10 Fears Every Parent Struggles With

mom holding baby looking worried and stressed in kitchen, lies parents believe

Follow your heart, they say. Trust your gut.

It is common, well-meant advice, but not the kind I need to follow. I don’t know about you, but as for me, I am a fleshly, in-process human whose heart and mind don’t always think and feel the right things. Wrapping truth around my thinking doesn’t always come naturally. I must intentionally work at.

Sometimes we need to talk to ourselves rather than listen to ourselves. For most of us, our thinking and feeling must be led.

As parents, our thinking can get us into trouble. Lies can creep in and deceptively mirror good truths. These lies can thwart all our efforts to parent well. They can intimidate us and paralyze us with fear. Those lies are worth confronting. After all, parenting is our most important job, our ultimate role.

If we aren’t intentional, these 10 sneaky lies can creep in and impact how we parent.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Drazen Zigic

  • 1. <strong>Every single other parent is doing a much better job.</strong>

    1. Every single other parent is doing a much better job.

    Social media tells us so, doesn’t it? It has wreaked havoc on our expectations. It can seem to us that everyone else’s kids are always joyful, content, and perfect. But it's just a complete lie, an illusion. Yes, different parents have different strengths, but God didn’t make US the parents of our children so we’d try to mimic everyone else. He made US for the job. If we constantly compare ourselves with others, or the highlight real of the public version of others, then this lie has gotten us off track.

    The truth is that all of us are navigating this parenting road for the first time. We’re all making mistakes, falling, and then picking ourselves back up because the job of parent rolls right along. Sometimes we parent well and sometimes we parent poorly. It is our hearts that the Lord cares about, our hearts that our kids need.

    Let’s keep our eyes on our own lanes and try each day to just do our best by our kids.

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  • stressed mom with girls play fighting in background

    2. If we follow all the suggested “best practices” in parenting, then our kids will behave, achieve, believe, and turn out just fine.

    It just isn’t so, as much as we wish it would be. Nothing is guaranteed. Every child is unique. Every family is unique. God doesn’t promise us comfort, ease, and guarantees. He promises that we will have trouble.

    We can almost count on the fact that the unexpected will happen with our kids, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively.

    All we can do is do our best every day, pray for our kids, teach them, and then give them over to the Lord. The very best we can do for them is to entrust them to their Heavenly Father and keep our expectations in check. To do our best and face whatever outcome is given.

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  • 3. <strong>My child is an untouched canvas waiting to be filled.</strong>

    3. My child is an untouched canvas waiting to be filled.

    This lie places us in the role of Lord over their lives. Our kids have all been made fully unique. The Lord is creative, and each person He made is a rare and precious gift.

    We aren’t creating adults. We are helping our kids become the adults the Lord made them to be.

    4. I messed up, so my kids are messed up for life.

    This lie is paralyzing. That feeling of defeat can prevent us from prayerfully looking forward. It steals our hope.

    We are fleshy, in-process humans who mess up all the time. The goal is to ask the Lord to use us despite ourselves and to help us move forward as He would have us after our mistakes.

    Our kids will mess up too, so let’s use our mistakes as examples of how to handle muddled messes with grace and remorse.

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  • 5. <strong>If my kids are bored, then I am not a good parent.</strong>

    5. If my kids are bored, then I am not a good parent.

    It is best when we get to laugh with our kids. It is a wonderful feeling when they throw their heads back and laugh with us at a movie, or when they engage with us for a game of driveway basketball. These are the moments we want. They are the moments we dream of when they are babies. But that is not real life, and it is not realistic.

    Our kids need to be bored. They need to see and experience real life and how to navigate it. Let's keep our expectations in check and teach our kids the beauty in ordinary days.

    Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Sam Thomas

  • 6. <strong>I can hide my stress, anger, or grief, and they won’t affect my children.</strong>

    6. I can hide my stress, anger, or grief, and they won’t affect my children.

    Our instinct as parents is to protect our kids. We want to spare them from harm, including mental harm, so we hide our difficult feelings. We hide our challenges. We hesitate to show them our tears, anger, or stress.

