Parenting During the Pandemic: Biblical Tips for Families
We’ve been pandemic parents for a while now, and moms are not alone in feeling the depths of their inabilities; so now is the time to consider how we can grow and adapt to our new circumstances. It’s hard not to be reactionary when faced with the unexpected but we know that God
gives us what we need for life and godliness through knowing God (2 Peter 1:3). These moments of adversity are actually opportunities to parent our children better. Maggie Combs, author of Motherhood Without All the Rules, offers five opportunities to parent well in the pandemic:
Help your children identify what they want and offer solutions
When kids (and parents too) act out, it’s usually because they aren’t getting what they want (James 4:1-2). You can diffuse tense moments with your kids by asking: “What do you want right now that you’re not getting?” Then, depending on their response, you can help them process their desire. Sometimes it’s as simple as wanting their toy to work, when they assume it is broken. When their desire is simple, all you need to do is help them. Remind them, “Next time, before you get upset, just ask me if I
can help you.” If they want something they just can’t have right now, explain why they can’t have it while offering empathy and a different solution: “I know, I’d love to have a friend over right now too. It’s such a
bummer. Could we set up an online meetup with your friend instead?” If it’s something they’ll have to wait for again offer empathy and reward patience. “We can’t do screen time yet, but if you can wait until after dinner with a happy heart, mom will let you have a couple extra minutes
today.” When provided with the right opportunity, remind your children that we find our desires met in God (Psalm 73:25-26).
Remind your children that although this season of life is hard, we get to choose how we respond to hard things
Between social-distancing and online learning and simply being stuck at home, the coronavirus pandemic may be the hardest circumstances your children have ever had to experience. Routinely ask your kids how they are doing: Are they bored? Afraid? Lonely? Offer empathy while reminding them that they get to choose their response. Offer empathy while
reminding them that they can choose to focus their thoughts on the God who loves and cares for them and is working all things — even hard things — for their good (Romans 8:28).
Involve them in decision making
Modeling is the best opportunity you have for teaching your children how to make difficult decisions. In an age-appropriate manner, discuss your family’s plan for school, extracurricular activities, and social activities. Share information you have learned and ask for their opinion before you make your decision. Use the time sharing your final decision as an
opportunity to teach your child how you weighed the different options before you chose.
Instill empathy for others
As moms we can do more than remind our children to “be kind,” but
we can be examples of empathy and kindness. Ask them to think about what it is like for people in other circumstances – the less fortunate, the elderly, those in hospitals and those people in different parts of the world who don’t have what we have here. Brainstorm opportunities for your
family to practically love your neighbors who may find themselves in greater need at this time. Consider volunteering with the efforts of your local church or reaching out to determine the needs of the unbelievers around you.
Spoiler alert: No home or family is perfect. Only Jesus did everything right, all the time. Make your home a place where no one has to be perfect, and everyone is seeking to grow in holiness. Teach your kids how to give grace to others when they mess up by giving grace to them. Then model how to give grace to yourself by admitting when your own limitations and
the times you mess up. Be quick to repent when you sin, to ask for forgiveness when your sin affects your children and to offer forgiveness when they mess up.
These five parenting techniques will help you move from just surviving, or even failing at parenting in the pandemic, and move onto growing in your parenting skills. No matter the challenges you face, God will equip you and sustain you and sanctify you. As you grow, you’ll see even more opportunities to help your kids grow in grace despite their current circumstances.
For more on Maggie Combs or to purchase her book, Motherhood Without All the Rules, go to https://www.maggiecombs.com/motherhood-without-all-the-rules
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