31 Inspiring Parenting Quotes for Hard Times

Written by Dr Lucy Russell DClinPsyc CPsychol AFBPsS
Dr Lucy Russell Founder of They Are The Future
Author: Dr Lucy Russell

Sometimes I stumble across a parenting quote that will suddenly stop me in my tracks. There is nothing like a powerful quote to inspire action and positive reflection.

I’m Dr Lucy Russell, child clinical psychologist.

In my 23 years as a psychologist my favourite part has been working with parents to build their confidence and resilience in the face of challenges.

Parenting Quotes

Quotes are a powerful way to motivate ourselves and others. In the face of adversity, quotes can put things into perspective and remind us that all is not lost.

I decided to put together some inspirational parenting quotes for hard times.

Some are famous quotes from writers or celebrities.

Others are my own parenting quotes – extracts from my blog articles.

I have divided the quotes into subsections so you can find a parent quote that fits with what you need at the moment.

I hope you like them!

a stressed mother sitting on a sofa

Parenting is Hard Quotes

As parents, we are often bombarded with the thought that someone else is doing it better.

It can be frustrating when you find yourself having this thought, but it’s important to realize that there are many different parenting styles.

What’s right for one child or family may not be a good fit for another.

Trying to be a perfect parent is a recipe for disaster. It will lead to guilt and shame, which will impact your relationship with your child negatively. We can reflect and improve, but we also need to relax and enjoy our parenting journey.

Don’t let negative thoughts and self-doubt get in your way of being a good parent.

Try to be confident in the decisions you make and not compare yourself to someone who may have a different parenting style than you.

I have hand-picked these quotes for inspiration!

“The thing about parenting rules is there aren’t any. That’s what makes it so difficult.” Ewan McGregor

“The universe doesn’t allow perfection.” Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking the universe doesn't allow perfection quote

“Parenting has nothing to do with perfection. Perfection isn’t even the goal, not for us, not for our children. Learning together to live well in an imperfect world, loving each other despite or even because of our imperfections, and growing as humans while we grow our little humans, those are the goals of gentle parenting. So don’t ask yourself at the end of the day if you did everything right. Ask yourself what you learned and how well you loved, then grow from your answer. That is perfect parenting.” L.R. Knost, author

I hope my favorite parenting is hard quotes will reassure you that to be a role model for your children, you should allow them to see your flaws and mistakes.

Apply the 80-20 rule and try to get it right most of the time, and don’t sweat the little things that go wrong!

Parenting Quotes for Hard Times: When Your Child is Pushing the Boundaries

As a parent it can be hard to know what to do when your child is pushing the boundaries. It can feel like you are in the midst of a battlefield and it will never end.

It requires so much patience!

But it will end.

Things will get better.

Children change constantly as they enter different developmental stages and experience different life circumstances. This means that their relationship with you will be ever-changing and evolving too, and you can shape the way it develops.

These quotes will reassure you!

“If you have never been hated by your children you haven’t been a parent.” Bette Davis

Bette Davis parenting quote

“Any child in his right mind will test the limits. That’s his job. He’s pretty new on the planet, after all, and he’s figuring out the rules. The most common reason that children test the limits is that they really want to find out where those limits are. Children need the security of knowing that someone more experienced and knowledgeable is looking out for them. They don’t feel safe when we don’t guide and nurture. That’s why we often say that children will keep pushing until they find our limits.” Dr. Laura Markham

“It would be unhealthy for a child not to feel they could present their point of view. If your child is argumentative, congratulate yourself that they feel safe enough to share their views openly and passionately with you.” Dr Lucy Russell (This quote is taken from my article on How to Deal With an Argumentative Child.)

parenting quotes for hard times: when your child pushes the boundaries

“If you have an argumentative or defiant child be proud that they: are practising skills for becoming a confident leader; feel safe enough to express their views; often have advanced reasoning and logic skills; and are passionate about their points of view.” Dr Lucy Russell (an extract from my article: How to Deal With an Argumentative Child)

Of course, in the moment, parenting a spirited (strong willed or opinionated!) child can be hard work.

But in the long run, your child will be honing invaluable assertiveness and leadership skills.

Strong children grow up to be strong – and often very successful – adults.

thoughtful woman sitting alone on a park bench

Parenting Quotes: When You Feel You Have Lost Your Way

Despite incredible advances in modern science and technology which are meant to make life easier, our lives today often feel overwhelming and unbalanced.

We often feel that we spend too much time working, or that our children spend too much time using electronic devices.

We may get stuck in a rut of regular “bad days” where we feel we are not creating the best lifestyle or atmosphere for ourselves and our family members. But we don’t know how to get started in moving out of this rut.

