The nuances of their nature and humanity pales in comparison when an individual’s eternal destination is of urgent priority. Here is the kind of gear some of us may bring to adulthood and into parenting. I find there's a great deal of emphasis put to model a marital relationship that is healthy for our children. Plenty of publications and seminars are committed to helping Christian parents cultivate and nurture their marriage, but not much attention has been given to sustaining friendships as parents. A number of reasons for this: first, a glorification of union as the epitome of human relationships, and second, kid rearing takes priority over having autonomy for the mom, especially as a parent. Ingrained persona is exactly why so many moms deal with ‘mum guilt’ when taking any time to themselves to nurture their adult friendships.
Unfundamentalist parenting would be to discard a few of these relationship dynamics that is unhealthy to ensure that we become healthier for ourselves, but also so we can model something for our kids. Forging friendships has the ability to shape a life of relationship patterns, and is a vital section of our kids’s development.
1. Make and keep friends. I’ve already touched on persona that keeps moms, especially, from pursuing time with friends. This “ministry” mentality where we feel like sacrifice, particularly on behalf of our children, is holy, and often neglect our personal needs has been adopted by girls. I feel then laying the groundwork for modeling healthy camaraderie to our children, as well as making time for adult business as well as friends is a radical act of self care. I realize how hard it truly is in those early months and years of extreme child-rearing, that we frequently choose to sleep or veg with Netflix instead of go out with friends. But it’s more easy than ever before to stay connected with a variety of apps that gives us the capability of being social while nursing or half asleep in the middle of the night. Be deliberate about maintaining and making friendships and ditch mother guilt.
2. Codependence. The sentimentality embedded in a lot of Christian speak surrounding “community” can bring about some relationships that are codependent. Underneath the religious guise of ‘confession’ or ‘liability,’ relationships in fundamentalism can quickly veer into the territory of placing and oversharing expectations that are unrealistically high for others to be your messiah, and vice versa. Folks can be hindered by this expectancy from learning to cultivate trust instead of finding a totally free pass on easy ‘friendships ’ because you joined the same little group. A wholesome camaraderie requires there be an appropriate number of receiving and giving, as the relationship slowly grows more intimate together with the level of vulnerability rising.
3. Healthy Boundaries. There continues to be a great deal of damage done underneath the name of ‘reconciliation.’ My buddy Kay Bruner likes to quip, ‘Do no harm, and take nothing,’ which is a really difficult lesson for all those of us who grew up believing putting up with mistreatment is godly. The lesson I’ve needed to learn in maturity, recovering from these twisted expectancies is that if people (friends, even) treat me badly, it's OK to distance myself from them. Sure, we are called to be generous with our love and compassion, to risk love and invest in friendships. But to trap ourselves in toxic relationships in the name of love is dangerous for everyone involved. This can be an essential lesson for our children to learn, especially inside their susceptibility, to institute boundaries that are strong protecting their particular autonomy.
4. Cultivate varied friendships. Fear of those who are outside the bounds of orthodoxy escalates into anxieties of anybody who looks or lives differently than one’s tradition. This robs the children in our communities to have personal interaction with lots of varied individuals groups—those that have religions, ethnicities, abilities, orientation, and different skin color. Learning how to adore different kinds of people will help us love each individual more fully. I really hope I'm modeling this well for my kids, and my wish is for them to learn to cultivate camaraderie that are diverse within their very own life.
5. Trusting Our Instincts. While I look back at several of the toxic friendships I sustained for too many years, I can see, in hindsight, many minutes after I felt something was “off,” but anticipations from fundamentalist culture compelled me to dismiss those gut tests. Fundamentalism instructed me I’m inclined to be self-centered because of my sinful nature, so remaining in camaraderie that damage me is a questionnaire of unselfishness.
The best thing we can do to help healthy friendships are nurtured by our kids inside their life would be to treat them with dignity and respect. In the end, their first encounter of a connection is with their parent. We must encourage them pay attention to those red flags and to lean into their own inner voice.
Here’s to laying the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy friendships for our kids that are growing and curing our own broken friendship patterns.