Raising Children Who Cope and Thrive

I'm not saying it was Nancy Lanza's fault. No mom should be loaded down with the burden of guilt over a heinous crime committed by her adult child, especially one who was among the victims. And I've not read or heard anything that would make me suspect this mom's parenting skills or love for her disturbed child.

This post is not about casting blame.

But, in light of the recent mass murder of children in a public elementary school situated in an idyllic community by a 20-year old gunman, most every parent must surely speculate, "Could my child do that? What if my child were to do that? Oh my Lord, how do I raise children who I can be assured would never take another life, much less 26?"

I don't have the answers to those unspoken, eerie, unsettling questions. But I do offer a simple list, compiled by my husband for a recent MOPS presentation, that at least suggests a few sound pointers for doing what we can to raise stable, functioning, healthy children...children who contribute well to their world, rather than take from it.

These are not promises or guarantees. These are not fail proof formulas. But in a day when we've witnessed too many children, teenagers, and young adults garner weapons, plot mass shootings, and carry out evil destruction, we parents are surely craving a few sound suggestions for avoiding having our own kids' names in the headlines in infamy. God alone must do the rest. But we all want to know how we can do our part.

And so I offer a few things to think about, sweet parents. But above all, know that you do not parent alone. It can be a daunting task, a risky one even. But you have a Father in Heaven who longs for you to enlist His help, His wisdom, and His intervention. Cling to Him and be courageous.

Suggestions for Helping Your Child Cope with the Stresses of Life:

Like I said, I lifted these suggestions from my husband James Harms' notes. But I think he's a pretty wise guy!

And listen, I repeat. I'm not casting blame on Nancy Lanza for her son's heinous act. These suggestions are simply offered as a few basic pegs to hang our parenting hopes on. While I know we've all grieved for the many parents who lost sweet, innocent children this past Friday in Connecticut; I know we parents also watch the news about the killers of these frequent killings with shock and concern. We don't want to be the ones who raise the next infamous gunman. And while these incidents are still fairly rare, we know the images and opportunities our children face today do not help our plight as parents, but only make the job tougher. 

Pray, fellow parents. The most important thing we can do is pray for our children and for ourselves as their parents.

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