Are You Isolating Yourself From the Parenting Help You Need?

One of the most consistent frustrations of parents is the feeling that they are parenting in a vacuum. It wasn’t that way years ago. Extended families often lived close together and parents could depend upon relatives to help with raising their children. (Watch old episodes of The Waltons if you are unfamiliar with the concept.) Even the community would pitch in and help. Children knew if they did something wrong any adult had the freedom to correct them (the expectation of obedience to every adult was common) and parents would be informed if the infraction were serious enough. Even in my own childhood we would often spend the day or sometimes a couple of days and a night at the home of not only our friends, but relatives or very close family friends.

A highly mobile society has created an environment where extended family members are often hours away. We don’t necessarily know our neighbors or even the people at our church well enough to trust them with our children. Sleepovers are a potential landmine of allowing your children to spend an extended amount of time with a family whose values may encourage your children to break your rules or a family member could be a predator of some sort (at least in our minds).

Parents have often reduced their parenting support network to paid childcare workers and online communities. While there is nothing wrong with an amazing babysitter, she may not provide the same love and support a relative or close family friend (Aunties in our house) might. Chances are he or she is a teen and may not even be available very often.

This can leave you feeling exhausted, stressed and desperately searching for the expert parenting advice you need. I believe one of the many reasons God created the Church was to give Christians a supportive, like minded family who have similar godly ideals of character and attitude, as well as beliefs. That community was designed to support, encourage and hold accountable when necessary. It sounds like Christians were regularly in and out of each other’s homes, sharing meals and my guess would be, parenting support as well.

Unfortunately, COVID has robbed many Christians of the Church family as God designed it. Watching church online has become a habit for many. Others became disconnected emotionally during this time and haven’t done the work to reconnect. The news cycle is consistently negative, making the world seem even more dangerous than before. We have pulled our children into our homes as some sort of protective cocoon.

This cocoon is not good for you or your children in the long run. They need other loving supportive adults in their daily lives to encourage, nurture and hold them accountable. You need other adults your children love and respect reinforcing the things you are teaching them about God and what He wants for them and from them. They need opportunities to spread their wings a bit in another home that will still guide and protect them. You need experienced, godly moms to give you the parenting advice and encouragement God wants you to have.

It’s time to get the parenting help you need from your church family. Go back to in person worship every week. Volunteer to serve in some way. Enroll your children in Bible classes. Join Mom groups at your church, take Christian parenting classes or find a great experienced mom or two to mentor you. Practice hospitality with people who can become extended family members for you and your children. Take full advantage of the blessings your church family can provide. You were never meant to parent in isolation.

Published by

Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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