Parents: Act Like Warriors

Rich Stowell, PhD
5 min readNov 28, 2023

It’s tough being a parent today. Lessons from the battlefield can help you do it right.

Aside from the physical demands of parenting (keeping up with endlessly energetic kids), and the financial challenges (from birth to 18, the average American child costs over $310,000 according to the Brookings Institution), the emotional cost of being a mom or dad can feel overwhelming.

If you’re like most parents, fear and anxiety about your children’s safety and well-being weighs you down. The cliché about kids giving you gray hair is rooted in scientific truth.

The list of concerns parents have for their children is long, according to a recent report by Pew: the threat of drug and alcohol use, becoming a parent too early, getting bullied, getting into trouble with the law, and becoming a victim of a crime.

But by far the top concern is our children’s mental health. Three-quarters of parents say they are worried about their kids struggling with anxiety or depression, for example.

Kids today are a greater risk than ever of being exposed to mental health threats.

Parents, whether you realize it or not, you are in a battle against myriad threats to your children’s mental and emotional well-being.

You fight for and protect your children. More importantly, you face the fears of threats to them and yet you demonstrate daily the courage to continue.

What is a warrior?

A warrior is someone ready for battle. It is someone who trains, leads others, and puts cause above self. It is someone who lives by a warrior ethos.

American Soldiers operate by an ethos that includes four tenets. They apply perfectly to the parenting struggle.

Mission first. Warriors know their objective. They organize, train, and fight to meet it. They refuse to let distractions cloud their vision. They give their all to the mission.

As parents, you have a mission — to protect your kids and prepare them to thrive in a complex world. When the mission is properly understood, directing your resources toward it becomes easier. It empowers you to analyze risks and know what you are willing to accept. All this in the context of what you really…