Being a parent is a really tough job. There is no right or wrong way. There simply is no training in book form or in the upbringing that one self has, that prepares you for the day you too, become a parent.
I feel my daughter is a much better mother than I was. Even so, circumstances are different and times have changed. She was almost fifteen years old when she left home and yes, I was instrumental in her departure. She was choosing her anger and drug use along with a delinquent lifestyle over school and the security of life at home. It was the hardest and most heart breaking decision I have ever had to make. It hurt and pained me beyond words. The only way I managed to do that was with the support of very dear and profoundly wise friends.
She came good and is herself now a parent of two. I have watched her commit to not being the same style of parent I was. Thank goodness! I never knew what I was doing anyway. It was simply trial and error and bouncing along doing the best I could.
I have had to learn to stay out of her business (at times, failed horribly). I have been the onlooker for many years. I have been witness to the excessive Christmases. I have witnessed grandchildren never want for anything. I have witnessed the onset of the social media circus. The absolute ‘buy or die’ need to have the latest iPhone. How essential it is to a kid’s life to view the latest Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook message, continually. Maybe that goes for many adults too.
I have also come to the conclusion that you really can do too much for your children and inhibit their growth of independence, self reliance and self responsibility. Molly coddling or babying your children is a recipe for disaster, so is giving them everything they want.
This comes in many guises. Referring to your offspring as “your babies”, “your little boy”, “your princess”, even when they have become young adults. By not showing them how to clean up after themselves, keep their rooms clean, hang out washing, empty a dishwasher, cook or even know that an empty toilet roll goes in the rubbish, not on the floor, is not doing anyone any favours. How we make a rod for our own backs!
What is often overlooked is the fact that each family member has feelings and the innate desire to be respected, heard and seen. Yes! Even children! How often do we honour each other in this way? This is a skill learned at home and affects our relationships in the outer world with friends, relatives, school teachers and the person serving you at the shops to name a few.
Do everything for your kids?
You will finish up with thanklessness, verbal abuse, complete disrespect, and a big dose of disdain chucked in for good measure, (probably directed at you from over the top of an iPhone screen).
Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that fundamental life skills are lacking in the over protected. They get to become adults without knowing how to be one.
Oh yes. Becoming a parent was never meant to be easy. You just can’t stop being one either. There is no Off switch. By the way I am not perfect either!