Enjoying The Journey

I’m Not A Parent. Do I Have Anything To Offer?

“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:

  1. doing those tasks for them (bringing them dinner, spending an afternoon tackling an organizing project)
  2. 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) 

(#auntlifeisthebestlife)

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?

 

 

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23 thoughts on “I’m Not A Parent. Do I Have Anything To Offer?

  1. Yes! You have so much to offer and are such an inspiration to ALL women through your online presence! I’ve learned a lot from you and really appreciate this post. My kids have a couple sets of aunts and uncles without kids and they love on our kids in their own unique ways. This was a reminder to me to THANK them for just being a part of my kids’ lives. Great pics of you and Paul with your niece and nephews!

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  2. This post made me think!! I have a handful of friends that don’t have or may never have kids. They rarely offer me parenting advice, but they do offer plenty of encouragement to me. You are one of those people. You speak words of encouragement about marriage, family, homemaking, cooking and about faith. All of those things help me to be a better wife and mom. I so appreciate that about you!! I love that you said you are generous with encouragement and pray for the children in your life. I think simple things like asking for prayer requests, asking to bring someone dinner or being interested in someone else’s family is a gift to them. What a blessing you are to those families!

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  3. Great post, Whitney. We have a dear friend from college who is married and has no children. She dotes on our toddler and loves him more than many of our married friends with kids. She and her husband live out of town, and the distance hasn’t even stopped them from being part of our son’s life. They have been here in person for all of the special occasions (as well as regular phone calls, texting and sending photos to each other), and all of that means the world to us.

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  4. Hi Whitney, my husband and I decided early in our marriage that having children was not something we planned to do. We had also discussed this with a Pastor, as well as bathed our decision in much prayer. I love children, but have never felt a calling to have my own. I’m much more comfortable in the “Auntie” role!

    I’m in my early 50’s now and recently retired, my most recent job before retiring was as a teacher’s aide at our church’s preschool. I felt that was my way of helping out the parents with their young children, to come along side the parents to help care for, teach, and train their children in the ways of the Lord. If I had children I don’t think I would have had the energy to take on that role.

    Another way, because my schedule allowed, I was able to help out friends to drop off or pick up their children at school or afterschool sports when their mothers were not feeling well.

    As you mentioned, I also would compliment my friends when their child showed maturity in their behavior or mannerisms. I also would compliment the parents, themselves, when I see how they are truly trying to raise or be a godly example for their children in the ways of the Lord.

    …but yes, you are not alone on your feelings on this topic. But, from what I can tell, I’m sure you’re such an encouraging and loving Aunt and friend! The children in your life are truly blessed to have you in their lives to be that example to show them the Lord’s love and His ways.

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  5. It’s funny you write this, because something I recognized this year was that I felt insecure around my childless friends because it’s easy for me to feel like I chose a “boring” path while they are out pursuing careers and traveling the world. But then I had an open conversation with one of these friends and she told me how much it means to her when I invite her over for dinner with my family. She says that even though she doesn’t want a family of her own right now, she loves being made a part of ours. She didn’t think less of me because I am a mom, she actually values what my home and family offers her! It just reminded me to live out of the fullness that God has given me. It will connect and encourage every time.

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    1. Oh my – you are NOT alone. I’ve talked to several women recently who feel insecure or ineffective in their roles, both SAHM’s and women with kids who work outside the home. And I love what you discovered, that prioritizing your home life is a blessing to more than just the people who live there! “Live out of the fullness that God has given me” – that is a great thing to remember! I’m going to write that down somewhere! ❤

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  6. I love how much input you have in your niece and nephew’s lives. Sometimes children are more prone to listen to an aunt than to their mom. Building a strong relationship with them when they’re young is crucial. A person with no children can add so much to the child’s life. I love what you said (and what you do) about encouraging the parents. I know your sister is grateful, too! Every mom loves to hear when something is going well! Good advice, Whitney!

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  7. Yes, you have so much wisdom to offer! I have three kids (ages 5, 3, and 1), and your blog has been far more helpful to me than any of the “mommy blogs” I’ve visited. Your “Keeping It Real” post was spot on. After the birth of my firstborn, I joined a Facebook group for Christian moms. I was shocked that every other post was a picture of a couch piled high with laundry or a playroom that hadn’t been picked up in a month. Each post contained #keepingitreal. I thought to myself, “How is this supposed to help me?” I promptly left the group as that is not the kind of reality I want my family to live in. When I came across your blog, it was like a breath of fresh air. You have so much to offer, and you have been a great help to me.

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Buffy! It’s always a blessing to connect with other women who want to rise above the normal standards of life and housekeeping. It seems like the “keeping it real” crowd is the majority, but maybe they’re just more vocal than the others! 🙂

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  8. I have several women friends and family members that don’t have children and they come over and love on my little one – there is a really large age gap between her and the next kid –
    so no small siblings to play with. It’s nice for her that they take an interest in her. A couple of them have really helped out in my small children’s class at church, over the years, and have been such a blessing in that way. Most of the women in my support system are childless…funny since I have 6 kids – mostly grown now. One person, in particular, has been there for me through so much. She’s probably the only person I can really talk to. It doesn’t matter to me that they don’t have kids, they are a huge blessing in my life.

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  9. 2 of my best friends are adults with no children and when they ask what they can do for us or for our son, I always tell them to pray for grace. If parents need anything, it’s less judgement and advice and more God given grace.

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  10. Great advice Whitney. I had a great aunt and uncle who did not have children and I LOVEd them so much. Because they did not have children of their own they were free to just love me and my sisters, unconditionally. What a gift that is! Parents are often so stressed, have such high expectations and are just generally busy so a caring adult who can be a wise friend to a child is a gift.

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