Parenting and the Serenity Prayer: Acceptance and the Peaceful Home

By Ron Huxley, LMFT

If parenting could be summed up in a 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.

This is part two of a 5 part series exploring the essential points of this prayer and how it can help parents find grace and peace in their family relationships.

Acceptance and the Peaceful Home:

Finding serenity in our lives is a matter of achieving balance. This balance can be precarious at times as parents deal with the many stressors of work and family life. Parents might look to outside sources for this place of peace. They might even hold others responsible for upsetting that peace, blaming them for the hurts and rejections they might have caused in themselves and their home. The cause of this imbalance might include drugs, alcohol, affairs, gambling and many other vices. It can also come from non-malicious sources that we don’t have control over, including job loss, divorce, death, illness, etc.

In order to create lasting peace in the home, we have to look inward to our values and beliefs. Parents can identify a “value system” that keeps them focused and motivated despite all the outside trials and tribulations. These beliefs will guide parents behaviors, help them make choices, and keep them intentional in their efforts to support one another.

The deepest beliefs come from our identity about what it means to be a good or bad parent. It is hard to create peace if we feel like a bad parent. We will try to avoid doing what we feel a “bad parent” would do and work to do what we belief a “good parent” should be doing. Of course, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. This often occurs because parents belief that being good is the same as perfect. They hold themselves and their family members to a standard that is impossible to maintain. When they fail and fail they will, they think they are now a bad parent.

The reality is that there is no such things as a perfect parent or a perfect child. It is important to have the courage to be an imperfect parent who raise imperfect children and can still love one another through our mistakes. This road of unconditional love and imperfect relationships will require a constant review of our values and a lot of forgiveness, of ourselves and our family members.

Parenting And The Serenity Prayer

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 RonHuxley.com to read the other 4 parenting tools based on the Serenity Prayer…