3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Parent Fail
It is so easy to judge other parents.
Admit it, we all do it.
We judge the parents who let their child eat, watch, or do those things we see as taboo.
And we judge the parents whose children only eat organic foods, or are reading at three years old, or taking college classes before they enter high school, or doing something else magnificent.
And behind all the judging, there's the fear that's driving it:
I'm afraid other people have the secret to parenthood figured out, and I'm doing it wrong.
I'm afraid of PARENT FAIL.
And we all have our definition of what "parent fail." means.
For some parents it means that their kids won't be a "success" in life--with a solid education, good career, and financial stability.
For others, it's that their kids won't be happy.
For me, my biggest fear lingers in the back of my mind like a constant question: "What if my kids walk away from their relationship with the Lord and never come back?”
Worse yet, “What if I am the one that inadvertently pushes them towards that choice?”
We all put a lot of weight on ourselves as parents and forget that our kids will ultimately make their own choices for their life.
All we can do is help our kids try to understand their true worth and purpose, help them see a vision for their future and then trust God with the direction they'll take.
And of course, we can love them every step of the way.
Love never fails.
3 things I try to remember when I'm gripped with the fear of Parent Fail:
1. God is bigger than me. I've said it before, but I have to look to Him and trust His word as a guide and keep filtering everything that way.
2. I won’t do it all “right.” I am going to mess up. It’s vital I learn to say I'm sorry and admit when I am wrong. I simply can’t be perfect.
3. I need to keep letting my kids try and fail as well. They're going to make some choices I don’t like. Yet, while they're growing up I can help them learn how to make decisions and accept the consequences of their decisions. I think my personal disappointment can be relieved somewhat, when I realize they're learning a valuable lesson through it all. It'll be what it'll be.
Bottom line, I think the most helpful thing I need to remember is to fear less and love more.
Parenting out of an anxious place is rarely helpful. As many books on parenting as there are, no one formula fits all.
That goes for kids as well as parents. I have to stop judging others. And I have to stop judging myself.
What are you doing to deal with your own fear Parent Fail?