In Parallel: Non-anxious Parenting

While there are a lot of ways to raise children, there are a few parental qualities that I see repeatedly held up as ‘ideal’. Mainly, in an ideal situation, a parent will have high expectations of their children, while also showing them ample warmth and love. A parent will set and maintain appropriate limits. A parent will be relatively unflappable. As in, they are able to empathize with their children’s feelings while also maintaining clear limits – and they don’t take it personally when those feelings are less than positive.

Perhaps uncoincidentally, Edwin Friedman sees these same qualities as necessary for good leadership of any group of people, whether a family, a church, or a business. Leaders, he wrote, need to show nerve – the ability to step away from anxiety within the group, make thoughtful decisions, and then stick to them.

Today I offer two articles about leadership. One of which discusses Friedman’s ideas in a church setting which I think is helpful for developing a concept of what non-anxious parenting could look like. The second gives something of a counterpoint: by using leadership books and theories, do we risk approaching parenting and homemaking as a business? (Interestingly, Friedman’s ideas come out of family systems theory…)

To Read In Parallel:

How Church Leaders Can be a Non-anxious Presence by Jo Carter for the Gospel Coalition

[Effective leaders] had the virtue of maintaining self-control and clear minds in difficult situations. They were able to remain calm, composed, and rational when faced with chaos and adversity, especially when others were panicking and unfairly attributing the blame to them. And in response, their serenity helped me feel more composed.

Lead vs Leader vs Leadership by Tim Suffield

If…your leaders are called leaders, it shouldn’t surprise you if they start to act like people running a corporation or charity rather than elders and deacons.

Have you found remaining ‘unflappable’ and ‘non-anxious’ an effective way of parenting your children? Do you ever struggle with the temptation to reduce parenting and homemaking to something less than what it is (perhaps by attempting to ‘hack’ it)?

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