Parenting Thought: Trust your Mothering Instincts, post by Susan Karsten

To write this post, I paged and paged through a book, looking for the quote. It resonated strongly with me. I couldn’t find the quote, but I shall try to reconstruct its thoughts.

I wish I had this thought when I was in the beginnings of the struggle to learn how to deal with, and discipline my children (This would be about 18 years ago.)

The gist:

Don’t try to find a “magic” formula for dealing with your children. Your mothering instincts tell you what to do. Pray for wisdom, do respond and address issues and problems, but don’t look to the “experts”. God has made you a mother.

How this relates? I never felt comfortable with rigid discipline, such as spanking, ten-step plans for consequences, etc. When I tried that type of thing, it never worked. All it produced was me distancing myself emotionally so that I could be firm, strict, and a disciplinarian.

If I would have talked more, prayed more, exhorted them and spoke to them when their hearts were soft, been more patient, trusted the Lord more…

This is my hindsight. Even with my failings, my children are all right,  by God’s grace alone. No outright rebellion in their lives, all on a positive track to their own future families. But, this I wish: that I would have been more soft, more kind, more mild, with more eternal vision.

Please comment with your own hindsight wisdom.

P.S. The original thought, the quote I couldn’t find was from Nancy Campbell. She is an older woman who writes often about motherhood. Very inspiring.


7 thoughts on “Parenting Thought: Trust your Mothering Instincts, post by Susan Karsten

  1. I agree with you hindsight can be a curse sometimes while you are going through the process of bringing up children it can be mind blowing. Looking back on my experience of bringing up one totally allergic to everything child and another who was exceptionally healthy, I can only wonder how I managed. I had to be honest with them, and yet tough at the same time. I don’t mean I spanked them or had a ten point plan. I mean I was human, I was on my own with them for anything from 24/7 to 24/5 depending on where my husband was working, so when I got tired and cranky I yelled.
    Luckily I have two great kids now in their twenties who come back and see me a lot, ring me, talk over problems and look for the occasional bit of advice.
    What I have learnt is that, today many parents believe they can be a friend from the get go. I disagree, you have to be a parent first and later when they understand the logic of parenting they become your friends. It is a gradual process as is life.

  2. I wish I hadn’t worried so much. And that I hadn’t let stress turn me into a crank more often than I would have liked. Yes, I look at my boys with a heart full of gratitude for God’s grace and love in their lives.

  3. Thanks for the thought, Susan. I haven’t much hindsight as I’m in the midst of parenting little ones, but it is a good reminder to pray more, trust God more with my children’s hearts, and keep going from day to day without worrying much. That’s easier said than done, I think. Those are big things to accomplish. I might be more encouraged by the small things, such as today my children’s schedules were all different because of a sick, napping child. Bedtimes were later, my oldest spent time outdoors by himself much longer than normal, and the sick, napping one is now drawing on scrap paper next to me (because she napped too much and can’t sleep). The best part: I’m not frazzled. I’m fine with it. It all worked out. That’s a practical way of trusting God while mothering, right?

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