The Most Frustrating Experience In Life
There is absolutely no relationship a human can have that’s more rewarding, more awe-inspiring, and more frustrating than the one between parent and child.
Sure, people say their pets are just like their kids, or they love their spouse as much as they love their kids or whatever, but that’s not the same thing.
The parent child relationship is on a level all its own.
For years, I didn’t understand this. I hated hearing people waxing poetic about their kids. I felt like, “What’s the big deal, lots of people have kids, so yours are not so special…”
But now that I have kids of my own, I get it. I really, really get it. That one on one bond is unlike anything else you’ll ever experience in life.
That’s not to say that parenting is always easy. On the contrary, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, and sometimes the thought that I’m only a few years into it is stunning. It feels like life has always been this way!
Whenever I get to interview guests who have expert knowledge on parenting and what makes kids tick, I enjoy it immensely. After all, a lot of the conventional “wisdom” on parenting has produced disastrous results, so hearing good, common sense advice helps me immensely.
It lets me know that my wife and I are on the right track with how we’re raising our boys. That peace of mind is priceless when you’re a parent.
Also, it gives me an idea of how we’ll handle future situations, and what the ramifications might be if we choose parenting idea A over parenting idea B.
Not too long ago, I had not one but two great guests on. One of them was inspirational speaker, author and filmmaker Philip Mc Kernan. While he’s not an expert on parenting per se, his advice resonated with me so well it gave me chills.
The other was speaker, physician, and author Dr. Gabor Mate. He’s written many books including one entitled Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers. His advice to me was invaluable as well.
I thought I’d share some of the best pieces with you today.
Getting Caught In The Trap
First, when it comes to planning for the future, think of yourself and your life first. When you’re considering taking a promotion or moving to another area, it’s too easy to get caught up in the trap of, “Oh, but Billy loves living here by his friends – I don’t want to take him away from all of that.”
If you plan with your kids in mind, you won’t create a compelling life to live, and that can build resentment and discontent. Little Billy may be fine here in this town, but he’ll have a good life in the next one, too, and when he can see that he has a happy, fulfilled father or mother, he’ll feel secure and that will only add to his well-being.
Be Present For The Young Year
Yes, I know, babies can seem like a drag. They eat, they cry, they sleep, and not much else goes on for months on end, so it feels like a lot of work without much reward. Some parents don’t even want to interact with their children before they can talk. This is a complete mistake.
Your child will get a greater sense of security and closeness just by having you in the same room. If your baby is just laying there on their mat or your toddler is playing, you might think they’re not even paying attention to you, but subconsciously, they are. Just knowing that you’re there gives them the confidence they need to play and learn.
Don’t wait until they can throw a ball, or even walk to engage with them. You’ll lose out on crucial development time. Start when they’re young and talk to them, see what they’re interested in, and spend the time to just be present with them – even if they’re just a few weeks old, they know you’re there for them. There’s nothing more important than the gains they’ll see in their cognitive development, so put down the phone and engage.
When disciplining your young child, it can be tempting to put them in their room and close the door, but that’s just about the worst thing you can do. It deprives the child of the thing that’s most important to them – their attachment to you. When they’re in a state of upset and deprivation, they can’t learn, so the “time-out” approach doesn’t actually work and, in fact, does more harm than good.
Bonds Are Sacred
As your kids grow older, strengthen your bond with them and keep your family unit tight. Friends are great, but the friend relationships they’ll develop should never overtake the parental relationship in terms of importance. Kids are supposed to enjoy themselves and act like kids, sure, but they’re ultimately supposed to grow into productive adult members of society. Friends can’t teach them how to do that. Only you can. So let them have their play time, but keep family time sacred and let nothing come between you and them.
Finally, let your older kids know that winning is great and it feels amazing, but losing is not the end of the world. Tell them this verbally, of course, but then be vulnerable enough to let them see that sometimes, you lose, too. Take them bowling and let them giggle when you throw a gutterball. Tell them if you had a not-so-great meeting at work. I’m not saying you need to focus on the negative – that creates an entirely different problem. I’m saying you should let them see what it looks like when an emotionally well-adjusted person tries something and fails at it. This lets them know that they should try new things even if they’re not sure they’ll be good at them. Allowing them to see your humanity is an incredible confidence booster.
I know I appreciated these words of wisdom – hopefully, you do, too. You’ve only got eighteen years to spend with your kids before you turn them loose into the world, so you might as well make them as happy, fulfilling, and productive as possible.
Editor, Brian Rose Uncensored