I love the simple truths contained in some of my favorite quotes below. They encourage us to start small, but just make a start.

This is a valuable lesson when we feel lost or overwhelmed.

They motivate us to focus on just one area, and to place our values front and centre as the most important thing.

“If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means, keep moving.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King quote about resilience

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” Confucius

upset mother comforting teen daughter

“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” L.R. Knost, Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages

Parenting quote by LR Knost

“If you are stuck in a rut, do something different. Just pick one small thing”. Dr Lucy Russell (an extract from my article: How to Deal With an Argumentative Child)

parenting quote for when you feel stuck in a rut

“Optimists focus more on the problem itself rather than on managing emotions that may result from the problem, and are less likely to simply ignore the problem. Optimists have a greater sense of control and ownership.” Dr Lucy Russell. This quote is an extract from my article, Tips for Building Confidence in Teenagers and Children.

thoughtful man alone in a forest

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Jane Goodall

Dr Jane Goodall making a difference quote

During difficult times one of the hardest things to do is to find the energy to take action. The best way is to stick to tiny actions which move you in the right direction.


Parenting Quotes For Hard Times: When Your Child is Having a Difficult Time

When our children are going through hard times, we feel it so deeply, it’s as though we were going through it ourselves.

We want to take away their pain.

Here are some quotes which will help you support your child.

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt inspirational quote: With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts

“All thoughts pass. All emotions pass. There is blue sky above the clouds. The blue sky represents happiness and calmness. When thought or emotion clouds are directly above us, we cannot see the blue sky. The cloud dominates and it is hard to think of anything else. But we must remember that the cloud will pass. There is blue sky beyond the cloud.” Dr Lucy Russell. This quote is an extract from my article: Helping Teens With Anxiety.

“Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end!” John Lennon

John Lennon everything will be okay quote

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind!” Dr. Seuss

“It is time for parents to teach young people that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” Maya Angelou

parent quotes for hard times: Maya Angelou

“Name your differences with pride.” Dr Lucy Russell (from my article: Tips for Building Confidence in Teenagers and Children)

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

thoughtful woman drinking coffee in her kitchen

“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” Virginia Woolf

Parenting quote virginia woolf be yourself

“Don’t let the muggles get you down.” J.K. Rowling

Parent Quotes For When You Feel Overwhelmed

The first step to overcoming an overwhelming situation is realising it and admitting you can’t do it all. This means taking a break and getting some perspective.

In my opinion, a great parent models rest and relaxation balanced with meaningful action.

Also, as our children get older we need to remember that we cannot be responsible for them the whole time.

This quote by Anne Frank is such a poignant reminder that though we can shape our children to an extent, they are also independent spirits.

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” Anne Frank

Anne Frank parenting quote

If you know that family life is not as you want it to be and you are trying to shape it towards closer relationships and more good times, remember that progress isn’t linear.

Some days you will feel great about your parenting and your family life, and other days you will just be trying to keep your head above water.

The quotes below will soothe you during those difficult days.

“If you take a baby step and it doesn’t work out, don’t worry. Try again another day.” Dr Lucy Russell  (from my article Phobia: Supporting Your Child)

parenting quotes baby steps

If we had no Winter, the Spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” Charlotte Bronte

charlotte bronte quote adversity and hard times

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” Epictetus

“The man who moves a mountain does so by carrying away small stones.” Confucius

Parenting quotes for hard times: one step at a time

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” A.A. Milne

“Not everything that weighs you down is yours to carry.” Anonymous

parenting quotes for hard times when you feel overwhelmed

“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt

theodore roosevelt parenting quote

“Micro changes in your body language can send soothing and calming messages to your brain. Take a deep breath into your belly, soften your shoulders and relax your muscles.” Dr Lucy Russell (an extract from my article: How to deal With an Argumentative Child)

In my opinion, the best parenting quotes either make us feel energised or soothed. All the quotes above do that for me!

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Dr Lucy Russell is a UK clinical psychologist who works with children and families. Her work involves both therapeutic support and autism assessments. She is the Clinical Director of Everlief Child Psychology, and also worked in the National Health Service for many years.

In 2019 Lucy launched They Are The Future, a support website for parents of school-aged children. Through TATF Lucy is passionate about giving practical, manageable strategies to parents who may otherwise struggle to find the support they need.

Lucy is a mum to two teenage children. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, children, rescue dog and three rescue cats. She enjoys caravanning and outdoor living, singing and musical theatre.

Join They Are The Future’s free Facebook group for regular tips on supporting school-aged children with their mental health! Join the group: Parent Tips for Positive Child Mental Health UK.

parent tips for positive mental health facebook group