Do you find yourself expecting too much sometimes?
Maybe you have one child, and you find yourself being overprotective to the point friends feel compelled to point it out to you occasionally?
I was very young when I had my first, and I made all the mistakes a person can make, particularly parenting out of my past pain. What does that mean? It means parenting out of fear: Fear they will experience similar painful circumstances we did, fear they will make the same bad choices we made, and fear they will feel the hurt we feel or have felt in the past.
I kept her safe during her childhood, but I made her miserable too. My boundaries only worked as long as she was in my care. She went on to eventually make her own choices, and mistakes. She suffered a series of hardships that were painful and scarring. I could have saved her from some of the hardships she experienced, had I allowed her certain freedoms early on.
The problem with fear-based parenting is that when we parent out of our pain, we put unrealistic expectations on our kids. Rules, regulations and rigid boundaries that rob them of freedom to fail, get hurt, and learn from it.
Are you parenting out of your painful past today?
Love is protective, but not smothering. Love is truthful, but not harsh. Love is not demanding, over-protective, anxious, abusive, easily angered, proud, or controlling. In fact, it is quite the opposite…
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor 13:4-7)
Take a minute today, and every day, and just ask the question, “Am I walking in God’s love with my child today…in this situation, right now, am I acting in His love or am I parenting out of my painful past?”