Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Being the Parent

I woke up early today and wrote a 4000 word rant that I was going to publish as a blog post today. It needs editing to condense it, and I don't have the time today and may not have the time for a week or two. It might too, tell too much personal information. I decided to boil it down to its main point and share that today instead.

A parent should not look to their children to provide them with happiness and self-fulfillment of a parenting job well done at the present time when life is unfolding. Instead a parent needs to do the right thing, the best thing for their child's growth and development. The parent needs to find fulfillment in knowing they did the best and right thing, using their mature perspective and values as the barometer, instead of looking solely to external signposts, such as outward signs from their children that they are going in the right direction in the moment. Sometimes things must be done now with rewards reaped in the future, years down the road perhaps.

Our children don't always understand the wisdom behind what their parents expect of them. They need not always understand or agree--they should just do what is right and obey their parents, trusting that their parents are wiser and are more experienced and therefore are guiding them on the right path. There is a huge difference between not wanting our children to do the negative thing by being blind followers of their peers and their obedience in doing what their loving and wise parents want them, guide them, lead them, or tell them to do.

Children don't always like, in the present moment, what is right or necessary for their well-being, personal growth, safety or health. It is up to the adult parent to guide them to do what needs to be done or what should be done for a better outcome. The child is too ignorant and should not override the parent's wisdom.

A simple example is if the doctor prescribes an antibiotic for a bacterial infection it must be taken even if the child doesn't enjoy the taste.

Another example is for a child to finish a job they started to fulfill their accepted obligation instead of taking the lazy way out and quitting at the half way point.

A third example is to learn their math facts now despite it being 'not fun' or even 'boring' as it will help them do more complex mathematical operations in future years (something they probably care nothing about in the present moment).

There is a definate line between right application of attachment parenting principles and the wrong application of permissive parenting or lazy parenting. There is a fine line between healthy and positive parenting where parents are in charge and negative, too-strict and dictatorship type authortarian parenting. There is a fine line between setting limits and having too few limits or too many limits. There is a fine line between using our children as gauges of how our methods are working and having the children parenting themselves or controlling the whole family. The trick is to get the balance right yet the scale is not our children's declaration of their opinion on the fairness or fun factor of the parent's decision. Parents need to have a moral compass and goals and plot their own path. Any sense of job satisfaction that comes from feeling that we've got the balancing act just right should come from within not from external sources, one being our children's opinion of the moment.

1 comment:

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Oh, I struggled with getting my daughter to buckle down and memorize her math facts. She is a quick learner, but that takes some work that she didn't want to do.

Great thoughts. Being the parent is hard.