Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Parenting is hard.


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Parenting is hard.

Can I get an Amen?

Although there are pretty tough jobs out there, I'm thinking there is nothing harder than trying to parent well. If it's not one kid who is sassing you over every instruction, it's another kid who is willfully disobedient or not paying attention to you at all.

Yesterday was a hard parenting day.

I'm not gonna tell you how, but it was. Let's leave it at that. Someone ended up in their room before dinner ended and stayed there for the rest of the evening.

And then today, I glanced through this article and threw my hands up in the air.

It seems that there isn't much any person can do to parent well these days. No matter where I turn there is one expert or another telling me that what I know or do is wrong. But then turn around and a different expert is telling me that it's right. AHHHH!

And then there is the fact that regardless of how well I parent, how hard I work to overcome the inefficiencies in my own childhood, my kids will grow up with inefficiencies. There will be things about me that drive them nuts.  For as much as I work to teach them to make good choices, love & follow Jesus, eat good food, fill their minds with things that cause them to be creative and smart and informed, they may just choose:
to eat poorly and be unhealthy
to not care about cleanliness
to make bad choices
to be addicted to sex or drugs or alcohol or any number of negative things
to not follow Jesus (I pray not!)
and any number of things....

That is discouraging enough.

But honestly, as hard as parenting is, as real as the fight for my kid's hearts and souls are, there is nothing as frightening as a book about parenting an adopted child.


Two years ago(ish) when we started this journey, we were required to read a number of books on parenting, multicultural families, attachment and bonding, and adoption. We started with this workbook, which we did together. That was great. (Yea, we can talk about all these things--we've got this!) And then we went on to other reads. We started multicultural (yeah, we can do that, have you seen where we live?) to adoption (yeah, things can be tough, but we can do that) to attachment bonding (oh no, we can't do that, but that won't be us). We skimmed through them because we still thought we were awesome parents--our kids hadn't yet showed us the depth of their (and our own) brokenness.

In the two years since that time, I have become far more aware of my flaws and strengths. When you are more aware of such things, reading the one adoption book that has been widely recommended to us, The Connected Child, will totally freak you out.

Everything about parenting an adopted child who you are trying to attach to is different than the instinctive way we parent the kids we have now. Discipline, food, attaching, everything.

And after you have a bad day parenting, the idea of a new kid, whom you don't know, will totally freak you out. (Listen, I'm just keeping this real. Maybe you don't like my terminology or I'm not saying it quite right, but it's different. And sometimes different, all by itself, is just hard.)

If anything scares me right now, it's the idea of failing in parenting a child who has already lost so much. It's the idea that maybe we're wrong, maybe we aren't cut out for this. The needs and demands are sharp and the learning curve is steep. I don't think I'm up for it. The coward in me wants to walk away because of how hard I'm afraid it might be.

But I won't. 'Cause I know that regardless of the children in my home, parenting is just hard.

Lord Jesus, help us do this well.

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