Imagine this. You are the parent of a very active and strong willed 3-year-old. The 3-year-old is causing much stress in your marriage and family. You decide to run to your local Christian bookstore and find the perfect book to fix the problem. You receive several suggestions for the book that worked in others’ families. The book is purchased and you begin implementing the principles you have learned. However, they don’t seem to work.
What do you do? As a parent, you now feel like a failure, heap large amounts of guilt and shame on yourself, and begin to wonder if you are cut out to be a parent. This leads us as parents to a couple of options. We keep looking for the perfect book. Or we give up.
But maybe a more important question would be, “Why did the principles not work for your child?” Could it be that the author and their child have different personalities than you and your child? Or maybe the specific principles work better with younger or older children? Or maybe not all parenting books are created equal. Jessica Thompson writes, “There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to relationships.”1
Parents, what if I told you the answer to that nagging parenting problem is not found at the bookstore? It is found in Christ.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-2).
Instead of condemning yourself as a parent, prayerfully seek God for wisdom as you move forward. Here are few closing thoughts:
- Point your child to Jesus daily. Like us, our kids sin often. Instead of another lecture, remind them of a loving Savior who forgives sin and point them to the cross.
- Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance as you parent. We will sometimes throw out common sense in parenting because a specific author said it. Let God’s Word and the Holy Spirit be your authority not another author who does not know you or your specific situation or family dynamic.
- Pray for God to change the hearts of yourself, spouse, and children for His glory alone. You and I cannot change anyone but God can and does.
By J.L. Martin
Husband to Bethany
Dad of 1 boy, 3 girls
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Pastor of Children and Family at Hesston MB Church
1. Thompson, Jessica. Everyday Grace. Bethany House Publishers: Bloomington, 2015.