Parenthood does not come with any instructions on how to be a great parent nor raise great kids. I’ve heard many a parent comment that kids do not come with instruction manuals and wished there were something to help.
Some of us carry on with how our parents raised us (whether we mean to or not) and some chose to go to the complete opposite hoping not to repeat what they themselves felt was lacking when they were raised.
Numerous books have been written on child rearing which results in parents adopting whatever philosophies are shared…only to later find out that whichever technique they were using from the book has now been replaced with a new option, discounting the previous method as being an incorrect or outdated.
The essential point we need to remember (from my perspective) is each one of as us as parents, AND each of our children, are unique individuals – we are all different. Therefore how can there be a one-technique-fits-all solution?
This is when we as parents choose to ‘do our best’ and hope our children ‘turn out OK’.
The recent article below had me recall one of the phrases I used to say to myself when I was going through the earliest stages of parenthood – what I liken to as living with early insanity.
“If we allow our children to rule our lives, it’s liken to allowing the inmates at the asylum ruling the facility.”
Many dreaded the “terrible twos” which we decided was not an option. We took advise from my late father who said they were the “testy twos”. Children get up each day and try to reach something on the counter and eventually they can reach it. They try to pick up something or put something together and eventually they do. They are constantly “testing” their boundaries. So, from their perspective they are meant to test AND this includes all the rules we as parents are attempting to each them. They are not being difficult or terrible – they are just testing. This is where that “lots of love and consistent rules comes in” – being consistent while they test.
Walter and I are still raising our son – he’s not quite 12. Together we agreed early on to adopt the attitude this was our train ride and he was along for the ride. We would do our best to make each day count – using lots of love and consistent rules – but it was going to remain our journey. When he is old enough to do his own thing, and wants to hop on a different train ride – well, all the power to him. Until then we would do our best and lead from example.
We don’t always succeed and occasionally have to regroup but we figure showing our son that we are fallible – that’s all good! And we are still learning. As soon as we learned how to speak “10-year-old”, he turned 11 and now that we have “11-year-old” just about worked out he’s turning 12. Thus, keeping us all on our toes.
I hear teenage-hood is supposed to be rather interesting and many a friend with adult children have shared their horror stories and said “just wait” with a certain tone in their voice most often paired with a set of eyes rolling. We plan to approach this stage of parenthood the same way we did with the “testy twos”.
This seems to be in keeping with John Rosemond’s articles “The primary objective is to raise a child such that community and culture are strengthened.” While neither of us are family psychologist we just may be onto something!