Have you ever wanted to say something to a parent, but questioned how to go about it?
Shannon recently reminded us that we belong to each other and have a responsibility to speak into each other’s lives (see Romans 12:4-5). It’s wise to accept biblical advice, but offering it to a parent can be tricky as a non-parent.
So I asked a parent how I can give advice and it be received well. Here are 3 useful tips for us non-parents when it comes to talking to parents about parenting their kids.
1. First and foremost, offer support and often. Support can look like providing a meal or doing their laundry so they can focus on playing with their kids. Support is giving them a gift card to an activity they can do as a family. Support is watching the kids for an hour so the parents can have a break. Support is using your words to encourage and pray for them. How can you offer support to the parents in your life?
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
2. Put your ears to work. You bring a different perspective to the table, one that isn’t trying to function on 4 hours of sleep. But be sure to listen first before you say a word. Ask questions. Seek clarity. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk, sincerely listen. Also, listen to the Holy Spirit. Before you approach them, pray. While they are talking, pray. Invite the Holy Spirit into your conversation and be ready to listen to His prompting.
Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions… Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish. – Proverbs 18:2, 13
The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense. – Proverbs 10:21
3. Give them hope! Recognize that parenting isn’t easy and point out how they are shepherding their child well. They want to be a good parent, let them know where they are excelling.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. – Ephesians 4:15
Remember, you don’t know it all. You don’t know their whole story and you certainly don’t have all the answers. The truth is I’m not a parent; I don’t know what it’s like to have a 2-year-old for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don’t know what it’s like to wake up one morning to a disgruntled teenager. Have a humble attitude as you speak truth with grace. Parents put enough pressure on themselves; they don’t need to feel it from us too.
This Sunday we’re talking about how God wants to do something new in our families. While you may not be a parent, be praying for the parents in your life and offer a word of encouragement as Sunday approaches.
*This post is parent approved.