Allow me to explain that title. I don’t mean kids need parents who fight with each other or God forbid, the neighbors! Kids need parents who fight for their best interest. This thought came to my mind the other day when I realized I had allowed disobedience, bad attitudes and the chaos of the mob mentality my boys get from time to time to cause me to disengage from my kids.
We all have those moments where the stress of parenting gets the best of us. There's no shame in having a bad day here and there. At the same time, it's important to remember parenting is a battle. We must keep fighting for the good things, even when our kids don't cooperate.
Here are a few of the battles we must fight if we are going to be more present, fully-engaged, fearless parents.
- Don't take it personally. Sometimes it feels like our children hate us. Sometimes they will even say it. They will talk back, roll their eyes, say hurtful things and be downright snarky. We must fight the battle not to take these things personally. When you take your child's attitude or behavior personally, it will likely lead to making bad decisions as a parent. It can lead to angry outbursts, and making extreme statements, threatening punishments or consequences without thinking through real steps of accountability. It creates a domino effect of bad parenting. Don't take it personally.
- Live less distracted. The pace of life seems to be ever increasing. We must fight the good fight of preserving and protecting undistracted moments with her children. This means putting down the phone and giving a child your full attention. This means saying “no" to an overcommitted life in order to spend quantity time with your children. For some of you, it is time to declare war on busyness. The parent who fails to fight this battle is sure to experience unnecessary regret in the future.
- Grow your marriage. And for any single parents out there, you are free to skip this one, for now. But if you are parenting in the context of a marriage, remember your child's sense of security comes primarily from the health of your marriage. Do not take a healthy marriage for granted. Fight to connect with your spouse. Fight to continue growing as an individual. Fight to give your children not only a stable home but a solid example of what marriage could and should be..
- Laugh more. Make it your goal to laugh often with your children. Let them see you smile, allow your playful, childlike side to come out more often. Be goofy. Everyone gravitates towards those who make us laugh. Fight for those moments, which for me means fighting off any negative vibes from the workday. Or fighting the urge to veg out and disconnect. Or fighting a tendency to be critical or sarcastic and pessimistic.
- Create space for God. For some of you, this feels intimidating or even unrealistic. Spiritual leadership can seem like a daunting task. However, if we realize that God has not given us a laundry list of super spiritual things to do, perhaps we can engage the process a little easier. Fight to give God space in your family life. It can be simple things like praying before meals or bedtime. Reminders or teachable moments where you can apply something you learn from the Bible to an every day circumstance. Look for opportunities to make room for God. In doing so, you teach your children how to fight to make room for God in their own personal lives. This is an essential step in the discipleship process of raising children, and it does not require an education level, degree or prior experience.
As you read this blog, I pray that you are encouraged. Kids don’t actually require that much. They just need you. Be what they need. Fight the fight. Be fearless. Enjoy your #7000days.