I feel for parents. We were adoptive and foster parents. We’ve experienced some of these issues, but it’s so incredibly hard when you’re dealing with something that feels like it falls outside a parenting norm, and sometimes it actually does fall outside a parenting norm. And so we’re struggling to figure out when is this normal difficult behavior and when is this outside the norm, and then, a lot of attachment-related or trauma-related issues, it is well outside the norm. And I guess as a parent, one of the things I think about is my expectation, that often I go into parenting with an expectation, “It should be easy, I want it to be easy. I want my kids’ behavior to change.” And indeed we should want to work on our children’s behavior, but for some parents, helping them is embracing the fact that you and I have a difficult task ahead of us and it might continue to be difficult.
And so it’s reorienting my expectation to say, “Lord, you’ve given me a difficult parenting situation, and help me be committed for the long haul regardless of what that takes.” And then looking for the resources that really helps me to invest and be an expert at knowing my own child and what their needs are and how to truly love them well. But one of the greatest pitfalls for us as parents is that we get sometimes too focused on behavior instead of, “Lord, help me to know what you’re calling me to do, what is my responsibility as a parent, and how do I love this child well,” and then trust the Lord with the outcome of that.