As kids, we’re told that we become who we hang out with. As adults, sometimes we forget that this cliché still applies.
Like-minded people tend to stick together, and that can be healthy or detrimental to someone’s mindset.
The Enemy loves nothing more than breeding discontent in our lives. Knowing this, I try to surround myself with certain kinds of people, and I’ve become more selective now that I have children.
Gravitate to: Parents who understand the blessing of parenthood.
When I found out I was expecting, I had mixed emotions. I was so excited and ready, but I was also nervous. Three of my friends had miscarriages within a few months of one another before I got my news, and part of me expected that I wouldn’t be any different.
Being close to the friends who experienced loss helped me truly understand that biological parenthood is not something that should be taken for granted. As my pregnancy continued without problems, my gratitude for our little blessings grew exponentially.
I don’t understand why God blessed me with twins when there are people in my life who struggle for one baby. I don’t think I ever will. But you can bet that I see how He’s blessed us!
Even on the harder days, I wouldn’t trade my daughters for anything in the world. They are gifts from God to my husband and me and gifts to the world, and I hope that our family life radiates that mindset to others.
Steer clear of: Parents who treat parenthood like an obligation.
I’ve seen how ages and career paths have impacted a couple’s choice to have children. I heard a wife talk about how because they married after she turned 30, she “couldn’t afford” to wait to have children.
They made a plan to have two kids close together, and then get her tubes tied. Sure enough, they began trying right after their wedding, they had the two children back-to-back, and she had the surgery.
What was astonishing to me was how casually they acted about the whole thing. They treated their decision to have children like a box to be checked off a list.
When they talked about being parents, it didn’t seem like they were having children because they really wanted to; it seemed like they felt like they should because “it’s what you do.”
Their mindset didn’t seem to change after their kids were born, either. There was a lot of complaining and negativity, and my husband and I stopped seeing them. We didn’t want to be around parents who took their children for granted.
Gravitate to: Parents who talk to their children like tiny adults.
In my experience, children behave much differently when they feel heard and understood. Instead of acting out and talking back, they are more likely to express understanding and obey.
When adults talk to children as like-minded people, those kids feel respected.
Obviously there are some things you can’t speak about with children, but there is a HUGE difference between dismissing them by saying they just wouldn’t understand, versus kindly saying you’d rather talk with them another time (like in ten years).
Steer clear of: Parents who speak down to their children.
It drives me crazy when I hear adults speaking down to children as though they are lesser beings.
Being older than someone does NOT give you permission to act like you are better than they are; it is an invitation for you to think outside yourself and relate to that person on their level.
Have you ever heard the saying, “be who you needed when you were younger?” I don’t know about you, but I didn’t need to feel belittled as a kid. I needed people who were willing to help me understand things I felt were mysteries. I didn’t want to be kept in the dark—I wanted to know.
Gravitate to: Parents who speak kindly about their spouse and/or children, even if they aren’t around.
I love hearing my friends gush about their spouses and kids because it’s one way I know they really love their family. I know those friends understand what they’ve been given and are thankful.
I believe one of the best ways to honor someone is to speak kindly about him or her when they aren’t around. Even if that person is driving them crazy, speaking well of them shows a lot about a person’s character to be able to exude positivity.
I’m not talking about being unauthentic; I’m talking about people who focus on the good instead of the bad—people who see setbacks as opportunity for growth instead of crushing weight.
Steer clear of: Parents who belittle their spouses and/or children, even “jokingly.”
If you find yourself starting to say something about your spouse or children that isn’t honoring to them, just stop. What good would your words do?
When I hear people say their spouse just doesn’t understand, I don’t feel sorry for them. I think that person needs to do a better job of communicating effectively with their significant other.
When I hear a parent express how sometimes they wish they’d had one less child, I pity the child, not the parent. I feel like they need to appreciate life from their child’s perspective.
When I hear anyone say that sometimes they wish they could “just punch them in the face” when referring to their spouse or child, I don’t care if it’s a joke. I don’t care if it’s said with a smile or a laugh. I don’t think it’s funny.
You can think I’m too serious or not sympathetic enough, but I firmly believe that when you allow yourself to speak unkindly about people, especially your own family, that negativity is taking you over.
What kinds of parents do you gravitate to or steer clear of? What kind of parent are you?
Hello! I am a work-at-home mom to twin girls and a canine. I’m learning what life looks like when you surrender to God. Passionate about parenthood, marriage, and all things coffee!