How To Overcome Unfounded Parenting Fears


I took a brief trip today to pick up luxury-brand cat food for our feline friend who refuses to eat cheap. In the process, I began thinking about crazy fears and their connection to parenting with confidence.

Why? For one, I happened to be driving in our truck, which I’m 90% certain is now home to a mouse.

I hate mice. They give me the creeps. My only other fear next to mice is being followed while driving by a police car. This stems from my first-ever parking ticket this past year. I drove 11 miles over the speed limit in a 35 mph zone. That’s a big no-no, for obvious reasons.

Parenting brings its own set of fears, adoptive parenting included.

Will I offend my placing family by something I say or do? Will I offend my own family?

Will I scar my child for life if I discipline him or her?

Will I regret a decision and have to walk it back?

There are all kinds of desperate thoughts that enter our minds as parents. You’ve no doubt experienced this. I listened to a podcast where the hosts advised the listener to avoid taking seriously any thoughts that entire the mind after 9 p.m. Chances are good you’re tired and not processing rationally. I think that’s good advice.

On the other hand, parenting doesn’t follow the rigid tick-tock of the clock. You are sometimes thrown into decision-making at the most inopportune times, under the strangest and most uncomfortable of circumstances. In those cases, my advice to myself is:

  1. Take a deep breath (often mental, not literal — actual breathing takes too long, as one of my wife’s advisers once quipped)

  2. Say a short prayer followed by an internal statement to myself that grounds what I’m about to do

  3. Get as much information about the situation as possible

  4. Make the best decision at the time, recognizing I’m not perfect and that while the outcome might not be perfect, it’s better than caving and hedging

We all have choices, and we have to make them in the best interest of our children, not any fears we might harbor. Chances are good the choices we make, assuming they’re grounded in truth — eternal, not earthly — will be better than we realize.