    The truth is that we are bad at hiding. Our kids might not be sensitive to our every emotion, but they do pick on the vibe. They detect stress in the home, and they react. So let's be honest with our kids, real. Let’s show them how to handle the challenges of life.

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  • 7. <strong>I can protect my children from harm.</strong>

    7. I can protect my children from harm.

    As soon as our kids are first placed in our arms, everything in us wants to swaddle them in our protective arms. In the beginning, it can feel as though we have total authority over their safety, total control over what they encounter. Unfortunately, harm will come. Again, all we can do is entrust our children to the Lord’s care. Releasing ourselves from the ability to control the harm that might come is freeing.

    8. I am solely responsible for teaching my child everything necessary to develop a strong faith.

    It is our job to train our kids up, but we don’t do that alone. We aren’t that powerful. Only the Lord can draw hearts to Himself. We can consistently teach kids about the Lord, read the Bible with them, take them to church, and talk to them about our faith.

    We can also model our faith. But ultimately, it is the Lord who draws people to Himself.

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  • 9. <strong>I must meet my child’s every need.</strong>

    9. I must meet my child’s every need.

    We will never meet our child’s every need. We'd love to be able to, but we were not designed to do so. It just isn’t possible. Only the Lord can meet all our needs.

    We’ll fall short every time. Expecting ourselves to be able to will result in constant feelings of defeat. Again, let's reconsider our expectations and give ourselves grace.

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  • mom and child talking in kitchen

    10. I must say all the right words all the time.

    Yes, they do need our wisdom. The Lord has entrusted us to raise them, and there is so much that they need to hear from us. But they also desperately need to be listened to. They need us to teach them how to process unknowns, handle fears, and navigate difficult situations.

    Emily P. Freeman, the author of The Next Right Thing, suggests that we pause and “ask not tell.”  She suggests that we ask our children questions to be able to know and understand when they come to us afraid, upset, angry, or embarrassed.

    We'll never be able to say all the right things. Only God can meet that need.

    There is much that we are believing as parents that just isn’t true. And these lies hold us back as parents. They steal our joy and add unnecessary complications.

    There is so much more freedom to be had for us as parents. Isn’t it freeing simply to realize that some of what we are believing are just lies?

    So how do we avoid these deceptive untruths?

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  • 4 Ways for Parents to Respond to Lies

    4 Ways for Parents to Respond to Lies

    1. We pray. We ask God for discernment and freedom from the lies we hold on to. We ask Him to help us focus on His truth and His guidance in all our parenting. Let’s even ask Him to forgive us for holding on to beliefs that weren’t true. 
    2. We can read the Truth. We can spend time in the Bible, asking God for the truth about what He wants from us as parents to settle deep into our hearts and minds. 
    3. We can seek godly counsel and mentorship. Finding spiritually wise parents we admire and to follow and admire can make all the difference. They can point us back to the Lord in real time both through their example and their counsel. 
    4.  We can listen for the Holy Spirit. In all things, pausing to wait for the guidance of the Holy Spirit can help us moment to moment. Parenting is simply hard, but we do have a voice of truth that resides within us. It is a matter of learning to listen.

    Let’s all consider what we are believing and ask then ourselves who told us that? Who told us that we must be perfect and meet every need?

    It certainly wasn’t the Lord, and it is only His voice that matters. Accepting lies as truths impede our ability to parent well and steal our joy. Our kids need us, the parent the Lord created us to be.

    Take heart, parents. Though we are imperfect, we are the right parents for the job.

    Rebecca Radicchi, her husband and crew of kids, live outside Atlanta, where the summers are hot and the tea is sweet. She’s ridden the waves of adoption, breast cancer, and being the mom of kids with complex medical needs. And, through it all, she’s seen that abundance can be found in the uncomfortable hard and in the easy beautiful. She’s also discovered that whether she’s passing bread at the kitchen table, clock-watching in a hospital waiting room, or listening to a neighbor on a porch swing, God always has something to say. It’s a wonder really. She encourages others to listen for it too on her website and Instagram, and also connects with adoptive families at No Hands But Ours.

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