Blog 87. Parenting: Are You Willing To Become What It Takes To Be A Parent?
(If you find this informative helpful, then please find the donate options at the end of this blog in order to ensure this website’s future. Thank you.)
As I wrote in a previous section, marriage is about growing up. And choosing to become a parent is also about growing up. It’s about learning to take responsibility for another human being and crucially, it’s about understanding what good parenting actually entails – not only for the parent but also for a child.
A child changes a person’s life.
Suddenly you are known as mummy or as daddy and your unique individuality can begin to fade, as your life starts to merge with the needs of your child. For many parents this can denote a massive struggle, especially if their own identity wasn’t strong enough to begin with.
But also, if you have is no robust family support then parenting can become very stressful. It is sometimes necessary to ask for advice or help from people like family members, whom you can trust. But also, children can benefit hugely from an extended family environment where they can gain access to further nurturing and learning. And also, babysitters can be expensive and having family members who are prepared to help, can be an important blessing.
But either way – good parenting often starts with the parent.
In order for a child to feel safe, in order for a child to understand good boundaries and to enable a child to gain a sense of who they are – they will need a parent to be equipped with:
- Good leadership skills.
- An understanding of how important it is to show by example: By applying good disciplinary habits with regards getting things done, exercising, eating healthily, managing money, time, and so on.
- An inner confidence.
- A good sense of the emotional self.
- And an understanding of the importance of maintaining good boundaries.
A child needs to feel safe and being around parents who are confident will enable a child to feel secure. A child needs discipline and if parents are disciplined themselves – this will rub off on the child. Children need boundaries and if parents adhere to their own boundaries – this then sets a good example for a child.
Children start absorbing and learning from their surroundings from day one. They are like sponges, watching, seeing, listening to everything that is said and done around them. It is therefore so important that parents create a good environment for children to learn and feel safe in.
But if children sense that a parent is indecisive or unsure – this often gives a child the upper hand. Children are very quick to realise what is expected of them – and what they can get away with. And if they recognise that you’re a push over, then trying to discipline a child or trying to get your point across, can become a struggle.
And if parents do not stand united – this could give a child many mixed messages and chaos could develop. Parents often land themselves in trouble as a result – forgetting the importance of consistency and working together as a team.
But most importantly, the parental relationship is just as relevant in a child’s life. As I have written many times over – the parental relationship becomes the relationship blueprint for a child. Children absorb everything they see and hear and they will watch how their parents behave in a relationship too – so that they can copy how it’s done. Without a ‘parental relationship reference point’, a child may find maintaining long-term relationships in adulthood very hard to achieve.
The process of parenting is therefore a combination of many factors, which adults often forget.
Our own childhood can lay well into the past and often we forget all the subtle nuances of exactly what happened, what we saw, what we absorbed and so on.
And parenting takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. There are also no hard and fast rules either. Consequently, parents often report that mostly they fly by the seat of their pants and often they rely mostly on what they learnt from their own families.
On top of these sentiments, parents can sadly pass on emotional baggage from one generation to the next, often inadvertently – unless someone finally questions it.
Carl Jung once wrote, “ In any case of a child’s neurosis, I go back to the parents and see what is going on there, because children have no psychology of their own, literally taken.”
It is for these reasons that I usually suggest that a couple attend a series of therapy sessions before they become parents – so that as parents they do not pass onto their children, issues that are not theirs to carry.
This is because, right from the start a parent’s role is to teach a child to become emotionally, physically, and intellectually self-sufficient. This usually occurs through good nurturing, care and education.
As Alfred Adler once wrote, “ Never do for a child what he can do for himself.”
This is what helps a parent nurture an independent thinking child that will be able to fend for themselves – and who will return glad of what they were taught.
Wikipedia states that: “Social class, wealth, culture and income have a very strong impact on what methods of child rearing are used by parents. Cultural values play a major role in how a parent raises their child. However, parenting is always evolving and as times change, cultural practices and social norms and traditions change too.”
The basic premises still remains: If a child has been taught about good boundaries, self-discipline and self-awareness, if they have been shown good enough love and care then studies show that a child is more inclined to succeed in adulthood.
In other words, if parents have taken enough time to be attentive, and to instil confidence in a child, this can help a child feel good about itself, and consequently they become more prone to success than if they had received the opposite.
Also, studies have shown that when parents use language that is positive and affirming a child grows up more confident. However, if a child is constantly told it is naughty, stupid, incompetent, lazy or useless and so on, this creates a negative self-belief system that many find hard to ignore. It can stick around for years and consequently, it can become the inner emotional identity of the child or adult.
When this occurs, many of these children can find themselves drawn into a life filled with failure. They may see colleagues rise up the corporate system, they may see others with more money, better relationships, and so on – all because their earlier positive and affirming nurturing may have been lacking.
This is certainly seen in children who have been abandoned or where a parent/s or indeed a nurturing care system has failed the child.
And even more sadly, it can be seen in those who try to find solace in gang membership as they try to replace their family life. But not having known positive nurturing, this choice often leads to a destructive lifestyle filled with drugs, alcohol, leading possibly to theft etc, and possible even prison. Usually this only results in further feelings of failure, sadness, loss and even suicide.
So yes, choosing to become a parent entails massive responsibilities that can bear huge consequences if things go wrong – consequences that many are not always entirely aware of.
And many clients have even admitted that had they known exactly what parenting really involved they would never have had a child.
But also, many don’t realise exactly what a child costs.
When a child looks longingly at you wanting the next pair of expensive shoes which everyone, absolutely everyone else is wearing, which you are unable to afford, and you then have to explain this to your child and see them walk away – your heart will bleed. Although this may be a good lesson that we don’t always get what we want, it still remains heart wrenching when it happens.
And these days giving children a good education is not cheap either.
This is why so many like A.P.J. Abdul Kalam have often said of bring up children: “Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.”
But even amid all the sacrifices comes joy.
There will be very special moments and memories as your child or children grow up and develop a personality – and as they develop into who they will eventually become.
Having a hand in this, is a great blessing with many rewards, many disappointments and yet many amazing reminders that many say they would never have had – had they not made the decision to have children.
© 2018 Deidré Wallace All rights reserved.
Note: Please do subscribe to my blog website. I will not bombard you with e-mails. You will get a monthly reminder of my website for your perusal. However, if there is a new offer, separate to the blog site I will e-mail you. Thank you.
Help Support My Blog
Your contribution helps funds and support my blog. If everyone who likes this blog and finds it useful, then also helps to fund it, its future will be more secure.
Donations are taken via PayPal. You can donate with your PayPal account or with a card.
Your details will stay with us (and PayPal) and we won’t spam you..