A while back, I described that one summer weekend, when our son was three, and I spent a weekend visiting friends, leaving my husband to be our son’s primary care giver all weekend. Per usual, I’d written out all the detailed instructions for the proper care of our son- what to wear, what to eat, when to eat, sleep, play, a reminder of favorite things, everything. You know: the list. I even cleaned the whole house, precooked meals, and laid out clothes for our son. Needless to say, they had a great weekend that didn't look like anything I'd planned. Why? Because I wasn't home and I'm not my son's father.
In Chapter 17, Let Your Husband be the Children's Father, of Laura Doyle's book The Surrendered Wife, she shares that part of surrendering means understanding and accepting that just because your husband has a different style of parenting doesn't mean he's a bad dad. And she's right. In fact, that is why children need both parents, because men and women are created differently, and we raise children very differently.
Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching,for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. -Proverbs 1:8-9
iMom had an awesome article about this a while back, outlining five reasons to let dad be dad:
1. Dads play differently. Dads are more likely to startle children and get them excited, and like to rough-house more than moms. Both of these types of play are beneficial in building a child’s self-confidence and willingness to take risks.
2. Dads communicate differently. Studies show that dads are less indulgent with the nonverbal cues, crying and whining. Fathers tend to challenge younger children to use words more to express themselves, increasing the cognitive abilities of children as young as two.
3. Dads challenge, moms calm. There are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking, moms react to stress in their children by trying to calm them and ease the stress, while dads may more naturally react by encouraging their kids to overcome the problem, or rise to the occasion. Both are important facets of building confident, capable kids.
4. Dads develop secure daughters. It’s a fact that girls who have a strong relationship with their fathers are less likely to be sexually active as teens than those who don’t. Girls gain confidence from the dad-daughter relationship that leaves them less hungry for the attention of boys, and less vulnerable. (Journal of Marriage and Family, 1994)
5. Dads appreciate moms’ trust.The respect and trust that you show for your husband when you turn over the parenting reins can improve your marriage, as well. Couples who cooperate together learn to value one another and spouses and parents, and have a stronger relationship overall.
~Excerpt from iMom
You are teaching your children what a woman, wife and mother is and does. You are teaching them about marriage, relationships, how husbands and wives interact and what to value. You have the unique opportunity to teach them the power of surrendering in a culture that doesn't understand it.
Our kids aren’t looking for perfect parents. They know more than anyone that there aren’t any. What they need isn’t perfect parents but honest ones who are trying to live a consistent life of growing in character themselves. ~Susan Yates
What is your character? Is surrendering to your husband and submission to God becoming an integral part of your character as a woman, wife and mother? The more you surrender to God and your husband, the more you chose to respect your husband with your words, attitude and actions, the more you teach your children to respect their father.
Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night. ~Deuteronomy 11:18-19
Believe in your husband, and show him you believe in his parenting with your words. Encourage him, praise him in front of the kids, cheer him on. Let him be the superstar and follow his lead, setting him free to be the dad your children need. And protect him- just like you, he is human. He will disappoint. Protect him from the kids in that moment, giving him lots of grace, teaching your children about forgiveness as needed.
Her children rise up and bless her. Her husband, too, joins in the praise, saying: “There are some—indeed many—women who do well in every way, but of all of them only you are truly excellent.” -Proverbs 31: 28-29
NOTE: First, it's important to note that a few men are abusive dads...you DO NOT SURRENDER in that case. Getting yourself and your children to a safe place is your first priority.
One thing I want to mention here is that yes, I am disappointed that with all God has to say about the role of wives and submission, the author doesn’t cite any scripture, yet manages to quote Buddha. It’s still a great book, it still lines up with God’s Word, the author’s frankness was a practical wake up call for me…I just wish she’d embrace and share that God is the author of surrender.
In case you've missed it, this post is part of a series following along with The Surrendered Wife. I'd strongly encourage you to pick up the book and read along! Catch up on the blog series now by reading: Control or Intimacy, Did You Marry a Loser?, Chauffeur or VIP, Shhhh!, Crazy Resentful, Your Heart's Desire, You Bought a What?!, Just Say Thank You, Girlfriends, Button Pusher, Expectations, a Wife's Role, It's Okay to Say I Can't, Naked But Not Ashamed, and If You Can't Say Something Nice.
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