If you consider how many parenting manuals available, it’s surprising that more kids aren’t growing up to be super-successful, contributing members of a utopian society by now. I mean, the world should be an absolutely flawless place if everyone reading (and applying) those guidelines into the rearing of their children the way the experts say to, right? Except that it’s not.
I remember well, all of the unsolicited advice I was given from family and friends. Some with children and (as shocking as it may seem) some without children, all had something to offer on the subject of raising children. I don’t know if I’m just stubborn, but it all got too ridiculous to deal with. So I stopped listening. I stopped looking for approval from other people, and I stopped caring about their perspectives so much. Ultimately, so as not to be a complete hypocrite, I stopped giving advice as well.
Until one day, I was actually asked.
I have a 10-year-old. She’s well-behaved, very much a book worm, and relatively calm (outside of her dramatic emotional binges). She’s honest to a fault, and actually a pretty good kid, except for a few things, that we work on, that still remind me that yes, she’s a child, and as a child is unfit to care for herself completely unattended and this immaturity will continue to display (in hopefully less significant episodes) as she gets older. So, upon being asked for advice, I was flattered, but also concerned. Concerned, because these people were relative strangers- I’d met them only that day, and they’d experienced just a few moments of my daughter and her behavior. So, I thought for a moment, not wanting to break my own ‘no-advice’ rule. I came up with the following, which I think exhibits well my overall feeling of parenting:
Always be honest– it teaches honesty, and it shows the child that you value them, even in your own moments of imperfection, to treat them with dignity and respect. The same dignity and respect that you’ll expect from them. Apologize when you lose your temper, because you will, and one day, they will, and will know that there’s no shame in an apology. Know that you’re going to screw up the parenting thing. Don’t expect that you’ll be able to do it flawlessly, because those who think they have flawless parenting, probably will have adult children with a very different story. You’re going to love your baby for the rest of your life, do what you do in that vein: to protect them and care for them, and you’ll be okay.