Whoever said parenting is easy, must have never been a parent themself. We are no superheros, we are adults that try to do our best in the parenting world, but we do seem to take on super powers at times! Welcome to parenthood! This is the most difficult task and challenge you will ever partake in. Being a parent comes with no owners manual, it’s a do it yourself kit. It has been said for many, many years that to be a parent you must allow yourself room for mistakes. I cannot say enough how true this statement is. Let’s face it, parenting can be an incredibly tough act. Some parents try too hard, some parents don’t try enough, and some feel that they have failed as parents when they start comparing themselves to other parents. Other parents feel that they are a failure when their kids grow up and do not become the people they would like them to be, or when they compare their children and the way they turned out to someone elses child/children.
Kids are a direct production of ourselves. I was raised in a household where we learned to respect our elders, say “yes ma’am and yes sir” and where we never raised our voice or threw a hissy fit especially in public. If we did there were consequences to be paid. Back in our day, there was no need for a ‘time out chair’ for children. When my parents raised their voice, we did as they said, no ‘if’s and’s or but’s about it!’ I grew up in a generation where honesty and integrity were imperative and where we did things because we wanted to not because we had to. We worked and did chores if we wanted a new pair of jeans or wanted to borrow the car to go to the mall or a football game on a Friday night. Our parents didn’t just hand us money. Your child should not have an abundant sized allowance, this won’t teach them anything. Regardless of how much you make, they couldn’t possibly need a wad of cash. Make them work hard for their money, and don’t cave in if they don’t do all of their chores and just give them the allowance. You’re only hurting yourself if you do and you’re not teaching them anything about working hard for their money. Life in the real world is not easy, and if you cheat as a parent and take the easy route to appease them, are you not giving your kids the tools they need to succeed.
I was the oldest of three siblings and I took the brunt of getting in trouble first and getting grounded. I was the ‘learning tool’ where as by the time it came to my brother and sister, my parents hit a ‘learning curve’ and weren’t as tough on them as they were myself. Being the oldest child was not easy, and I was the black sheep of my family. Back in the day, parents pretty much dictated to us what our lifetime goals and achievements would be. We didn’t get to choose…well, at least that was how it was supposed to work. I broke all the rules when I married at 19 and moved out-of-state to begin a new chapter in my life. No longer the dream of two parents that their daughter would go to nursing school…A kid still myself I learned about life the hard way. While my friends were at college drinking and joining sororities I was walking the floors all night with babies that were jaundice and colically. Utilities, various bills, food, diapers, formula and doctor bills came first. My needs were no longer a priority. Both myself and my husband experienced life changes, but I don’t regret the path I took for a minute. Now there was someone else to consider. So how did I do it? Lucky for me I had fabulous parents and grandparents that raised me with morals and ethics that allowed me to soar through life showing love, warmth and compassion for others. My dreams were to raise my children to be as loving and kind toward others, and to instill the same morals that were taught to me. I raised them with respect and taught them how to respect others. I always told them to follow their hearts, and as my grandmother used to say; “If you’re going to dream, dream big!”
So how does one become a good parent? I’m certainly no expert here, nor am I giving you professional advice. Parenting is neither about making comparisons nor is it about you as a parent having a blueprint of success for your children. Good parenting skills require time. You do not turn into a good parent in just a matter of weeks. Like any other skills, parenting involves time and hard work. You will learn to become a better parent as your children are growing up. It also requires a lot of sacrifices. As a parent, you cannot simply go on weekly vacations with your friends. You can do that when you were single but now as a parent, your children are your responsibility. As a parent, you must bear in mind that your family is the most important thing. If you become a divorced parent like I did, life becomes a bit more difficult but you do the best that you can for your child/children.
Good parenting is also about being a good role model for your children to emulate. Children will observe the way their parents act, talk and react. As they are in their formative years, they do not know the difference between right and wrong so they will depend on their parents for wisdom. It is important that you impart good morals and values to them so that they will be in a good shape when they encounter difficulties and strugglers along the way. Never fight their battles for them, this won’t teach them anything. Allow them to make their own choices. No, they may not be the ‘right’ choices, but they will learn from them if they are mistakes, and hopefully grow from these experiences.
One good parenting skill is the ability to forgive and accept. Sometimes, because of extreme disappointment and frustration over their children, some parents simply give up. This is when your children will need their parents the most. As bad as they may seem at times, parents will be the main source of forgiveness and acceptance. While it will take time to wash away the pain, love is something that should never ever fade away. There is no checklist of appropriate actions for your children that you can teach as a parent. Patience is a virtue. Our love and guidance will send them in the right direction to make their ‘life choices.’ Just as with the choices we made as parents, we made mistakes, and so will our children. Stand behind them and encourage them always. Never shelter them..you aren’t helping them, you are hurting them. Allow them to make their own decisions. If they change their major in college 5 times so be it. If they choose to quit a great paying job for one that pays far less but makes them happier and is less stressful, accept it and be proud that they took this stance and followed their inner instincts to do what not many others will. Sometimes life is about taking risks. I could not be prouder of my two children, a son 28 and a daughter almost 26. One in marketing, and the other in fashion design. Both majoring with business in their degrees. They love what they do and they, like myself,welcome change. They live in 2 of the largest cities in the USA and they roll with the hectic life where everyday is a different day, loving it even more.
When I look at them, I see a direct reflection of myself. Why? Because I worked hard, took business classes, started a few small businesses and along the way of raising them to the best of my ability, I taught them to make their own decisions. This makes a child unique and a lot less vulnerable. It gives them a great sense of confidence as well. Parenting certainly is not easy. As a single mother (by choice) I worked 2, sometimes 3 jobs to give them the education and worldly travel that they needed to experience cultures, economy, love, religion. I have been truly blessed. My children show me everyday on a daily basis what life, and love are all about, and they spoil me, so if you sit back and often wonder if someday your children will do kind deeds for you and make sacrifices for you at the drop of a hat, the answer is YES. If you raised them with this respect of life and love, they will indeed. I can only hope that how I was raised, and how I raised them, that they will someday raise their families with the same love and compassion. Being a single parent was my super power, what’s yours?