I think it is safe to say that most parents frequently question the environment and culture in which our kids are grow up. We wonder how much television is ok for our kids to watch, if they should play sports, what clothes are appropriate for their age. Then there are very daunting decisions like when and how to give them independence, when to let them make mistakes and suffer the consequences, and don’t even get me started on electronics and social media…does the nightmare ever end?
What can be just as tough to navigate is the abundance of opinions and information on each and every topic we face as parents. There is an endless amount of people who seem to know how to handle every parenting situation perfectly (or so they believe). There are books, articles, blogs and parenting gurus who are happy to help you find a safety net in the ever turbulent and changing tides of raising children. I don’t pretend that their information and suggestions aren’t often helpful, but I do wonder, in the end, how much it encourages parents to trust themselves.
The best example I can give is that of having your first baby and making sure you have every baby book you can get your hands on. You want to get it right. You want answers. You want that 9 pound bundle of joy to sleep for goodness sake! But my experience with those books is that in the beginning they helped me feel prepared and ready yet when a real baby came home and real sleep deprivation set in, those books were exasperating. I started realizing that men had written half of them. No offense to every awesome Dad, but I am pretty sure when those guys thought their newborn was sleeping through the night it was actually just them sleeping through their baby crying! I wanted to burn those books and ask for my money back!
Eventually I realized that I was thankful for advice but was actually cheating myself. God has given us the very children he intends us to raise and no two are alike (can I get an Amen?). This also means that he equips us as parents to raise those very children and no one can do that as well as you. If you question if something is healthy for your child, even if everyone else you know is letting their kid do it, then trust your instinct. If you have a feeling deep inside that your child isn’t ready for access to the internet and social media, don’t give it to them yet.
While I am thankful for resources and people’s past experiences, it has always proven true that the best decisions we make for our children have come from consulting God. He has asked my husband and I to do some things for our kids that you would be hard-pressed to find on a blog. He has provided us with insight and direction where there was none. Considering we haven’t hit the teen years yet, I am holding on to the knowledge that God will still be there to give us hope! Seriously though, in an age of information don’t cut yourself short. God loves you and has prepared you to be an amazing parent because He doesn’t ask us to do anything He hasn’t equipped us to do. Take the abundance of info with a grain of salt and then pray. Parenting is the toughest job we will ever have but God is the best source of strength and assurance we will ever know.