Oh, the joys of parenthood! As a mom of three daughters, two of which are teens now, I must admit that I have searched up some pretty embarrassing things, just to see – is this normal? Am I the only one dealing with this? Will this last forever? Am I a bad mom if… And on and on.
Thank you, Google. If you haven’t noticed, there is a lot of information out there. It can be overwhelming. Instead of finding hope, we can quickly become frustrated or disheartened.
Thankfully, as Christ-followers, we have an official rulebook. The Bible. So, take a deep breath, and let’s uncover some of those burning questions parents have but are too embarrassed to ask. What do child experts and real moms and dads have to say? Better yet, what wisdom does God offer us? Let’s find out!
Questions From Parents of Infants and Toddlers
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1. How many hours is “sleeping through the night,” and will it ever happen?
Experts say that sleeping through the night varies with each baby. Well, gee, that didn’t really help. But before you start scrolling through your phone at 3 am searching for ways to soothe your baby back to sleep so you can get some much-needed rest, know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. By six months, they generally sleep 10-12 hours without feeding. Not always, but usually. You can do this! Pray and ask God to give you both the rest you need. (Matthew 11:28)
2. What if breastfeeding is hard and I want to give up?
Breastfeeding does not come naturally for all mothers. I understand the deep disappointment, confusion, and doubt that comes along with wanting to give up. If breastfeeding challenges begin causing significant stress to you or your baby, don’t beat yourself up. Give yourself a break and try again if you feel the need. But, if, for whatever reason, you and your baby just can’t find the rhythm, it’s ok. They are still getting what they need through a bottle, and you can still bond in so many other ways. Let God comfort you today, sweet momma. (Isaiah 66:13)
3. Will sex be the same after we have a baby?
Most likely, it will be different. But not necessarily in a bad way. The main reason is that many couples don’t open up and share how they feel about this topic. Between tending to a newborn and going on little sleep, sex becomes lost amid parenthood. Especially when mothers are told to wait at least six weeks after the baby is born. Not to mention, many women feel uncomfortable and a little self-conscious about their bodies after giving birth. But don’t lose hope. Recognize that postpartum sex will most likely not feel good – at first. However, once hormones level out and you’ve got your baby on a better sleep schedule, you will learn how to utilize times to spend with your spouse, and it will feel good again. Many couples claim it’s even better! So, just be patient with one another and talk about how you feel.
Song of Solomon 7:6 How beautiful you are and how pleasing, my love, with your delights!
Related article: Rediscover Romance After Parenthood
4. Is baby/toddler poop supposed to be green, blue, yellow?
Yes, most of the time, it is totally normal. Phew! That first baby poo might lead you to believe you have an alien, but don’t fear – it’s normal. Just stock up on baby wipes and get a clothespin for your nose because you might need it.
5. Is it bad if we don’t stick to a schedule?
The “perfect” baby schedule. Does it exist? You’ve heard it all. Nap while they nap. Make sure they sleep this long, eat this much, get this much social time. While schedules can help some moms, they can stress others out. Take a deep breath. Do what works best for you and your baby, and let the rest of it go. You’re doing your best; that is all that is needed.
Questions From Parents of School-Aged Children
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6. My child is lonely and doesn’t have friends; how do I help?
This is such a tender issue. One that many children face as they grow up. By being a proactive parent and stepping up to help foster friendships, you will both benefit greatly. Be the one that plans the playdates. Get involved in their school or church activities and strive to know other parents that have children the same age as your child(ren). Remind your child that sweet friendships take time to form, and those that refresh our souls and make us a better person are worth waiting for. (Proverbs 27:9)
7. The teacher called, now what?
These calls are never easy for you or the teacher. When you get “that call” from the teacher, ask how you can help, and then respond to it with firm love at home. We must be our child’s biggest fans, but we also must make them stand firm in their own convictions. As they grow, they will need to understand that their choices come with consequences, good or bad.
8. How do I handle embarrassing questions my kids ask me?
Your cheeks blush as your child makes a remark in the store that makes you want to crawl in a hole and hide. Don’t fret; we’ve all been there. I’ve actually tried to make it a joke by saying, “Whose child is that?” and slowly stepping away. But, in all seriousness, if it seems to have upset or offended someone, offer quick apologies, and then use it as a teachable moment.
