Parenting is a constant balancing act. Most of the time there is a moving target that is the right balance for you and your teen. The target balance is moving because your child is changing. You are also changing. Everything is changing and affects the right balance.
Rarely is it helpful to make sudden extreme changes in parenting but rather small incremental changes. Think of the tight rope walker. Their changes are very steady as they maintain that target balance that keeps them on the rope high in the air.
Personal vows can prevent us from being able to balance as a parent. Personal vows are statements like “My son will never have to grow up poor,” or “My child will never have my values forced on him,” or “I will never be mean to my kid.” Personal vows usually sound good and noble to us, but they are usually harmful for a couple reasons:
- Personal vows are usually made in a place of hurt and offense. We usually make them young when we disagree with some element of how we were raised. This means personal parenting vows are emotional thinking, not clear thinking, and emotions are poor decision makes and poor balancers. Hurting people hurt people; in this case our own kids.
- Personal vows are usually the opposite extreme of another extreme, which means they can’t be balanced. For example, a young lady who grew up in a poor family and never got to have the things other kids enjoyed. In her hurt about that she swore her child would never have to grow up poor. Fast forward 15 years and you have a single mother working 2 jobs as well as enlisted as a National Guard reserve so that she can make sure her kid has Nike shoes, but he’s having to raise himself because mom’s never there. Clearly unbalanced, right? But not to that mom because her personal vow made 15 years ago is convincing her she’s doing the right thing.
Take a few minutes and ask yourself “What is a personal vow that is affecting my parenting?” Write down whatever comes to mind. Is it based in emotion or clear thinking? Is it an extreme? Can it lead to extremes? Is it hurting your kid more than helping her? If so, say a repentance prayer. Break agreement with that vow and ask Father God for freedom to think clearly, unclouded by the hurt of your own childhood.