You aren't a parent to perform. You are a parent to parent!

I was inspired by Ashley Willis’ very honest blog about what it’s like to go somewhere with small children and feel like you are living in a goldfish bowl. This particular blog was in an open letter style TO THE OLDER COUPLE WHO STARED A HOLE THROUGH MY SONS AND ME AT LUNCH TODAY. It brought back so many memories of what it was like to be a parent of young children. Fine when everything was going well but not so easy when it wasn’t smooth running. Ashley’s story had a beautiful ending, instead of condemnation the staring couple brought compassion and support, but it isn’t true of all situations.

Focus on your kids not on the audience

When you are in a tricky situation whether it is in the middle of a crowded shopping centre, in a park or in church it’s important to remember to focus on your kids not the audience. If you focus on the audience, you will correct your children based on what you think is expected of you by the audience. Add a little ‘shame’ into the mix and you will overreact.

When 'shame' comes into parenting you will overreact! Click To Tweet

You are not a parent to perform you are a parent to parent. Don’t bow to the pressure to go into performance mode; it will drive you crazy! Try to ignore the stares, ignore your child screaming, pause and think. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve muttered a quick prayer to ask for wisdom in that type of situation.

You aren't a parent to perform. You are a parent to parent! Click To Tweet

Focus on the goal, not the present circumstances

What is your goal in parenting? If you simply parent in the short-term you will make a lot of mistakes. When your child misbehaves and you have an audience, you might give in to your child’s demands simply to keep them quiet. You know that the scene will develop to give you a larger audience if you don’t comply. That short-term solution though will spiral into the stroppy child becoming a headstrong teen becoming a selfish adult. Focusing on the end goal will enable you to make better decisions regarding how to handle situations.

As a parent focus on the goal not the present circumstances. Click To Tweet

Focus on the eternal not the temporal

As a parent, your aim is not just to get your children to do what they are told. Don’t just focus on outward obedience but focus in on your child’s heart. I made this mistake too many times when we were raising our kids. The Bible tells us to know the condition of our flocks, it might seem odd to draw the analogy to children but do we really know our kids.

What is their heart condition? If they are misbehaving why are they misbehaving? Having a relationship with your kids so you can find out what is really going on is so important! If they are struggling to deal with something or simply struggling to get past selfishness pray with them and help them through the process.

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