Parenting today is a pressure cooker. In and out of the church, you can count at least 9 parenting pressures. If you’re feeling them, you are not alone. Here’s part one of a two-part series by guest blogger Sarah Walton, a stay at home mom with four kids under the age of 8. This article appeared first on Unlocking the Bible and is used with permission. –Ed.
Pressures of 21st Century Parenting
From the first time I became a parent eight-and-a-half years ago, with three more little ones to follow, one thing has remained the same: There is immense pressure to keep up with the unrealistic and often unhealthy expectations that we, as parents, put on ourselves and feel from others.
Some of these pressures have always been a part of the parenting journey, but there continues to be more and more pressure bombarding parents today.
Nine Parenting Pressures
Here are a few of the pressures I have seen in my own parenting experience, as well as those that I have observed:
1. My child must be in structured activities, early childhood education, and sports by the earliest age possible if they are going to be successful and able to keep up with other kids their age.
2. My child must be entertained at all times, especially if I need them to be quiet or want them to be happy. Entertainment might include going to the toddler movie and popcorn time at the movie theater, needing creative crafts and activities at their immediate disposal, having the latest gadget that all the kids are talking about, and being technologically savvy and entertained by the computer, TV, iPad, phone, and video games.
3. My child must be well-mannered, self-controlled, and obedient at all times in public (especially in church), or I must be doing something wrong as a parent.
4. My child must excel at something to keep up with all the other baby geniuses. Otherwise I might just have an “average” child.
5. My child will be disadvantaged if my husband and I both don’t work, in order to provide the best for them.
6. If my child isn’t reading by the age of four, I must have done something wrong (I didn’t play them music in the womb, show them Baby Einstein videos through infancy, or provide an intellectually stimulating environment for them).
7. If I have no choice but to work, I am not as good of a mom as those who stay home. Or, if I have the blessing of staying home with my children, I am not contributing or helping the family and am wasting my gifts and talents.
8. My child must begin a sport or cultural arts activity by the earliest age possible or they won’t be able to compete with their peers. He or she needs to play on a traveling team, even if requires all of our time, energy, and money, in order that we provide the best opportunities for them.
9. My child must be ________: homeschooled, in private education, or in the public school system; vaccinated or not vaccinated; fed organic food or not; the list goes on.
I think it’s safe to say that many parents today can relate to many, if not all, of these pressures. Of course, not all of these are bad within themselves (a little TV time, a library story time, a sports camp, crafts to do at home, etc.), but they can subtly plant lies in our heads and create overwhelming expectations that are not in line with what God desires for us as parents. Unfortunately, these pressures can suck the joy, contentment, simplicity, and sweetness out of raising the children we have been blessed to raise.
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