For years I would ask people whose kids were older than mine and appeared to be solid citizens who loved God and loved people: “What parenting advice can you give me?” And when my kids were young, I’d eat this stuff up!
But the older my kids get, the tendency I have is not to ask. I’m afraid they’ll tell me something counter to what I’ve done. Or worse, they might give me a good idea, but it’s just too late! Wish I would have known that when my kids were infants!
The danger for many of us is we stop asking questions to find out how we could do something better for fear we’ll find out we’ve been doing something wrong.
But one of the ideas I try to express in the new book Better Together is that the quickest way we can parent better–is to do that together. And that can be done with friends… or with advice.
Now I know that can be tough.
Some of you only see our kids every other weekend. And despite any headway you might make, your ex is going to undo it when your kids are at their place.
Some of you aren’t divorced, but you feel you and your spouse have completely different ideas when it comes to how to parent. One of you is lenient; the other is strict. One of you thinks college is optional; the other does not. One of you thinks pizza is a food group, the other considers being a Vegan as a mark of salvation.
This is why raising kids, especially teens, is done so much better together.
So as I think about some of the best advice I’ve ever received on parenting, I thought I’d share with you two nuggets of wisdom that have made parenting more focused and thus a bit easier.
“The average kid can handle the average mistakes from the average parent.”
I was on a boat all day with a great guy. I didn’t like the fishing, but I loved the conversation. And when I heard he had raised five daughters, I began to seek wisdom. What can you tell me? What do I need to know? I only have two daughters, but I’m outnumbered! He said, “I once heard Dr. James Dobson say ‘ The average kid can handle the average mistakes from the average parent.’” Gold. When I heard him say this I was so relieved. What a gift this man gave me by saying this. I’m so glad I asked.
“Make your house the safest place for your kids… and they’ll always return.”
Some of you may just be ready for them to leave. But one day, when they have grandkids, you’ll want them back. Truth is the world our kids live in is cruel. They are judged constantly online and in person. They are sized up by their appearance, their abilities, their academics and their value. So why do we often do the same thing at home? I know the rationalization I use, “I’m just trying to make them better.” True. But that can be done with love, and grace, and kindness. I want my daughters to know win or lose, I’m always their biggest fan.
We can’t do parenting alone. And we don’t always have grandparents next door, or neighbors we’d even share a meal with let alone our childrearing, that’s why being a part of a local church is so important. That’s why asking for help is so important. We need people we can do life with together. It makes our parenting better.
To check out more about how to do parenting and life better together—order the book today!