On Being The Perfect Parent

The Perfect Story: There was a perfect man who met a perfect woman. After a perfect courtship, they had a perfect wedding. Then they had perfect children and were the perfect parents.  Their life together was, of course, perfect. The End.

Perfect.  That’s how I always pictured how my life story was going to go.  Wrong.  It’s going more like this:  There was an imperfect man who met an imperfect woman.  They DID have a perfect wedding! Then they had imperfect children and were the imperfect parents.  Their life together was, of course, imperfect.  The End.

When it comes to parenting, what’s the picture you had in mind?  Something akin to The Perfect Story?  The truth is, we are all holding a mental picture of what perfect parenting looks like.  Everywhere we turn we’re confronted with images on TV, billboards, in the mall, and even in church of the model family and perfect parents.  Unfortunately these images often don’t look anything like reality.

I don’t know about you but when my boys with autism were younger I just about exhausted myself trying to be the perfect parent.  Between attempting to learn ABA, implementing a GFCF diet, reading up on chelation, rushing my boys to OT and SLP appointments, and keeping up with work, laundry, cooking, and paying bills, I was tired, cranky, and feeling guilty.  Feeling guilty for the other oh-so-many things that were being neglected in spite of my attempts to perfectly parent my boys on the spectrum.

Trying to achieve perfection as a parent leads to an array of problems: It is exhausting to keep up with our own ideas of what the perfect parent is like; we simply don’t have enough time or energy to do everything that the perfect parent intends to do, especially when a child with special needs is involved.  We set ourselves up for disappointment and disappointment leads to frustration and even low self-esteem.

If your parenting picture is not where you want it to be, you may be tempted to throw in the towel.  Don’t.  Let me give you the one word that can change your perfect parenting perspective:  Grace. 

God’s Word says, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor. 12:9).

Just what does that mean?

It means that when I’m exhausted and think I can’t possibly get everything done—
His grace is sufficient for me.

When I’m having a hard time with my child who sometimes gets under my skin—
His grace is sufficient for me.

When I’m tempted to let my frustration loose and speak harshly—
His grace is sufficient for me.

When I don’t know which direction to go or how to make a decision—
His grace is sufficient for me.

Whatever is currently happening in your family’s life, His grace is sufficient for you. Ask Him for His resources to meet your parenting needs and to help you through whatever your challenges may be.

  • “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2Corinthians 12:9

Here are two grace-based ideas for parenting a child with special needs:

Allow the grace of God to function in you as a parent.  Parenting a child with special needs is an impossible task, in and of ourselves. The apostle Paul explained that “we are not adequate to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is of God” (II Cor. 3:5). Only as Christian parents understand this grace-activity of God in Jesus Christ, and are faithfully receptive to His divine activity in their parenting, will they function as the parents that God intends. Christian parenting is only accomplished by the grace of God!

Entrust your child[ren] to the grace of God. By now it should be obvious that you cannot make your child into what you want him/her to be. God is quite capable of working in your child’s life, despite whatever you might do (or not do!) as a parent.  Parents can do their children the greatest favor by entrusting them to the gracious oversight of God. This does not mean that you abdicate your parenting responsibilities, but that you recognize your dependency upon God and trust that God’s dynamic of grace will mold your child’s personality, spiritually renew him, physically protect her, and cause him/her to be all that He wants them to be.

Michael Woods, M.A. BCaBA

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Let us partner with you in your child’s spiritual development!  The Friends@FBO app is designed to provide you with one weekly idea that you can implement during your day-to-day routines to help nurture your child’s faith.  So, go to the Apple App Store or Android Market and download the free Friends@FBO app today!  After you download our free app, make sure to leave your “push notification” on so that you will receive alert messages when ideas for connecting with your child are posted!

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About Michael Woods

Christ-follower, husband, chocoholic, and peanut-butter lover! I'm a father to triplet boys...each on the autism spectrum.

View all posts by Michael Woods


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2 Comments on “On Being The Perfect Parent”

  1. heathervw Says:

    I am so thankful to have come across your site. Your blog posts encourage me and uplift me just when I need it the most. Today’s post was just what I needed to hear. I have been struggling lately with being a “good enough” parent for my kids (both adopted as drug addicted and/or fetal alcohol sydrome). I already knew that God was in control but your post explained why. God’s grace is all I need. I’m not perfect nor will I ever be. Again, thank you!


    • SpecialNeedsMinistry Says:

      Move over Heather and let me join that club with you. Without minimizing the responsibilities we have as parents, I think WE put too much on OUR shoulders and then try and carry it around. God bless you and thank you for all that you do as a parent.


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