The Most Difficult Job on Planet Earth

   Written by on June 22, 2017 at 10:01 am
Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

What would you pick as the most difficult job on planet earth? provides these words as synonyms for tough job: arduous, backbreaking, burdensome, onerous, strenuous, tiresome, effortful, fatiguing, herculean, labored, ponderous, rough, strained, and tough.  Let’s add these words to that list; thankless, missing definite guidelines, extreme time commitment and no compensation.

So what job fits all of these descriptions?  The job of parenting fits all of these descriptions.

Most jobs come with job descriptions and instructions on how to accomplish the job.  The job has a blueprint of how to handle the projects assigned.  With parenting, there is a general job description but no specific instructions for most parenting situations.  First, every child is different.  Every child has different strengths and abilities.  There are general guidelines but no set checklist.  Some kids from day one are easy to get on a schedule.  Others, from day one, march to their own drum.  It always amazes me how from the day of their birth, children begin to show their individual personality.

As a parent, you have many tasks that seem almost impossible.  It might seem like the days of parenting are long, but before you know it, you turn around, and your children are grown.  A common question for parents is what can you do in these few years to positively guide your child into adulthood?  You are told first not to provoke your children to anger, and then to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  It is fair to ask, how do I discipline without making my kids mad.  Now let’s add to the complication by noting that your role in training and disciplining your child gets broader and more complicated as your child grows.

The first guideline is to always discipline out of love.  Rick Thomas points out that parental discipline is born out of a heart of love.  Your children need to see and know your love.  This is not the same as your children liking your actions.  Disciplining your child is an act of love.  Especially early in your child’s life, disciplining is not a committee action.

The second generally accepted guideline is that it is important to learn to pick your battles.  Decide on the important traits you are training your children.  Let you kids know what is non-negotiable; for example, dishonesty, disobedience, and disrespect are nonnegotiable, non-allowable actions.  If any of these occur, your kids need to know there will be consequences.  When you discipline, help your child understand that the discipline is focused on his/her actions as a means of helping them grow.  Hug your children, show them affection, and remind them that they are loved.  Separate your love for your child from his/her actions.

A third guideline is to catch your child doing something good.  Praise them whenever you can.  You want your children to get more attention for the positive things they do rather than their negative actions.  The goal is for your children to understand there is a reward for their positive behaviors as well as understanding the result of negative behaviors.  Yes, as a parent you may feel like you are disciplining all day.  It can be exhausting, but remember your children will grow out of this stage.

Parenting can bring the greatest joys in life; parenting is a great responsibility and privilege.  Why is parenting the hardest job?  There is no training, there is no user manual, there is no report card or annual review to let you know you are doing ok.  There are physical and emotional strains on you.  Your child and parenting situation are uniquely challenging and amazing all at once.  However, I have found that when a parent is asked if they would take on this job again, their answer is always YES.  In fact, quite frequently, one to two years after accepting the first job, parents sign up to do it all over again.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Psalms 127:3

Call us with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions; our phone number is 434-808-2637.

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or


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