What can we do when we feel helpless as parents?


Can I make a confession? Sometimes I feel so helpless as a mom of three. It can come when the children start fighting, again. When unkind words are said. When a child acts up in class. When they are disrespectful to another adult. When they need the grace to figure life out, but they are driving you crazy.

As our children grow up our level of control goes down. And that can feel scary. When those stresses come, we have the choice to try to handle it on our own or bring it to God. Prayer is how we put it all on God’s shoulders.

Sometimes it can sound cliche to recommend prayer. Of course, Christians are supposed to pray. And it sounded trite to me until I experienced my helplessness as a mom in such a way that I needed God big time. I found myself in a situation, frustrated and completely helpless as to what to do.

In John 15:5, Jesus calls us as His children to abide in Him, the vine. We can’t be connected without talking to Him through prayer.

So what did I do? I went to Him. I go to Him. I open my hands in surrender, and I pour my heart out. I tell Him my fears, my frustration, and my hopes. I beg Him for the hearts of my children. I ask for wisdom and guidance. I pray for specific situations and specific things I hope for them. And ultimately, and this is when the tears come, I surrender them. I give up control; I give up the way I think it should look. And I trust. I choose to trust, over and over and over. And it’s hard because guess what? The next day, I need to do it again.

Looking back to the vine, what happens as the branches stay connected? Fruit. Not produced by us through control or striving. But through the only one who can, Jesus. And what is extra beautiful is that I am changed. As I meet with Jesus and I go with Him to the deep places of my heart, He works. I am closer to Him, I trust Him more. As a result, fruit flows out of me in the best way possible for my family.

So, what’s a next step you can take? Depending on where you are here are a few ideas:

  • Just start. Set a goal, pray for your kids 10 minutes 3 times a week.
  • Begin your time with God by opening your heart to Him. Be willing to enter into those deep places of yourself with Him.
  • Invite others in. Don’t do it alone, invite a spouse, friend, sibling. Invite them to pray with you and for you.
  • When a child is driving you crazy, and your frustration builds, take them aside. Pray with them. It is one of the best ways to break down walls and to ask God to do the work that you can’t do.


Are you feeling helpless? Start praying.

Written by Robyn White. Robyn is married to Dan White, campus pastor for Parker Hill at Clarks Summit and a mother to three kids, Aiden (7), Gavin (4), and Madelyn (3).