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Parenting: 3 Biggest Secrets I Wish I Knew When My Kids Were Young

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Parenting Secrets: 3 Things I Wish I Knew When My Kids Were Young

Parenting is not an easy gig. When I became a new mother I wobbled between great confidence and terrible doubt all in a matter of minutes.

I was a teacher by profession and had the luxury of two older sisters to call which helped greatly. But there were just some things I had to experience first hand.

Here are the top three things I wish I knew when my kids were young.

Related: How to Get to Your Child’s Heart

Parenting Secrets I Wish I Knew

1. Comparison From Other Parents

Parents like to compare their kids. It is natural and can be okay, but sometimes it crosses into bragging and over-inflated egos. If our kids look good, we look good.

I remember I would often hear about how little “precious” did this or that and is so amazing.  Their child was perfect in sports, school, musical abilities, or even potty training.  It starts early. I was constantly wondering if I was doing things right if my kids weren’t number one. Not to be confused from doing number 1.

I promise you that your friend’s kids have faults. They just aren’t telling you. Learn to ignore “braggy” mom or dad. Focus on the Family gives some great advice on trophy parenting.  (It explains why we do this and how to stop).

Some parents just don’t want to be transparent about their life or their kids.

It is a real blessing when you can find a friend who you feel safe enough to talk about your struggles as a parent. And she will talk to you in the same way. MOPS is a great avenue for that when your kids are young.

Better yet, join a  prayer group where you can pray about your struggles and share your deepest concerns with safe people.

All kids are difficult at one time or another. Don’t be fooled by your friend’s bragging. It’s hot air. Smoke and mirrors. Little “precious” has failures and faults. You just aren’t going to hear about it. EVER.

Related: How to Pray for Your Children

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart

You can find Estranged on Amazon or in your favorite digital store. 

2.  Pressure From Other Parents

Over the years, I have felt an enormous amount of pressure from parents to conform to what everyone else was doing. It started with potty training at the right time and didn’t stop. I felt that I was being judged constantly for my parenting choices.

It permeated sports, social activities, grades, church, clothes, and even social media standards. At the end of the day, you and your husband have the responsibility of raising your children.

You alone are accountable to God for how your family conducts their affairs. Don’t let other parents pressure you into pushing your kids to do things they are not ready to do or allowing your kids to do things you know are not right.

I still have a few parents who probably don’t care for me because of our decisions to stick to biblical values in our home. It was really painful, but I am not sorry.

Be confident to stand up for something you know is right.

I never thought this is where I would be persecuted the most in my Christian walk. You would be surprised what parents are letting their kids do now.

This article from Crosswalk goes into further detail on how to deal with peer pressure from other parents. 

Even Christian parents have become dangerously permissive. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or say “no.”

If you have any biblical standards, this problem is coming to your home, and it is messy. Just know you are going to have a battle with not only other parents but your own child, who might think you are totally uncool or mean.

Related: How to Approach God as Parents

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Parenting: 3 Biggest Secrets I Wish I Knew When My Kids Were Young

3.  It All Works Out Eventually

Kids mature and develop differently. Both of my kids were highly social and didn’t love school work. (Gasp) I still made them do their work.

They were both “B” students. And I am here to tell you they are fine. The world did not come to an end.

I think my kids would both say they are happy with their efforts in school. It got them where they wanted to go. I am relieved to say they both were accepted into all the colleges they applied to when they were a Senior in high school.

They were involved in many things such as FCA, Young Life, Club sports, cheer, school sports, church activities, camps, mission trips, and volunteering.

I have to believe all the social stuff is what helped them get into the college of their choice since they didn’t have all the AP classes many other kids had on their application.

My take on this is to lean to their gifts and pray God will get them where they need to be. Somehow it works out. I had my doubts some days.

Related: 25 Things You Must Do to be a Good Parent

Parenting: 3 Biggest Secrets I Wish I Knew When My Kids Were Young

It Would Have Helped Me Not Worry

I wish I had known these 3 secrets when I started out parenting. It would have really helped me not worry so much. (I know you are still going to worry, but perhaps I have lightened your load a bit.)

Now that my kids are gone, I see how God really worked in their lives to get them where they are now. It is only through His grace we made it through some of the rougher patches.

Related: When You Feel Like You have Failed as a Parent

Looking back, I realize the disappointments are where they grew the most. And so did I.

Don’t give up. If you have had disappointments, you will make it through. It all does come out ok in the end. Maybe not what you thought, but through their struggles, they do find their way.

What parenting secrets do you want to share?

