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Parenting Perspective: Overwhelmed by Advice

Kind of an ironic name for a parenting blog, huh?

Do you feel overwhelmed by all the parenting advice available out there? Do you scroll social media and think, that sounds so good, when you run across a gentle parenting reel? Do you wonder how to balance the way your parents raised you, the way your spouse's parents raised them, all the things you want for your child, and then what the rest of the world thinks? I'm going to help you sort through the noise and find your way to what works best for you and your family.

When I got married, I felt like I'd done all the research to know exactly the right way to raise our children. I'd heard parents say, "I did the best I could with the information I had," kind of shrugging like the damage they'd done in their ignorance was excusable. It had angered me, so I'd decided I'd be intentional about how I parented when the time came. I'd devoured parenting resources like candy, and I was sure I'd figured out the best formula for raising disciplined, respectful, brilliant children who loved the Lord, were kind, and were physically strong and capable.

Enter child #1, and a shocking thing happened: my husband had a strong opinion about how we'd raise her, and it wasn't the same as mine! It had literally never crossed my mind that anyone else would have an opinion on how I raised my children, much less one that was different than my obviously brilliant one.

Beyond your spouse, there are so many books out there on parenting! Don't forget the podcasts, sermons, classes, and blogs. And they all disagree with one another! It's enough to paralyze a person into inaction, just trying to figure out which strategy you should use.

The good news I have for you today is that YOU ARE THE PARENTS.

Obviously. But make sure you truly understand this truth: God gave you and your spouse the children you have because they were exactly who you needed (and who needed you). So, here's my advice on overwhelming parenting advice... Collect all the research and opinions you want, but at the end of the day, you have to do what works best for you. You don't need to apologize to anyone for it. The only person who you need to be aligned with is your spouse - even if that alignment is just temporary until you can figure out what you both can agree on.

Pray. Ask God to show you exactly what you need to do. It might be different for each child you have. It probably should be. We're all so unique, what works for one isn't likely to work for another. If your child knows you love them unconditionally, they'll be able to forgive your missteps. Give yourself some grace and set your intentions to be a good parent.

Listen for God to speak to you by abiding in quiet with Him. Don't always be the one talking when you pray. He will give you wisdom and discernment, and those are two of the main things you need as a parent. I'm in the trenches with you, constantly begging God to guide me - especially with starting middle school this year.

My husband and I are from different generations and we still don't have the same opinions on parenting. His ideas on sleep training (which I fully intended to do) were to throw that book right out the window and hold our babies as long as they want to be held. We had one child who had to be dealt with differently, and my knowledge of sleep training was put to the test with that one. Everything we thought we'd figured out about parenting with our older two has pretty much been useless with our youngest. However, there are a few things we agree on that form the foundation for all we do. They have emerged with time and practice.

My guess is that you've heard one or two things that have formed the basis for how you parent at this point. I'd love to hear what they are - good or bad. Share them in the comments and let's learn from one another.



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