I grew up in the age of Nintendo, fuzzy TVs with a knob to change the channel, and having to blow into a game cartridge to get it working again. Whenever we played video games and got stuck, there was always a cheat sheet that you could turn to (an actual folder you had to buy, not download). It gave us all the secrets on how to perfectly move through a game – scoring all the points, finding the hidden passageways, and achieving the highest score. It was incredible!!
When parents bring a child home from the hospital or through adoption, a common joke is that kids don’t come with an instruction manual or cheat sheet. That is very true. I honestly think the same thing could be said for any relationship you have. Whether it’s a friend, a coworker, or a significant other, there is no playbook for how to interact with them.
Real relationships aren’t strengthened without a little misunderstanding and reconciliation. A good parenting relationship isn’t made without frustrations, calming down, apologies, and a good hug. We are going to mess up, step on each other’s toes, and need to apologize or forgive someone. Those are the interactions that can bind us together.
There is no cheat sheet for every parenting challenge (unfortunately), but there are resources, advice, and wise counsel we can seek to help us. Your greatest resource will be other parents around you. Community is essential when raising kids. It’s also good to hear from people who are experts in a field your child is wrestling with.
Below are a few other resources I’ve found helpful for parents. Nobody knows your child better than you, but someone might have insight on a season they are in that could be helpful.
- Parent Cue: blogs, books, and articles that are a great resource for parents
- Winning at Home: tackles topics that confuse kids and scare parents. Written by Dan Seaborn and his counseling/coaching team.
Author: Family Life Pastor, Derek Laird