I used to think there was some kind of formula to parenting. Or at least I had hoped there was one! Because surely there was something wrong with what I was doing. That was my thinking for many, many years.
You would never know it, if you met my now 19-year-old son that once upon a time he was a handful. He was so naughty that it wasn’t easy to find someone willing to babysit him. He had a very low attention span, talked A LOT and was known to spit at people. His famous words as a toddler were, “Shut up, stupid!” But it sounded more like “Dut up, dupid!”
So I read a lot of parenting books and I attended a lot of parenting classes. But all the methods I tried didn’t seem to make much of a difference. The conclusion I came to was that I didn’t know how to be a “good” parent.
Then along came my daughter—my sweet little angel girl. Oh sure, she had her moments but compared to my son, parenting her was like a piece of cake. She was quiet, shy and mostly compliant.
That’s when I came to realize that parenting isn’t about formulas. Because each child is SO different.
Now fast forward to today. That same naughty little boy, never gave me a lick of trouble as a teenager. In fact, he never talked back to me. He became what my daughter had been like—quiet, shy and compliant.
My daughter—well, her teenage years have been a whole different story. Not to suggest that she’s turned naughty. Let’s just say I’ve had some “challenges.”
Facing the teen years I found myself again turning to books and classes—looking for some method on how to parent a teen. But again, have learned that parenting isn’t a “how to.” There is no five step method to being a successful one. No one can guarantee my child is going to do the right things.
Here’s what it comes down to—what works for one doesn’t work for everyone. Which is probably why I stay away from books or classes that “guarantee” positive results with your children. Or when parents suggest that if you just do A, B and C, you will get a particular outcome.
About the only parenting class I’ve ever really benefited from was “Grace-Based Parenting.” Because to me, grace is the one thing I’ve needed to have as a parent. It’s how God “parents” me and it’s the way I’m learning more and more to parent my own children.
I say all this to hopefully encourage those who may be going through a difficult time—whether it’s a sassy three-year-old or a rebellious 13-year-old. Not to say that books or classes can’t be of help. Remember that methods suggest guarantees…but there aren’t any when it comes to parenting.
However, when you discover the treasure behind parenting with grace—well, you’ve uncovered what Ephesians 2:7 describes as “incomparable riches.” It may not change the circumstances and it may not affect the outcome. But no one has ever gone wrong giving grace. In fact, it’s all you need to get through any challenge in parenting.
© 2013, Stephanie Romero