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Power-Decade Parenting

Family Friday: Their Worst Year of School

Published 25 days ago • 2 min read


Family Friday Newsletter - 2 min read

by: Finley Robinson


A Single Sentence from a Season Ahead

It can be easy to lose yourself in your particular stage of family and forget that you are growing as a person too. Here are 12 ways that parenthood changed me.

Your Best & Their Worst

For my oldest it was 3rd.
For my youngest it was 6th.
For my middle child, it was 5th.

Personally, I think he had it the worst.

Given enough time at school, one year is always going to stand out from the rest as the worst year for each of your kids. The problem is, that year seems to last forever when you are in it.

My son's worst year is the one I recall the most. It was full of tears, tummy aches, and tardies. There were endless excuses about not going and eventual teacher visits to understand why.

That entire year required a ton of engagement from my wife and me as his parents. Truth be told, most days I didn't want to deal with it at all.

Your kid's worst year will require a specific approach from you, but it's useful in your everyday rhythm as well. It's one of those universal truths.

When we discovered how impactful this small parenting structure could be, we leaned into it heavily. I'm so glad we did.

Be Tough & Tender

In my home, I was the tough parent most of the time. My wife was the tender one. Yes, we made a great team.

But as my kids aged, I grew in my understanding that I needed to be both tough and tender if I was going to be the dad that they needed.

I once held a false belief that being tough and tender meant switching between two different hats. I learned instead this structure comes from the same heart, one full of love and purposefulness.

Think of tough and tender more like a reversible vest instead of two hats. One side of the vest may be on display more than the other at times, but they are the same garment.

Being both tough and tender is powerful.
Being either-or is messy.
Being neither is terrible.

The opposite of tough and tender is being a passive or disengaged parent. The mom or dad who is checked out mentally, emotionally, or physically doesn't show up as firm or compassionate for their kids.

During my son's worst year, I wanted to check out. It was hard to continue to be tough and force him to school every day. It was draining to emotionally deal with his hurt too. But mom and dad...

Your kids need you to be tough on them and for them.
Your kids need you to be tender with them and for them.

An older seasoned parent once shared this with me as a great caution:

Warmth without firmness creates severe entitlement.
Firmness without warmth eventually leads to rebellion.

Do you lean too heavily in one direction or the other? Do you find yourself checked out often and not engaged in either approach?

My inbox is always open if it's helpful to reply and share more about the struggles of your season of parenting!

Finley


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Power-Decade Parenting

By Finley Robinson

Helping propel moms & dads of 3 to 13 year-olds to invest in their power-decade of parenting. Father of 3 teenagers and pastor of 20 years turned digital writer.

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