Being a parent is the toughest job anyone can do. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, by far. Coming a far-away second would be losing the baby weight I gained with each of my children. You think I’m joking…but I am not. I gained fifty plus pounds with each kid!
Back on point…parenting is grueling. When your child hurts, you hurt more. Only a parent can understand that. When they mess up, you feel like you did something wrong. I have blamed myself so many times for things that my kids have done. Silly, I know, but true.
Every kid is going to mess up. It is not a question of if they will mess up, but when they will mess up. If I am certain of anything, I am certain that as parents it is not keeping them from messing up, but what we do AFTER they mess up that will matter the most.
Whatever happens we need to love them through it, and accept them no matter what. By doing this we maintain our relationship with them, and we point them to the Savior. Unconditional love and acceptance is what we always get from God, and when we extend that to our children we point them to Him.
There will be a season where you spin your head during the day and toss and turn through the night over a poor decision made by your child. You may even think to yourself, “Why didn’t I see this coming? I must be a terrible parent.” I think all parents can relate to this feeling. Oh, it usually isn’t something you share at the prayer meeting or in the gym locker room, but internally most parents have struggled with this at least once—or for some, repeatedly.
Have comfort in knowing that you are probably not alone and many very successful adults made poor choices as children or teenagers. I recall a conference my husband spoke at with a handful of pastors from our church. Each shared a story from either their childhood or teen years where they did something “unwise,” and which I am sure brought their parents much grief. The stories each of them told where completely out of character and oceans away from the godly men and pastors they turned into.
Parenting is tough, and as we guide our children, we need to point them to the true source of all forgiveness and love. Loving them unconditionally when they make mistakes, and not withdrawing from them when they are difficult will show them the love of Jesus Christ.
So, if you are going through a difficult season with your child, hang in there, stay engaged, show them more love and attention and when the season is over your relationship will be stronger, and your child will be stronger too.