“I was an expert on parenting. Then I had kids.”
Undoubtedly you’ve seen at least one version of that phrase in an online meme – or possibly you’ve heard it said! Whether it’s right or wrong, whether it’s intended or not, parents can give the impression that they don’t want advice or help with their parenting from people who are not parents.
I can’t blame them! I don’t plan on taking marriage advice from someone who has never been married. Currently, I’m in my 30’s and don’t see children in my near future (want to know why not? read this post. 😉 ).
Let’s get honest. I struggle with feeling like I don’t have much to offer my peers or friends because I’m not a parent. Of course that’s not true – but it’s something I deal with, and I’m probably not alone!
As an adult without children, how do you balance the desire to be helpful with your desire to respect your friends who don’t need parenting advice from a non-parent? How can you come alongside them and be a good friend? Here are my suggestions!
#1 Be Confident In What You Do Have
The lack of parenting experience doesn’t take away from the other experience and talent you have. Focus on the abilities and strengths you have that are helpful in non-parenting every day adult situations. You can be good at things like home organization, meal prep, laundry systems, party planning or entertaining without having ever changed a diaper.
If a parent you love is struggling with these areas, you can be a blessing to them by:
- doing those tasks for them (bringing them dinner, spending an afternoon tackling an organizing project)
- helping them learn how to do those tasks more efficiently so they can designate more time and energy to parenting
#2 Be Generous With Parenting Encouragement
It’s sort of like, “If you see something nice, say something nice.” Look for ways you can compliment and encourage your friends when you see their kids doing nice things!
For example, Paul and I recently met up with another couple and their teenage daughters. We sat at a restaurant and talked for over an hour (and had a great time!). After we left, I realized that not once did the teenagers have their phones in their hands! They were completely content to enjoy the adults’ conversation. I immediately texted my friend to compliment her very unselfish teenagers!
(That’s not to say I have a problem with kids being on their phones – I just thought this was extra nice!)
I follow a few bloggers who share really great, practical parenting encouragement on Instagram. Occasionally if I see something that I think might be really uplifting, I’ll send the story or post to my sister or friend who needs encouragement. I think it helps when the encouragement comes from a third party – it’s more “I read this great quote” and less “I think you should do this.”
Ask your friends how you can pray for them specifically relating to parenting. Not only will this help you as you pray, it will give you a better idea of the kind of encouragement that would benefit them!
#3 Pray Scripture For The Children In Your Life
I find that praying Scripture helps me to pray for God’s will instead of mine. I pray Scripture for myself, my husband and others on my prayer list. As you’re reading the Bible, ask the Lord to show you a passage or verse you can pray for specific children in your life. It will be such a blessing to you and to them!
Read More —> How To Pray Powerfully Using Scripture (from my Mom’s series on prayer)
I would love to hear what you think about this topic as fellow adult without kids! If you’re a parent, how have your friends without children been a blessing to you?