Are You Failing At Parenting?
Posted on 23 October 2015
Depending on your generation and your social and cultural background, being a good parent can mean a lot of different things. Historically some of those things include encouraging your children to get good grades, guiding girls on a path to modesty and chastity, raising as many children as you can in a religious path of your choosing, or simply helping your child to be moral and productive members of society. Of course, for many families all these things are still an important part of good parenting, as they should be.
In 2015 however, being a good parent is so much more than these ideas, and also so much simpler. In a time when everyone is connected, when there are so many online groups to join to find friends and create communities, when we are in constant contact with our loved ones, there are few of us able to experience the "it takes a village" sentiment of olden days. Shouldn't all the technological advancements of keeping our tribe close equate to raising the best children we can with the help of many? Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Because we are often child rearing on our own with our partner (or without), we are singularly responsible for each and every decision made on behalf of our kids, and also, how they turn out in the end. That is a lot of pressure for any one or two people to handle, especially if they are young, financially burdened, or dealing with many other responsibilities in their lives like working multiple jobs, caring for loved ones, or furthering their education.
For many of us then, "failing" at parenting is a real concern. From the time women learn they are pregnant their minds are flooded with the dos and don'ts. Don't eat lunch meat, take your vitamins, don't cosleep, be sure to babywear, don't use cry it out, stay home, go back to work. The rules and advice are endless, but where are these people when it comes to raising a happy, healthy, well-rounded child? Because isn't that the most important aspect of parenting, raising happy children?
Failing at parenting is not making the "wrong" decision when it comes to the day to day questions. It's about nurturing your children in a way that will give them the best future they can have, and that doesn't mean forcing education down their throat so they can be a rocket scientist, or making them practice piano for two hours a day so they can be a professional pianist. Though these goals and aspirations are admirable, if they are what your child chooses for themselves.
That's what this parenting thing really comes down to:
- Loving and supporting your children no matter what choices they make in life.
- Allowing them to make those decisions whether you agree with them or not.
- Raising them to respect others as well as themselves, and to love themselves regardless of the decisions they make, or the judgements that may be projected onto them from others.
- Giving them the freedom to be who they are, instead of who you want them to be, or think will give them the most "successful" future.
So should we raise our children to be productive, moral, modest, smart, and spiritual? Yes, keep any of these things that are important to you in mind when guiding your children through their lives, but remember that what we need to raise them to be is HAPPY, because that is all that really matters, and that is the definition of succeeding at parenting.
Long hair? Dig it. Tattoos? Embrace them. Wearing black, skulls, and tattered jeans? Accept it. Smile on their face? You've succeeded. Well done.