A Note from Chris Adams: Wouldn’t it be nice of motherhood was all picnics and happy times? Sometimes we have to tackle the less-than-fun side of helping moms to parent God’s way. Rather than ignore the tough issues, read what Deb Douglas writes in this post to help us lead these moms well.
There are some things we as women leaders would rather stay away from when it comes to moms. It’s the same way we turn our heads and become very interested in the floor when a mom is having “a moment.” We do not want to offend anyone, but how will a mom know when she’s crossed the line? It’s time for us to be brave and step out and speak truth, not in a condemning way, but in a helpful, educational way.
To what tough issues am I referring?
- Disciplining children in public. It’s not OK to ask a child to stick his or her nose in the corner in a restaurant. It’s not OK to scream, berate, or threaten a child in public.
- Ignoring a child’s behavior in public. Discipline works best immediately and in private. It’s OK for moms to step up, take their children to the restroom or the car, and have a discussion about behavior rather than choosing to ignore a child’s unruly or inappropriate actions.
- Neglecting a child’s needs or safety. When a child is left in the car on a hot day, we spring into action and call the police, but what do we do when we see other needs are not being met (such as cleanliness, hunger, lack of needed supplies, etc.)?
- A misunderstanding of boundaries. It is OK to say, “No” to a child. Children do not have to have everything in order to be happy and well adjusted.
- The “everybody else knows” syndrome. The rumors are flying about a child’s behavior, but the mom is clueless. Who is going to clue her in?
So, how do we address these issues in a loving, Christ-honoring way?
- Pray! Always pray before you speak.
- Consider offering a Bible study on motherhood and discipline.
- Weave in tips on disciplining into Bible teaching.
- Post articles and tips on discipline and boundaries for moms.
- Talk to her. It is unfair to the mom for her to remain in the dark when others are talking about her child.
- Share reviews of books and resources with moms through the women’s ministry newsletter, social media, or blog.
- Approach every conversation gently and prayerfully. There are some issues (for instance, neglecting a child’s physical needs or safety) which should be confronted in private. Discuss doing so with the pastor or family minister before confronting.
Here are some tips for confrontation:
- Confrontation does not have to be negative thing.
- If we want the best for some one, we will confront them with love and truth.
- Check your motives before confronting. If we confront for the best of the other person, then our motives are pure.
- Confrontation needs to be covered in prayer.
Tough issues are not fun, but if we love the moms in our churches, we will step out of our comfort zones and face them. These issues are part of the ups and downs of ministry. The quicker we confront, the quicker our women’s ministry can move on and families can begin to heal.
Dr. Deb Douglas is the minister to women at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA and a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. Her passion is encouraging and equipping women to serve. She is also a freelance writer and contributed to Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level, Revised & Expanded. She is the wife of Paul, mom of Jared and Katie, mother-in-law to Emily and Jacob, and grandmother to Caroline and Lincoln.