For any parent, raising children is probably one of the most rewarding, yet challenging tasks to take on. I struggle to find the balance of showing my son joy and laughter, to be his friend, yet to find a healthy boundary of still being his mother who can shower him with nurture, love, care, discipline, and affection. I’m inundated with articles and videos showing you how to “parent” the right way.
One day, I said “Enough. Lord, teach me YOUR ways.” I have learned to pray for my children in big bold ways (see blog post here), but this time the Lord posed a question to me, “What is it your desire as a mother? PRAY on that.” I thought of certain aspects in my relationship with my parents in which I desire, and I came up with 5 prayers for you here:
1) Pray you can become the parent your child is comfortable confiding in.
Within me was a deep desire to have a different type of connection where my children would come and tell me how their day was, and they would tell me stories with some excitement! My 3 year old son is only in preschool, but yet the other day when I asked him how preschool was, he replied “I don’t want to tell you anything.” I thought, okay, so maybe he was having a rough day. I asked on a different day what he did at preschool and he replied, “nothing.” I mean…is this what parenthood is suppose to look like? It broke my heart. It seems like such a small thing to get this kind of reaction from a 3 year old, but I know I’m not the only parent suffering from his lack of response. Really? What is this? What do I have to look forward to when he hits adolescence?
So, I pray. I pray my children can come to me on anything and everything! I pray they can share with me their hidden fears. I pray they can ask me advice on dating. I pray they will let me know if they are sad or worried. I pray they will let me know if they are struggling. I pray I would be their biggest cheerleader if they have good news to share. I want to be the type of parent where my children will respect and honor my opinions.
2) Pray you can teach your child in the way they should go – and pray to release control whenever possible.
This bible verse is one of my favorites when it comes to understanding how we should raise our children “Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6). Notice it says “teach” (and in some versions, it says “train”), not control, or manipulate…or demand. For example, my son for a short while did not understand why he had to brush his teeth twice a day. For a 2 year old, twice a day is quite a bit much! I refuse to be the parent who says “because I said so,” or “because it’s good for you.” I want to give a clear, and concise reason for why I have certain expectations from my children. I found a free book online called “Bacteria Joe.” This book explains to children if they do not brush their teeth, then this little evil guy called Bacteria Joe could cause their teeth to hurt. From then on, I told my son we need to brush his teeth or “Bacteria Joe” may invade his mouth. I thought it was so clever and he totally gets it! By teaching him the “why,” it was less stress for me to force him to do a simple task such as brushing his teeth.
3) Pray you are a teachable parent. You are able to learn from your children just as much as they can learn from you.
I pray I’m open to new ideas, new ways of thinking, and new concepts. Times are changing and they change fast! Just think, we were using pagers about 20 years ago and now we have a computer device in our hands. I hope I can glean my child just as much as they can glean from me. My two boys are all 3 and under, but I have learned from them already. See my post about what I learned from my toddler here.
4) Pray you become a godly role model for your children.
At some point in our childhood, the things our parents do or say wasn’t so “cool.” Especially as a Christian, the way I live my life, my values, and thoughts, may not be “popular” or “trending” in modern society, but I hope I can show my children Jesus is indeed the “way, the truth, and the life.” I pray by setting a godly example, they will be able to choose for themselves that allowing mainstream opinions or mainstream agenda may not always be the best idea. I pray I can show them the fruits of the Lord and lead by Jesus’ example, so they can choose to live that way too.
5) Pray you can exercise gentleness with your children.
My 3.5 year old son has expressed to me how much it hurts him when I yell at him (heartbreak). If you’re like me, I tend to shut down if someone yells or shouts. Is it possible my son may react in the same way? Perhaps there is some sort of chemical reaction in our bodies when someone negatively yells at us. What do you think? Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Bible teaches us to be “slow in anger.” I teach my child to use his “normal voice,” and yet here I am raising my tone to 10 decibels. It is a process, but I’m finding gentleness is much more effective than raising my tone. I also find when I’m distracted, it was easier to resort to yelling. If I take a moment to pause, reflect on my emotions, and take TIME to look my child in his eyes to speak to him at his level, I receive a better response.
What else have you prayed as a parent for yourself? Did you find this post helpful? I would love to hear you in the comments! Happy praying!