How Hard Can Parenting Be?

September 4, 2019 • Holly Capp, ELCA School Counselor

“Now, I look back and laugh at my naivety… Unfortunately, I learned that the worry never seems to end, only that the reason for the worry changes.”

Parenting:  Easy or Hard???  I suppose it depends on your stage in the process and the meaning of “hard.”  Expectant parents consider the delivery to be hard, with new parents calling sleepless nights hard. But what about seasoned parents and those who have many years under their belts? What do they consider “hard?” 

My husband and I definitely felt ill-prepared for parenting and feared the unknown.  We didn’t know how to change a diaper, how to feed a baby, and my husband had barely even held an infant.  After the first year, though, we felt like we had conquered the hard parts.  We were sleeping well, had mastered diapers, and had checked off every box that the Ezzo’s suggested in the Prep For Parenting Handbook.  How could this be hard moving forward???

Now, I look back and laugh at my naivety.    There was certainly a lull in stress once we began to sleep again, but that honeymoon phase only lasted about a year until our precious child learned to walk and inadvertently fell, requiring lots of stitches and a cast.  Sleepless nights due to hunger and soiling had ended, but sleepless nights due to worry were just beginning.  Unfortunately, I learned that the worry never seems to end, only that the reason for the worry changes. 

Yes, every stage of parenting is hard.  I now have a 21 year old, and though I don’t see him very often, it is probably the hardest stage yet.  He is in the stage where I want to tell him what to do, but I can’t enforce my advice.  With my 18 year old, I can’t say what I am thinking because it will just close doors to communication.  With my 13 year old, I am having to force myself to be engaging instead of distracted, and with my 7 year old, I am continually reminding myself to enjoy every moment that she wants to interrupt me because she will quickly not be 7 any longer. 

Despite the uniqueness of every stage, there is one thing that is constant … our call to focus on the heart.  It doesn’t matter if our child is newly born or 21…they all need us to faithfully shepherd their hearts towards Jesus.  This shepherding does not have an 18 year fence around it’s pasture.  Nor does it call on us to keep the pasture looking good for passers-by.  This shepherding has us walking personally with each member of our flock and to point them to the One True Shepherd, Jesus Christ.  We don’t do that through words and actions alone, we do that through personal relationships, first our own relationship with the True Shepherd and secondly through our imitation of Him with those around us. 

With that said, there is a great parenting conference coming up on this very subject.  ELCA will welcome Dr. Tedd Tripp, author of “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” on Friday, September 13 and Saturday, September 14 for a weekend that will impact your family for years to come! Using biblical-teaching, Dr. Tripp helps equip parents to speak to the heart of their children.

All parents could use a little encouragement and some tools that equip you to become more effective in guiding our children through life. No matter your season of life, this parenting conference is for you. 

Please plan to join us. Visit http://eagleslanding.org/parenting/ for more information and to register.

Holly Capp is ELCA’s Licensed Mental Health Professional.  She holds a degree from Wofford College (BS Psychology) and the University of Georgia (Masters Social Work).  She has been licensed in the State of Georgia for Clinical Social Work since 1994.  In 2007, she transitioned to ELCA as the school counselor. Mrs. Capp is also the director of the World Impact Program. Holly and her husband Jac have four children: Justin (Class of 2016), Isaiah (Class of 2019), Kristen (future Class of 2024), Hannah (future Class of 2030), two dogs and a cat. Her family have been active members of ELFBC since 1999.