** Reviewed,  Family Ministry,  Parenting and Family Life

Greatest Parenting Struggles: Complacency

By permission @Mnormancarguy has graciously allowed me to jump on board with a series of posts called GPS, Helping Parents Find Their Way. So, without further ado, here is my first jump into this conversation.

During my first ask of the big question* I got this response: My greatest struggle in parenting is “complacency

I was intrigued by the parent’s comment.  And like a fly that kept on buzzing around my head this word, complacency, would not leave me alone. As I began to catch the fly, I began to realize why the thought was sticking with me …

I get complacent. I rest on my actions as a parent. After all, I’m good enough, right?

The Struggle

For so many reasons, parents get bogged down. We get discouraged. We get lazy. Our commitment wanes. Yet, complacency has nothing to do with commitment, energy, time, or even productivity. Complacency, by definition, is “satisfaction with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better.” Another way to look at complacency is “a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with … one’s achievements.”  In short, pride.

Now let me stop here.

I don’t want to burden you with guilt, or worse, shame.  If you’re reading this, I am going to assume you are a parent who wants to make things better. BUT, doing more is NOT the answer.  It actually has nothing to do with action at all.  Let me explain.

Two Faces, One Problem

Pride light creates action out of angst. This type of behavior produces extreme productivity therefore, somewhat socially acceptable. Although there may be a happy facade, over time cracks begin to show, strains develop, and relationships break.

Pride dark creates inaction out of entitlement. This behavior is driven from a “I deserve” place. And at some level this behavior is also socially acceptable. (I cannot stand advertisements and commercials that say “you deserve this new car, candy bar, etc. etc.”) Over time, this state also creates strain and breaks relationships as well.

I describe the extremes to illustrate how both sides of the pride continuum can be harmful. Some people get this far and leave a wake of broken relationships. Don’t be quick to judge because everyone feels the struggle of walking too far one direction or the other.  Regardless of angst or entitlement, both states are driven by attempting to seek fulfillment. Good thing is you can do something about it …

The Narrow Road

Both pride light and pride dark have a warning flag – negative emotion. Negative emotion is not necessarily a bad thing.  These emotions can serve as a warning light that something needs to change.  So when you feel the pang of entitlement or angst ask yourself some questions.

Who am I?

Now, not every bump in the road requires this question.  But, I have found that when pride rises up it usually is tied to me forgetting who I am and who I want to be.  When I forget who I am I begin to have an over inflated view of self.

Who’s am I?

Everyone worships something. What have your set your life on? When you forget who’s you are you begin to have a deflated view of what you worship.

What feeds your angst/entitlement?

Editor’s Note:

Thanks to Ethan Davis for his enthusiasm for the GPS series. Thanks also for writing a great post. Check out his blog HERE

Matt Norman

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. To ensure that you never miss a post subscribe using the space on the right side of the screen.

I am a Christian, husband, father, pastor, church planter, nurse, and freelance writer.

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