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Parenting Challenges

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When I was pregnant with my first child, I attended a trade show for my job. While there, a co-worker learned that his adult son had been in a car accident. Gathering his things as he rushed to get to the hospital, he looked at my pregnant belly and said, “You never stop being a parent, you know.” I saw the concern for his child on his face and asked, “Is it worth it?” “Oh yes,” he replied without hesitation.

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Parenting is a never-ending job, and every stage holds unique challenges. When they’re babies, we want to create a safe, healthy environment for them. When they’re toddlers, we want to use proper discipline and teach them about the world around them. When they start school, we want them to know how to interact with others and learn critical thinking skills. And when they leave home, we worry about what we may have forgotten to teach them or that they will make unwise choices. And all throughout their lives, we love them, pray for them, and hope they will choose to follow Christ.

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Just as children’s parenting needs change with each life stage, every child’s needs are different based on their individuality. What works for one may not be best for another. Just as our Father in heaven knows our needs (Matt. 7:9-11), we must adapt our parenting to each of our children’s unique needs. So when you feel frustrated, ill-equipped, or at wit’s end over your children (no matter how old they are!), turn to Jesus and ask Him for wisdom (Jas. 1:5) and guidance so you can be the parent your child needs right now.

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Someone once said that having children is like letting your heart walk around outside your chest. I knew that feeling when my children were young, but I never dreamed it would stay with me as they grew into adulthood. Becoming a parent is a guarantee that we will experience heartache at some point—whether it’s the unknowing fear of a child getting sick or hurt, or the pit-in-my-stomach anxiety of seeing a teen or adult child turn away from the values they were taught when they were young.

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That’s why having Jesus as an anchor to hold onto is so important on this parenting journey. He promises never to leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:8). He gives us peace beyond understanding (Phil. 4:6-7). He encourages us that discipline, when used correctly, produces “a harvest of righteousness and peace” (Heb. 12:11). And He assures us that God loves our children and wants nothing more than for them to spend eternity with Him (Matt. 18:10-14; Luke 15:11-32).

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Just Between Us (JBU) offers many articles about parenting through the challenges our children may throw at us. We hope you’ll spend some time perusing the resources listed here, but we also encourage you to go to Scripture and see what God shows you through His Word about how to parent wisely.

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~ Marilyn Pritchard

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