parents-sons-966044_1280

Parenting. It’s not for the faint of heart!

Raising children is a full time, high stakes job for which most parents receive little to no training. This volunteer position is unpaid with zero hope of professional advancement and rarely provides opportunity for participation in professional development. A fortunate few have access to quality mentorship, but for the most part, feedback is negative. Oddly, parents are often their own biggest critics – with the possible exception of their children.  Meanwhile, on top of everything else, parents still have to keep their day jobs!

And yet, parents continue to raise children. Perhaps it is time to realize that all of us are in this together. It is not a competition. This thing called parenting is a marathon, not a sprint, and all parents need encouragement along the way.

Parents have the best of intentions, and oftentimes, their efforts are only exceeded by their love for their children. However, no one is perfect and it is important to keep in mind that every human throughout all time was raised by flawed parents. ALL parents have memories of regrets and failures, and most likely, every parent on the planet could share a personal horrible (but amusing) poop story.

Perhaps all parents should:

Stop to Love

Listen to Enjoy

Learn to Laugh

Keeping the following parenting truths in mind:

1. Trust yourself. You are the best and only parents for your children. You know what you’re doing. Although it may seem easier or better in other families, no one knows and understands your particular set of circumstances and your children better than you.

2. Your time and attention are the greatest gifts you can give your child. Talk, listen, respond. That’s it. Your love and connection is the glue that will keep you together and will help your child grow and develop.

3. No one has all the answers. Everyone is occasionally overwhelmed and although they may not show it, all parents have times when they feel:

  • Inadequate
  • Incompetent
  • Impatient
  • Irritated
  • Frazzled
  • Unorganized
  • Unprepared
  • Smelly, dirty and hungry
  • Unloved and unloving

4. Everyone makes mistakes. Losing your temper doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a parent. Misbehaving kids gives you a chance to rethink your strategies.  Life is full of teachable moments and do-overs.There is no magic formula or one size fits all recipe for success. It may take several failed attempts to get things right. Eventually you will find the rhythm that works for you. You won’t break your children by not getting things right the first time.

5. While it’s important for kids to learn about boundaries and wherever you draw the line, all kids will challenge those boundaries at some point.  ou are not being mean when you say no or when take a break from them. It’s natural and healthy for both you and your children to need some time away from each other. Go ahead. Hide in the bathroom. Keep a secret stash of chocolate. Eat ice cream after the kids go to bed.

6. As in all relationships, sometimes you might not like your kids very much, and they may not like you. That too, is normal and shall pass.

7. Each stage feels as though it will never end, and the next stage will either terrify you or look super easy. You will only realize how quickly time is flying then you look back. All those little things you do and say repeatedly every day matter.

Stop to Love

Listen to Enjoy

Learn to Laugh

Do you have a story to share with our readers? We want to hear it! Sign up for our Spoke Contributor Network and start submitting your writing today.