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You Can Avoid Parenting Burnout!

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Each child must understand that he or she plays an important role in maintaining family routines.

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Understanding our God-given responsibilities is an important part aspect of honoring the Lord. As Christian parents, we have an obligation to teach our children the biblical principle, “If you don’t work, neither shall you eat.” In the 6th installment of a 20-part series on family devotions, Dr. Dunlap offers practical suggestions for teaching our children valuable life skills, such as lawn care, meal preparation and laundry upkeep.

Burnout is a popular term today. We hear about every kind of burnout from job and school burnout, to marriage and parenting burnout. As we draw our strength and endurance from the Lord we can avoid joining the burnout ranks. God calls us to steadily and faithfully run the race that is set before us, but He does not require us to run at a breakneck pace. He knows that if we were to run in such an “all out” way, we wouldn’t last very long.

Start with a doable family devotional plan.

When we develop a plan for family devotions, we set ourselves up for failure if we adopt an all-or-nothing attitude. For example, instead of trying to meet every day of the week for devotions, parents might begin to implement their family worship plan by meeting together three mornings each week for fifteen-minute sessions. They should strive to be consistent and resist the temptation to give up. Revelation 14:12 is a powerful reminder:

This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.

When we teach children practical skills we must seize the opportunity to teach accompanying spiritual truths.


Fathers and mothers should take seriously their commission to teach their children personal disciplines and life skills. They must teach children to cheerfully and successfully fulfill their household chores and responsibilities.


Including children in the food preparation process, for example, affords parents the opportunity to teach science and math. Children as young as two or three years old can fold dish towels and face cloths. Taking part in laundry upkeep helps children understand the rule, “If you mess it up, you clean it up.” When a child learns lawn care he or she acquires knowledge pertaining to agriculture and science. Children who help their parents or grandparents with household repair work gain excellent handyman skills for the future, when they will be in charge of managing a home.

Be certain that you assign age-appropriate chores so you do not unnecessarily frustrate your children.

Parents must lead each child, down to the very youngest, to understand that he or she is vitally important to the smooth functioning of the family routine. Fathers and mothers ought to regularly remind their children to heed the warning of 2 Thessalonians 3:10,

If a man will not work, neither shall he eat.

Parents should assign individual chores and responsibilities to correspond with the age and maturity level of each child. Parents who reward jobs that are done well with gratitude, praise and positive reinforcement will be pleased with the growth that they observe in their children.

Although mothers and fathers should keep their ultimate goals in mind, they should begin with a realistic, attainable goal. We find specific encouragement for this endeavor in Isaiah 28:10: “For He says, ‘Precept upon precept, line upon line, a little here, a little there.’ ”


We often unnecessarily set ourselves up for discouragement and defeat by having a perfectionist mentality. This mistaken thinking says, “If we can’t carry out our plan exactly as we envisioned it, then we won’t do it at all.”


Popular author Elisabeth Elliot offers simple, yet wise and helpful advice for such an endeavor as implementing a family worship plan: “Do what you cando. Do what you can do.” Parents should be sure to thank God for any progress their family makes as they begin to establish a habit of family devotions.


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