9. My child is being bullied; what do I do?
Bullying should always be taken seriously. Talk with your child and try to understand what is happening. Then discuss the importance of notifying a trusted adult when something occurs, or they feel unsafe. Work closely with your child’s teachers or counselors as needed. Help them learn ways to stand firm and step away before things escalate. Seek outside counseling if needed to have your child learn coping skills.
Most importantly – Pray! Pray for your child and the one that is bullying. Yes, you read that right; pray for them too. (Matthew 5:44)
10. Will my child survive on chicken nuggets alone?
As parents, we often strive to feed our children healthy meals. For some families, this comes rather easy, while for others, mealtime is a real struggle. If your child is a picky eater, take heart. Over the years, as your child grows and hits growth spurts, they will usually go through patterns with food quantity and quality. Keep trying to offer them various foods. Involve them in meal planning and prep. Limit snacks and just do the best you can. If all they want to eat is chicken nuggets, then take a deep breath, and offer green beans and fruit on the side.
Related article: How to Help Your Kids Have a Healthy Relationship With Food
Questions From Parents of Tweens/Teens
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11. How much technology or social media should they be exposed to?
This is a tricky question and not a “one size fits all” answer. It honestly depends on the teen. How responsible they are and how much trust they have earned. In this day in age, our teens are immersed in technology. Whether parents decide to hold back or not, their teen will be exposed to it at some point. Slowly give your teen freedom as they grow older and provide boundaries that allow them to view what is safe. Discuss with them the importance of guarding their hearts and minds. This will be a lesson in self-control on their part, and ours too, while we balance restrictions and freedoms.
Related article: 3 Things Every Teen Should Know about Social Media
12. My teen has a boyfriend/girlfriend…how do I handle this?
Boundaries. Discuss with them the importance of boundaries. Set rules together with your teen that you both feel comfortable with. Limits on dating, physical intimacy, interaction via text and other social apps, and time spent together. Get to know their boyfriend/girlfriend. Invite them over to your home and have a meal together. As parents, we can only lead and guide them to seek healthy relationships and hope and pray that God protects them when we can’t.
Related article: Should Teenagers Be Allowed to Date?
13. How much is too much freedom?
Freedom is given when trust is earned. And our teens want to earn our trust. They want to prove they are capable. We just have to let them show us that. It’s not easy slowly steeping away, especially when they fail or make choices that break our hearts. However, every choice they make gives them the opportunity to earn trust and be granted more freedom. We can do our best as parents, but as they grow up, we have to recognize we are asked to set the foundation and train them (Proverbs 22:5), and the rest is up to them.
14. How to deal with lies or bad choices?
It’s disheartening to watch your child make choices that go against the way you taught them. And it is even more upsetting when they lie about it. Get to the root of the problem and have a sit-down conversation about the choices they made and why they did it. It is usually to hide something, to escape punishment or disappointment, or fear of judgment and being viewed differently. Understanding their heart and mind behind the issue usually helps us as parents administer consequences. Hebrews 13:7 points out the need for mentors. Seek outside help as needed and refer to youth pastors while leaning on trusted friends for support.
Related article: 5 Things to Know Before Your Teen Goes to a Friend’s House
15. My teen and I don’t get along. Will we ever find a middle ground?
Most parents and teens will go through a season of trials and tribulations, where they just don’t see eye-to-eye on things. This is our teen’s way of pulling away so they can become their own person. In the end, our teens want to be taken seriously and to feel valued. They want us to talk with them, not at them. They still want our support but seek space to grow. It’s a constant balancing act of loving strong and fierce but slowly letting go.
Related article: What to Do When Your Teen’s Behavior Feels Out of Control
A Prayer for Parents
We thank you for the precious gift of our children. We ask that you lead us as we nurture them. Help us love when it is hard, and teach us to understand, listen and be patient on this journey. Give our children the wisdom to walk in a way that honors You. Open their hearts and minds to the purpose and plan You have for their lives. Hold us all in in the safety of Your loving hands and lead and guide us on a righteous path.
In Jesus’ name.
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Alicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy. Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.