Book on Family Estrangement: A Christian Point of View

Are you experiencing family problems? Perhaps you and a loved one are no longer speaking. Don’t go another day without reading this book. It addresses family problems and estrangement from a biblical point of view. Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart is on Amazon or in your favorite digital store. 

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart

Get Creating Family Memories for FREE in exchange for your email. If you get this book, it will help you build a good relationship with your kids so that when the hard times come (teen years), you will be able to weather the storm.

Scroll down or look to the side to sign up. You can also get it at your favorite bookstore.

Facebook Group

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to share their experiences and get helpful tools to navigate the Christian life. We love to laugh, cry, and encourage each other to live out our faith one day at a time.

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Julie Plagens


  1. Donna Miller on May 24, 2019 at 7:03 am

    So true! I wish I could have told myself back then (and told my girls) that everything was going to work out just fine. Alot of anxiety would have melted if I could have just trusted God more.

    • Julie Plagens on May 29, 2019 at 5:39 am

      Donna, so true! I am trusting God more now than I did back then. I can look back and see his faithfulness even in the storms.

  2. rain on June 12, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    it all works out eventually is really the key. I laugh now but, boy was I worried that I didn’t know what the heck i was doing back then.

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 2:57 pm

      Rain, so true. We don’t always know everything. But God sure does. And we can run to Him everyday with our new problems.

  3. Aishwarya Shenolikar on June 10, 2018 at 3:55 am

    I think everyone has to go through these things only to realise later the reality if things. I’m pretty sure no one knows it will be eventually all okay until it actually is. And when it is, it’s like why were we worried in the first place! This is a fantastic parenting piece! 🙂

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 2:58 pm

      Aishwarya, we do have hard things at times, but somehow we survive them. It is all in the trusting of God’s hand with the good and the bad.

  4. Kiwi on June 8, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    Potty training is no joke. Its not like it is a school to teach children how to potty train its literally trial and error and lots of reptition. I will say my mom does it as she is a home daycare provider to infants and toddlers is to get them early…like 14 months try to get them in the habit before 2 because by two those terribles are kicking in and its harder for them to focus on such a serious task.

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 11:37 am

      Kiwi, that is really good advice. Maybe I should have started earlier. Hope people read this! Thanks for your comment.

  5. Meagan Badore on June 7, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    This is a great post for new parents to read especially if they plan to have more then one child. Having 4 kids, I had to learn to stop comparing my kids to each other and learn each one is different and develops differently. It took #3 FOREVER to potty train so I feel the pain of that.

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 11:39 am

      Meagan, that is so true! Comparing is really hard to stop doing when you have multiple kids. There is a certain balance as you don’t want to miss a real developmental delay, but then you want to give your child space to develop naturally.
      I think as long as they are getting regular check-ups at the Dr., things are probably on track.
      Thanks for your comments.

  6. Charli Bruce on June 7, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Parenting is so hard but so rewarding! I always hated other judgey parents, I just think do you and I will do me x

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 11:42 am

      Charli, so good. I think you can’t really judge as everyone is on a different track. And kids are so unique. I found that my child would have great skills in one area and not so much in another but all was good. I learned to accept their gifts with great peace. Thanks for your comments.

  7. Blair Villanueva on June 7, 2018 at 2:10 am

    Am not a parent yet, but I’ve been closed to my Mom and her Momma friends, and I think each parents have its own unique technique in racing their kids. Its not good to give comparison, because each techniques doesn’t suits to everyone. But all MOMS are great!

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 11:44 am

      Blair, that’s true. We are all different trying to do the best for our kids. Prayer always helps when confused about what to do. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Berlin | momiberlin on June 7, 2018 at 1:53 am

    It is really hard to go through that. I am so glad that everything worked out for you there.

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 11:44 am

      Berlin, thanks. That’s sweet of you to say. Thanks for reading.

  9. Vanessa on June 6, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Great post! I am not a parent yet but I have such empathy for parents and caregivers! I agree that you have to be careful with comparisons with all aspects of life. It’s so unneccesarily stressful.

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 11:46 am

      Vanessa, I think I still do it with life. I have to stop myself often and stick to what I know I am supposed to do. I even compare blogs. EEK.
      Thanks for your comments.

  10. Chloé on June 6, 2018 at 1:22 am

    I loved reading this because you don’t often hear this perspective from a mother who no longer has young kids. I suppose you have a lot of wisdom to share with us all! I will definitely refer back to this when I have kids!

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      Chloe, thanks for your sweet comments. I hope my wisdom as well as mistakes will help others. Take care.

