It is an inevitable part of life and parenting, that there will be challenges. You will face a parenting struggle. Your child will struggle with a friend, coach, teacher or decision. But a struggle does not have to be filled with stress, tension or even anxiety. How can you struggle well? Yes, that is correct, how can you struggle WELL? Just four thoughts on how to do so:
- Attitude is everything. It is far too easy to get swept into the negative cycle of pessimistic and cynical thinking when things are difficult. Whatever you focus on will flood your thoughts, words, and deeds. Do not let your feelings drive you. Make a conscious effort to change your attitude. See the opportunities for growth, hope, and faith even in the midst of the desert.
- Slow down. When things get tough, our bodies can naturally go into flight-or-fight panic mode. Adrenaline can get pumping and we are in “go mode” with all cylinders firing. Force yourself to slow down. Do not make rash decisions. Pause and spend even more intentional time with and before the Lord. Fight the urge to rush into things. Do as James says in being slow to speak and slow to anger.
- Journal. This is likely the last thing you want to do or even have time for when times are tough. But even more so take time to journal the process. This will allow your attitude to shift and slow your racing thoughts down. Also, it will allow you to record the journey. Lessons learned, choices to be sorted through and prayerfully even the ultimate praises remembered in the end.
- Do not do it alone. When we are faced with difficult parenting opportunities, you can feel alone, embarrassed, ashamed, etc. With these feelings can then come the desire to hole up and go it alone. That is the exact thing Satan wants you to do. Do the opposite and reach out. Guaranteed there are other moms or dads who have walked or are walking the same journey you are. While it may not be the exact same, you can garner sage wisdom, keep each other accountable, lift each other in prayer and provide support so you are not struggling alone but together.
Whatever you are facing with your baby, toddler, elementary school child, junior higher, or high school teenager…struggle well!