3 Strategic Ways to Broaden Your Parenting Perspective

family Aug 13, 2023
3 Strategic Ways to Broaden Your Parenting Perspective

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

– Proverbs 15:22


 

Introduction

Parenting is a funny thing: It is simultaneously vital and impossible to plan. Vital, because raising children is the most important work that parents will do and it requires great focus and thoughtfulness. And impossible, because there is no way you can prepare yourself for everything your children will bring into your life. 

Many of us base our own parenting styles and methods upon our own experiences as children, and by watching the habits of people we love and trust. We read books about the techniques of communication and discipline, using the helpful parts and rejecting the rest. If you’ve spent any time doing this yourself, you’ve probably realized that every book has its strengths and weaknesses, and some resources are more applicable to certain life-stages than others. The same is true of families: Each one is unique in its formation and journey. While drawing from your own experience and the examples of friends is a wonderful tool at your disposal, it is also important to realize that your family may require something different.

 

Utilizing Media

There are a variety of books, podcasts, blogs, websites, and videos that can provide powerful and unique perspectives about parenting in various life-stages. Some of the information will apply to your family and some may not. And what does apply will eventually change over time. Carefully evaluate whether the information you’re hearing or reading is biblical, and whether it fits your family’s particular situation. Discernment is key!

You can also figure out what kind of media works best for you. A great parenting book isn’t much use if you hate to read. Videos, podcasts, or audiobooks might be more up your alley, and we encourage you to try to incorporate them into your lifestyle. In our family, Derek is an audiobook fan and he does a lot of listening in the car. Amy prefers podcasts and tends to have them on while she’s cleaning and driving. We’ve gotten some fun ideas from both of these resources. For example, we love putting together photobooks (we got this idea from a podcast). We’ve made them for birthdays to highlight a child’s previous year, and also our trips so that we can share and reflect on the memories we made.

 

In-Person Events

This may not work for every family, but another way to learn about other parenting techniques is by attending conferences, retreats, or joining a mastermind group. A mastermind group is a peer-to-peer mentorship aimed at helping members solve their problems by getting input and advice from the others in their group. Each of these options offers the unique benefit of a dedicated space and time where couples can focus on becoming more effective in their homes by learning from experts and networking with other parents.

We personally try to get away to mastermind events 2-3 times per year. They give us focused time to discuss our family together, both at the meetings themselves and also while we’re traveling. Through these events, we’ve been inspired to be intentional in various areas of our lives including family suppers and meetings, vacations, celebrating spiritual milestones, and weekly church involvement.

 

Iron Sharpening Iron

As we mentioned in the introduction, directly learning from others who have gone before you is an excellent resource when it comes to your parenting life. This can be family members, friends, acquaintances, or a parenting group. These relationships can help shed light onto methods that were successful (or not), as well as a place to share ideas and experiences. You may even have an opportunity to reach out to a mentor or parent you admire for advice; this is a great idea!

In our parenting journey, we’ve employed all of these resources. Amy tends to have a lot of casual conversations with other parents and we both have mentors. We’ve participated in parenting discussions and reached out to people we admire for advice. We realize that all of these things are going to take time and effort, but the benefit to our family has been worth it. Plus, it’s forced us to get a bit creative. Sometimes we’ve brought the kids with us to our discussions, and other times we’ve invited people over to our home. One of our favorite things to do is to have 3-5 other families over at once and discuss a particular parenting topic in a relaxed setting. We get to benefit from each other and the kids play. Everyone wins.

Some of our favorite family traditions have grown from these relationships. We do birthday Bible verses with our kids (they each choose a verse around their birthday that we learn and recite together), and we take one-on-one trips. We also read together as a family and practice specific morning routines in order to emphasize good habits. All of these practices stem from conversations we’ve had with others.

 

Conclusion

When you discover new parenting techniques, it’s best to start with a few small steps you can incorporate into your family rhythm and routine. Make sure everyone is aware of what you’ll be starting to implement, and get feedback from your family to evaluate if these new things are helping or hindering your life together…and don’t be afraid to modify or stop things! If something isn’t working for you, that’s not failure. It just isn’t a fit for you.

We also would like to share a word of caution: Be careful about posting parenting questions on social media. People who respond to you won’t necessarily know where you are on your parenting journey or your unique family situation. They also may be operating from an entirely different worldview and their advice could confuse you or point you in the wrong direction. It’s always best to compare any advice we receive to Scripture!

 

Key Points

  • There are many ways to parent, and we encourage families to evaluate options through reading or listening to books and podcasts, watching videos, following blogs, etc.
  • Attending a parenting conference can be a tremendous resource.
  • Be cautious about asking people for advice who are not familiar with your unique family situation. This can be overwhelming or confusing.
  • Evaluate any parenting advice or tips in light of what the Bible has to say.

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