  11. Ada on June 6, 2018 at 12:31 am

    Wow. This is something I will definitely keep in mind when I start to have kids. I never even knew this was something parents felt.

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      Ada, you will be surprised at how crazy your feelings get when you are a mom. The mother bear comes out. And a bit of crazy. Ha ha.
      Thanks for your comment.

  12. Alison Rost on June 6, 2018 at 12:24 am

    This is something that a lot of parents do, I’ve gone through the same thing, comparing myself to others as a parent and how bad it felt when my children didn’t reach a milestone as soon as another child did. It’s important that we realize that all children are different and that they develop on their own pace. Comparing ourselves just isn’t healthy.

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:18 pm

      Alison, yes, it is hard to stay focused on where your child is at the time. I’m sure it is really hard for parents who have kids with special needs. You compare and pray to God your child reaches those same milestones some day.
      You will see your child grow and change in ways you never dreamed whether special needs or not.
      Thanks for your comment.

  13. Casey on June 5, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    Totally feel for you. Love your post! I had a similar experience and I still remember one thing which I din’t like was the pressure from other parents. I like their advises but sometimes can be overwhelm in a big way and I lost a few of them along the way…

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      Ouch, I am so sorry. I think that is the great thing about blogging. If you don’t like what you read, you can click it off! No hard feelings. Hope you do well with your kiddos.

  14. Brittany on June 5, 2018 at 11:41 pm

    Yep, Yep and Yep. You’ve touched these topics spot on!!! OMG the comparison and pressure from other parents is killing me!!! Every family is different!!!

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      I am so glad I hit a nerve. I am not the only one who felt discouraged at times. The pressure to have your kid in the right school, the best classes and the right extracurricular activities is overwhelming. What happened to just being a child!?
      Thanks for your comments.

  15. Tara Pittman on June 5, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Once we learn that each child is different things tend to go easier. Of my 4 boys only one got the potty training thing down right away.

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      Yeah, that’s the way life is, huh? Only 1 out of 4. Haha! They all have their own timing. I am sure they were all learning other things at the time.
      Thanks for your comment.

  16. Lauren Davis on June 5, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a great message to teach people.

  17. Nik on June 5, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Loved the article. Never read a blog talking about parenting in deep before. Helped me relate with parents deicisions. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      Nik, I am glad you took the time to read it. That means a lot. Have a great summer.

  18. Joanna on June 5, 2018 at 9:30 am

    I don’t have children so I can’t relate to this, but I do understand that each child develops in his own time and parents shouldn’t rush or worry about it. Comparing with other children is not healthy at all.

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Joanna, comparing with anything is difficult not to do! Thanks for your comment.

  19. Jessica Joachim on June 5, 2018 at 9:30 am

    My kids are still rather young, but I totally feel this post! Comparison is the thief of joy, and we cannot compare ourselves to other moms and can’t compare our kids. We are all different, and that’s good!

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Such a good saying. I still have to make sure not to compare even though my kids are old. Everyone has their own talents and gifts. Thaks for your comment.

  20. Amber Myers on June 5, 2018 at 7:39 am

    I so agree: it does all work out in the end. Parenting can be stressful though, that’s for sure. I try to never compare myself to others–I parent in my own way!

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      Amber, I am glad you parent your kids the way you need to for their needs. I would always add prayer helps! Thanks for your comment.

  21. Andrea Comala on June 4, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    This is a lot of great information. Thank you for sharing. I am not a parent yet but I often like to read these articles for my sister. She is in the same predicament with her son not peeing or using the restroom where he should.

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      OH, Andrea, tell her I can feel her pain. My mom used to say that they won’t graduate wearing diapers. Tell her she will get through it eventually. It is hard, but you just have to be patient and keep trying.
      Thanks for reading.

  22. Julie on April 12, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    Although my children are now grown, these are some great pointers for all parents. I should pass this along to my son, who is now Dad to two beautiful toddlers!

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      Julie, thanks. I hope you will pass this blog along. I pray you will enjoy being a grandma. I can’t wait! I bet it is fun. Thanks for reading.

  23. Preet on April 8, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    You have mentioned some amazing and so realistic points in this post. Parenting is such a learning curve and one piece of advice may work for one kid and not for other. Comparing and pressuring the kids is something I do not believe in, it is difficult to not but yet again, no two kids are same even in the same household and of same parents, we should appreciate and advise of their individualities and interests.

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      Preet, I see so much of this in Dallas. It is a big problem pushing kids too much. There is an enormous amount of depression and anxiety to keep up. It is important to push our kids to reach their highest potential and balance it with common sense. Thanks for your comment.

