off an angry retort or even attempt to smile with simple politeness. But bitter doesn’t ever help our kids. Instead, it can be more productive for us to choose if to speak up, when to speak up, or how to speak.

Sometimes, we just have to model for our kids how to handle ourselves when things are not right or fair. And encourage them as they grow to become better and not bitter. Click To Tweet

I’ve found myself a time or two lately feeling a deep sense of admiration for the character a child might exhibit during these rough times. I’ve seen them rebound quicker than I do and with a sense of graciousness that is beyond what I might feel. God is growing them, and in the process growing me too. I have even humbly had to admit to them that their responses and character displayed encourages me to become a better person. And that’s truly humbling as a parent.

 

Avoid Despair and Embrace Hope

Sometimes the tough seasons of parenting relate to the ages or stages of our kids (such as having several kids under the age of 3 or potty training and parenting teens…you get the idea!). Other times the tough seasons relate to the circumstances or situations unfolding around us (such as the news of unexpected life events, health concerns, upcoming surgeries, new diagnosis, etc). And I guess in all truthfulness, sometimes it is both! It is easy to think that something is wrong with us or that we are being punished or harmed in some way.

I am struck by the number of my counseling patients that find it shocking when I tell them that the common phrase, “God will not give you more than you can handle,” is NOT in the Bible. Nor is it true! What?! No, in fact, we find the opposite if we are to look through scriptures.

Thankfully, the Bible talks about this. In James 1:2 it talks about “When we face trials of many kinds…” There are two important things in just that short phrase. You see, it is not a matter of IF we face trials. It is a matter of when. You did notice that was a plural form of the word trial, right. And not only is it plural, but the sentence continues with trials of many kinds. So these hardships and challenges are not a surprise. They are not the culmination of disasters that occur because God lost control, took a break, or stepped off His throne. They are a natural part of life.

For me, this takes some pressure off. These challenges are not flying at me because I am doing something wrong. They are to be expected. And while I am not guaranteed a life that’s a cake walk, I AM guaranteed that I will never be alone. God will be there and will help me through it. And truly that is our hope. We can rest in the fact that this season will pass and that God has promised to work ALL things together for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)

Avoid Negativity and Embrace Joy

I have to admit that this one can feel a bit tricky when so many things keep going wrong and the misfortunes and discouragements seem to be tripping on each other. My husband and I jokingly said to each other last week, before another week of frustrations unfolded, that we felt like we were under attack! So after this week, you might imagine what it’s feeling like now.

I stumbled into the laundry room this morning to start on the mountain of laundry awaiting me. Since I have been so busy with all the physical and emotional needs of the family, I have become severely behind in the practical tasks! I wake to find wet bed laundry, a damp load from the prior night, and the news that the washer is indeed broken (hence another very wet but not spun load of drenched clothes)! Seriously!! A family our size does at least three loads a day! So this is a major WHOA! It was like icing on the cake. I had to just stop and pause. I mean it is almost laughable. Crying about it isn’t going to change anything, so I guess I just hold on for the ride and laugh! And then wait several days for a serviceman to come to do repairs! Do you think I could ask him to bring a laundry maid with him!?

Sometimes in the utterly disappointing and disheartening season of life, we have to step back and choose joy. Click To Tweet

It doesn’t necessarily come easy. Our thoughts may be waging war on us from within. The negativity swirls around us and we can be rendered useless with our energy sucked away. But this, my friends, is where joy comes in. Joy is bigger, and joy is better. Joy has the ability to set our body and minds on a different course. It can help heal our bodies and help stabilize our souls. And as my common mantra goes, “The joy of the Lord is my strength!” And that thought will get me a whole lot further than negativity will!

 Avoid Assumptions and Embrace Truth

It seems that on a regular basis, one can think that they know what others must think of them or believe about them. At least I know for myself, that can be a real trap. But the truth is, those are simply assumptions. I have shared a bit about parenting our child who was recently diagnosed with ADHD and SPD. The past two weeks with this little guy have been beyond challenging. For those of you who are parenting a child with an invisible disability, you may have felt the pain. Your child’s disability may not be apparent to others, and other’s expectations for your child can feel unrealistic for what you know about their challenges.

Sometimes when my fears grow in this area, I begin to think and assume that others will believe certain things about him, our parenting, or even our family. I may even assume that they are judging our parenting or discipline as not good enough. But this is a dead-end road. This thinking doesn’t do anything for our little guy or us! Instead, I have to slow myself down and make some conscious choices in what I believe to be true. I may have to remind myself that others are not necessarily judging at all. Some may boldly judge us simply because they have never experienced this personally. And I may have to remind myself that others may understand and have more grace for our situation than I might expect.

Facing the next day wasn’t easy

I was lovingly reminded of this following a tough day for our little guy. I was taking him in the following day to work things out and make things right with those he had disrespected in his meltdown. I have to admit that I didn’t really want to walk into the school after his horrible day. I was sad. I was embarrassed. I was overwhelmed. I was mortified. But I knew it was necessary. However, I will never forget a couple of messages of encouragement I received through the ordeal. Two key people in the school messaged communicating care, understanding, and that we were walking into a building where we were loved and supported through successes and challenges of life.

The messages made me cry. I am sure I will go back and read them often. In fact, I even captured one in a picture, so on my tough days of worrying about other’s responses or judgements, that I can remember the gift of hearing grace and truth. They were just the reminder I needed in these tough weeks that letting go of assumptions and embracing truth will be key…and something that I will get plenty of practice with!

As I said, I know our family is not alone in the tough season. If you are facing hardship or challenge now, please know I care! I hope that this pep talk of sorts can help you shake those habits that can so easily entangle us. And I hope that you might feel some refreshed confidence in reaching for those things that bring you comfort and hope. Please know that I always welcome messages, emails, or connecting with you by phone to encourage or support you.

Parenting is not for the faint of heart! Know you are not alone in this journey! Click To Tweet

Self-care is Essential

effective self care resource

Today, I encourage you to go out and find some way that you can practice some self-care. Whether you are in the trenches of a tough season now or are in a stage of proactive self-care, please take time to do those things that bring you some joy and help your spirit feel alive. Need some ideas? Check out this link for free resources and get a download of the effective self-care ideas!

 

Here to support and care however I can!

Jami Kirkbride

Let's Do This!
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