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Husband-wife educators relay hope & help for harried parents

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–Sometimes parents are harried because they make bad choices, and sometimes they’re just harried because they are parents, two Fort Worth educators told Texas Baptists at a conference on parenting.
“I’m glad Mary and Joseph lost Jesus at the temple. I find that comforting,” said Scott Floyd, assistant professor of psychology and counseling at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Schedules and expectations — self-imposed or imposed by others — contribute to parents’ harried feelings, said Floyd and his wife, Mollie, instructor of speech and theater at Tarrant County Junior College.
Relating many of their own misadventures, the Floyds led a conference offering “Helps for Harried Parents” during the Texas Baptist Family Reunion, Jul 4-10 at Glorieta (N.M.) Baptist Conference Center.
“Parenting is a busy time in life,” Floyd said, noting a certain amount of stress just comes with the job.” As children move from the preschool years toward adolescence, parents may move from physical to emotional harriedness.”
Some parents become harried because they never learn to say “no,” either to the demands of their children or to requests from others for them to do “good things” at church, school, work or in civic organizations, the Floyds said. They may lack clear priorities.
Some have difficulty saying “no” because of pressure to keep up with others, they noted. That may come from other parents, from grandparents or from the children themselves. It may also come from the parents’ own desire to give their children the best or to compensate for something they thought was lacking in their own childhood.
There may also be spiritual reasons for parents feeling harried, the Floyds noted. Some parents are unable to trust God to work out his plans for their children’s lives. They feel the need for control.
The Floyds offered seven tips to help harried parents:
— Pray. “Pray about what your family mission and ministry is, about your purpose or goal as a family. Pray about what activities your children should be involved in. And pray for grace, either to tolerate situations or to change situations,” said Mollie Floyd, the mother of twins. “I often pray, ‘Lord, I need grace, and I need it right now.'”
— Identify values. “Decide what you value as a family, and spend time doing it,” Joseph Floyd suggested. Devote time to those things that are most important rather than struggling with the tyranny of that which is most urgent.
— Evaluate. “Ask if an activity fits into your family’s values. Ask if a child is too busy,” he recommended. The couple also suggested talking to other parents whose children have been involved in an activity, asking them, “Is what you put into it worth what you got out of it?”
— Choose. Make deliberate choices as a family rather than drifting from one activity to another.
— Be practical. Plan ahead. Keep a family calendar that everyone can check. Schedule adequate time to get from one activity to another.
— Communicate. Spouses need to talk to each other and to their children to communicate expectations. “Tell children what you want from them in advance,” Joseph Floyd said.
— Embrace your choices. Don’t feel the need to apologize for carving out time for family. “Delight in the little moments alone with your children,” Mollie Floyd said.

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  • Ken Camp