  24. Nailil on April 8, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    These are great tips, because parenting isn’t always easy it is refreshing to read information that reassures it will all work out somehow.
    Xx, Nailil

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      Nailil, thanks for your comment. It does seem to work out most of the time. Maybe not how we thought, but you do find God has a plan!

  25. Anna Cockayne on April 8, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    I wish I knew that my wonderful, behaved kids, would turn out to be stubborn, frustrating teen boys! LOL I agree with everything you wrote. I think we all compare ourselves to other parents constantly and it really does need to stop.

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      Anna, oh the teen years. They do turn back into humans after they go to college. Hold on. The good years are coming back! Thanks for your comment.

  26. Ana Ojha on April 8, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    I don’t have kids but I think that parenting is hard! There’s no right and wrong or any must rule when it comes to parenting. Whatever works best for you and your kids is just incredible!

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      Ana, I would agree mostly. It is never wrong to go to God and raise them biblically. It will not return void. And lots of prayers. Thanks for your comment.

  27. Indu on April 8, 2018 at 4:25 am

    Valuable information from parenting point of view. I loved reading your emotional journey with your adorable kids.

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      Indu, thank for saying that. They were good kids and I am glad to be their mom. Not perfect, but wonderful! Thank for reading.

  28. Evelyn, PathofPresence ? on April 7, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    Such wisdom in this post. Thank you for sharing your beautiful journey. It is amazing that as we raise our little Ones, we deepen and mature in the process. How circular it is that we feel like we are the adults when they are our spiritual teachers. ? Xo, Evelyn, ?

    • Julie Plagens on June 9, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      Evelyn, thanks for your sweet comment. Oh, my. How my children have taught me so much about God and His love. I am a better person for having them in my life.

  29. Ayana Nell on April 7, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    I really value advice like this from moms who had been through what I’m going through now!! I appreciate your raw honesty! <3 We struggled with potty training the first time we tried, but he excelled the second time! Not worrying about other people's opinions or standards is so important but definitely hard to practice!

    • Julie Plagens on April 7, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      I am so glad you realized this early on. I still struggle with this, but my kids are both doing fine. They have their struggles, and no one is perfect. Keep up the good work. Thanks for reading.

  30. Elizabeth O on April 7, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    #3 It all works out eventually is the best piece of advice you could have given in my opinion. Parenting is such a learning curve, no two children are the same but as parents all you can do is your best. Which it looks to me is exactly what you are doing.

    • Julie Plagens on April 7, 2018 at 5:09 pm

      Yes, it does work out. I still have to remind myself not to compare. I definitely pray about things a lot faster now.

  31. Monique Elise on April 7, 2018 at 7:07 am

    The points you brought up are so real! I’m not a parent yet but I’ve noticed there’s this unspoken amount of pressure and outright judgment if you or your kids don’t fall in line. It’s quite sad. Glad you were able to overcome all of that.

    • Julie Plagens on April 7, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      Yes, it is hard not to pressure your kids to do things to match up with the “Jones'” I have had to realize they all develop at a different rate.

  32. Mika on April 7, 2018 at 1:26 am

    So glad you were able to overcome those challenges, and be able to share them with us today. Thank you for sharing these valuable secrets with us!

  33. blyssyourheart on January 26, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    This is really great advice Momma, I literally did all of it when I was a new mom. Moms constantly have so much guilt about how they are parenting or if they are doing it right and then on top of that other parents come in with their own ways on how we should be doing things. Pray, Less Stress, and Love and we will be fine! httpss://

  34. Holly Lasha on January 26, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    So much to think about. Thank you for sharing.

  35. Heather on January 26, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Oh man this was good. I personally have struggled with other people who will critique or question what I am doing etc. It’s natural to want to explain yourself and I have had to learn to not. It’s not their child. Thanks for this!

    • Julie Plagens on January 27, 2018 at 1:51 am

      You bet! You are the best parent for your child!

  36. sarahcornell2005 on January 25, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    I get so tired of the parent comparison! Each child will learn and develope in his/her own time. My son was around 3 when he finally decided he was ready to talk and potty train all in the same week! He also didn’t walk till he was 14 months. I can’t tell you how many tricks and unwanted advice I was given and suggestions to have him tested because he was behind. He is now almost 10 and you would never be able to tell we struggled with those issues. Great post!

    • Julie Plagens on January 25, 2018 at 8:46 pm

      Thank you so much! I am so sorry you had to go through that. That’s kinda funny that he talked and potty trained all in the same week. I’m sure you were shocked. Its so hard for parents to know if it’s a learning issue or just developmental timing. Glad it worked out for you.

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