Erasing Fear in Parenting

May I confess something right here on the spot?

I’m terrified.

Not like, “I just watched one of those teen slasher films with bad acting and cheesy plot lines,” kind of terrified- (I never watch those anyways). I’m talking about pure, unadulterated fear. The kind that keeps you awake at night worrying, or disrupts any positive movement you may have as a parent. The kind that keeps you sidelined and always wishing you would have gotten into the game of life with your kids!

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Here’s what I fear the most:

I fear failing my kids. I fear waking up one day and discovering that even when I thought I “got” them or was deeply connected to their hearts, I wasn’t. I fear making other things, like career, hobbies, or my own interests more important and not having the insight to recognize that it distanced me from them. I fear being old and never hearing from them because our relationship was full of strain when they were growing up and now they’re on their own, no longer in need of me. I fear not rooting for them enough or missing those moments to support their dreams and ambitions. I fear them looking to other things to satisfy their need for affection or approval.

Yep, I have fear alright. How about you? Do you wrestle with fear on this journey we call parenthood? I bet you do.

Here are 3 things I’ve learned (and have to re-learn all the time) when it comes to fear-

1. If I look at it the right way, fearing things keeps me dialed in!

The fact that I know my fears and I wrestle with them daily, helps me (for the most part) to stay on a right path when it comes to my relationship with my wife and children. Fear has a way of doing that. It’s interesting that one of the greatest things human beings struggle with can also be the biggest ally in their growth. When I turn fear into a positive thing such as, “Because I fear not being connected to my children, I will do everything in my power to stay connected to my children,” I win!

2. Fear makes it easy to give up!

Fear wins when I give in and say, “This is the best it’s going to be.” When I choose to stay disconnected and allow fear to keep me from facing something my daughter is struggling with, or a worry my son has, or a parenting challenge I’m in the middle of, I lose and fear wins. As a Christian, I believe there’s an adversary who loves to grip us parents with fear. That happens to me all the time.

3. I really have nothing to fear!

It’s true. When I really think about it, I am a good dad. And I bet when you really spend time to think about it, you’re a good mom or a good dad too! Have you ever told yourself that? You, like I, have spent far too long worrying about, or fearing, the little things. And maybe the big things too. But the point is, we can get so blinded by our fears as parents. We forget that these precious human beings that God has so graciously blessed us with are filled with grace themselves and they love us and need us to guide them.

Question: How has fear dictated or directed your belief about yourself, your parenting, or your relationship with your family? Comment now and join the conversation!

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  • Douglas Alvis

    My default response to fear is to withdraw in silence and has cost me many opportunities for personal growth & improved relationships. Totally agree with your observations here Mike and especially happy you recognize these things while your children are young!

    • Mike Berry

      Doug, thanks for your comments! And thanks for your transparency. I have had many of the same struggles. It’s a journey and a work in progress!
      mike