Parenting and the Serenity Prayer: Asking for Help

By Ron Huxley, LMFT

If parenting could be summed up in a single prayer, that prayer might be “The Serenity Prayer”:

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In this 5 part series, we will explore the essential points of this prayer and how it can help parents find grace and peace in the family relationships. 

Asking for Help: 

If parents want to find more balance in their relationships with their children they must be willing to ask for help! Whether that help is from God, a higher power, or other people, parents will need support to help the through the many challenges of parenting.

A common denominator of stressed-out parents is trying to parent in isolation; they do not realize that they need help or can’t find healthy support and in moments of crisis, do things they wish they didn’t do and say things they wish they didn’t do. Parenting from a place of regret is not a “happy place to be.” Additionally, it may result in child abuse and neglect that will cause the legal system to become involved in the families life. This is not the type of help you want to happen if you can help it. 

In other to accept help parents have to accept that parenting is difficult. I know that seems obvious to most of us but many parents believe they can do it all or feel shame if they don’t do everything perfectly which keeps them from seeking support. 

Support can come from natural and artificial sources. Natural sources would including the help and advice of family and friends. Aunt Melba might come and watch the kids so mom and dad can get our for a break once in a while. Grandpa John might offer some helpful advice about managing teenagers. Unfortunately, not all family advice is helpful like when they suggest you get a stick and start beating some butts. The idea of taking more authority in the home could be a great idea but physical abuse will get you in trouble. 

When natural help is not helpful, parents need to find artificial help in the form of professionals. Family therapy or parenting classes may be what parents need to shift the home from crisis to calm. Some cost may be involved in this but you get what you pay for, right? There are lots of non profit organizations in every community that will offer inexpensive, if not free, help to parents. 

Take action: What kind of help do you need the most? Who in your natural network of family and friends could help you? If there are not natural helpers available to you, who in your community could provide you will support? Let go of feelings of embarrassment and do what is necessary to get the help you need. 

Come back to to read the other 4 parenting tools based on the Serenity Prayer…

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