As I talk to mothers across the country, I hear it more and more, “I’m afraid I’ll do something to mess my kid up”.
I want us to take a step back from that statement and think deeply about what that real fear might be.
- Do we think that we might say something that will make our child want to leave home and never speak to us again?
- Are we afraid that our actions might cause our kids to make choices like drinking, taking drugs, cutting, getting pregnant, or something else?
- Do we think that they’ll need to be in therapy when they get older because of something we did?
- Are we fearful that if we don’t teach our kid everything they need to know our child might make a mistake and something bad will happen to them?
I’ve heard some women make comments like this and laugh afterwards hoping it comes across as a joke. I wonder if deep down, under the surface, there is a subtle thought that one false move could turn their fear into a nightmare. I wonder if holding onto that fear will move them toward abdicating their God given authority and perhaps swing them into the permissive parenting zone in order to not rock the boat with their kids?
Let’s face it. We all want to be the best mom we can possibly be to our kids and the reality is that we won’t always get it right.
I hope you are breathing a sigh of relief here.
I hope you are taking a deep breath and letting that reality sink in.
You can let go of the fear, the anxiousness, and the “did I do that right? questioning”. We don’t have to always second guess our decisions and wonder if everything will be okay. The bottom line is that sometimes it won’t be all right. Sometimes we will cause our child pain or frustration. That is how they have to learn at times.
We also need to remember that we aren’t God. If we parent as if we are in control of our kids’ world and their happiness, we’ll most likely mess them up anyway.
If you will, take a step back and think of where God has woven the tapestry of your own life. Your childhood set you on a path. You learned some tough things as you grew up. You learned survival skills, and how to take ownership. You learned that there will be good times and bad times. You learned that your parents aren’t perfect and that sometimes Christians don’t always act like Christians. You learned about relationships, and conflict, and a host of other things. And sometimes it was painful. And, yes, sometimes we’ve had to go to counseling for it so that we can better understand our past.
And that is okay. Life should be a growth process.
The contexts in which you have learned have been in every aspect of your life — as a student, as a daughter, as a sister, as a wife, as an employee, and as a friend. Through those contexts God has woven our testimony for our good and for His glory.
And He will do the same for our kids if we don’t get in the way.
Can we trust Him?
We don’t have to feel the weight of being the perfect mom. We just need to be the best we possibly can given the tools we have in the moment. The best thing we can do is learn who we are in the context of scripture and apply principles from His Word so that we will be what our kid needs in the day to day of life.
We need to give our tweens and teens the freedom to make choices. We need to build relationship. We need to encourage independence. We need to resolve conflict well. We need to interact with respect. We need to apologize when we mess things up. And we need to be their safety net when they make wrong choices.
God is weaving our kids’ journey that He wants to use for His glory. And truth is that we might not like the path He allows them to go down.
The question we need to ask is, “Will we let Him be in control?” Or, will we take ownership fearing that we will mess them up?
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
1 Peter 5:6
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Letting go of fear means that we don’t have to worry or fret any more. Letting go of fear means we can love more deeply regardless of the choices our kids make. Letting go of fear is that we can admit that sometimes we will blow it.
Letting go of fear means that we trust God’s promise that He will work all things together for our good.
Dare you to see where fear might be impacting your relationship with your teen.
“Let go…and Let God”,
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