I’ve learned to develop a better sense of humor these days. I think it’s natural that as a parent, how you raise your children and take care of yourself are going to be a tightrope walk that comes with its share of struggles. I don’t worry about being perfect when it comes to the day in, day out choices that my wife and I make with the children- because if we spent so much time second guessing, we would find ourselves chasing our own shadows and the kids would rule the roost so to speak.
Have I been driving in a car with the children and just screamed to inform them that I’ve had enough of their bickering? Are there times when I just want to prove a point by giving them a learning lesson, when it would have been best to just be quick and succinct with my words and actions? There have even been times where I remember parts of a conversation but forget a key point- that days later my wife or daughters will call me on. We all make mistakes- but at this point in my life I chose to view these instances in a misstep light.
When I became a father in my 30’s, it was a daunting task to me. I wanted to make sure that I could guide these children while also allowing them room to breathe. I didn’t want to be known as a “helicopter” parent, one who micro-manages their child’s every move either in or outside the home. Considering they’ve had to grow up in many respects much quicker than biological children, my wife and I believed that consistency would go a long way to gain trust and build the bonds of attachment.
I want to make sure they can handle life at a rate of speed they feel comfortable with. I don’t want them to feel like they have to keep up with the latest and greatest trend setters. I want them to succeed of course, but I also want them to learn from their mistakes and search for better choices the next time they face a similar situation in their lives. I’ve never expected either of my children to have the academic grades I received- I only want them to put in the best effort possible. I want to encourage them to be polite, to be thankful and to be grateful for what they do have out of life. I don’t want them to fear males- I want to show them what an adult male should be and hopefully change their perception based on their previous history.
So I encourage all the parents of the world who are already doing a great job to understand your kids are going to fail at many things in life- but teaching them how to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and stay on course will do wonders for where they go in the future. Maybe they’ll have to start their own summer business if the job market is dry. Maybe they’ll have to entertain themselves with crayons and paper instead of the television and computers. Maybe they’ll be hurt emotionally by one of their friends and learn how to develop stronger, deeper connections as a result.
You can’t save children from experiencing loss or pain as these are aspects of life we all go through. They’ll hopefully develop sympathy and empathy as a result of taking this misstep and seeking out others for help. It’s ok to soften your approach from time to time and let your kids know that you are in their corner. Open the communication and you’ll have a future adult ready to tackle the world vibrantly.