Some of you will know already that there is a massive eleven years between my two cherubs. That’s nearly 12 years spent in parent-ville to date.
So far it’s been a real journey but I like to think I’ve learned a few things along the way. Of course there are many who would agree to differ on that but as I say, I like to think I have!
Well whoever said Parenting doesn’t come with a manual was clearly oblivious. Aside from the government issue of 'Birth to Five' distributed on the twelfth week of pregnancy, we are quite literally overwhelmed by the vast array of expert advice relating to what we've all been doing for years- bringing up our Kids.
However the following notes about child rearing wont be found through browsing through the isles in WHSmith.. which sort of brings me to my first point...
An Excellent alternative for fire lighters during those winter months, but if you think reading them will prevent you from turning out like your own Mother/Father then you are sorely mistaken.
The values you learned from your parents are programmed in to your psyche and seeing a more intelligent approach will only depress you when you when you don’t step up to the mark. For this reason it’s best not to read books at all but if you must, find one that’s backs up what you think already. Can’t find one? I know how you feel.
Pretend you know what you’re talking about.
It doesn’t matter what you believe in when it comes to raising a child but it is essential to give the appearance of knowing what you’re doing, if you don’t, you leave yourself vulnerable to all sorts of unwanted advice which again only reinforces a sense of failure, making your job harder.
Give a balanced picture when sharing your experiences.
Nobody likes a parent who only ever sees the good in their child. As sweet as it is it's also incredibly annoying. In contrast if you complain about your child and their perceived difficulties too much then parents will only use this as an opportunity to feel good about themselves. Yes it's a dog eat dog world out there in parentville, and parental one-upmanship is deeply ingrained in to the child rearing culture. As such, it is important to offer a balanced picture about your child. Two complaints to every three compliments is good.
Consider all unacceptable behaviour as a temporary blip
No matter how non distinctive a behaviour may seem it is useful to believe it to be only a phase. Of course this is tricky when your child is persistently presenting with the same problems, in particular if the same problem is highlighted time and time again by varying sources. Put your faith in the fact that after embarrassing you beyond belief your child will eventually overcome the phase and come up with new ways to show you up.
Dealing with Criticism.
Parents bring to the table all kinds of different ideas about how to raise kids and none of them are really 'right.' Folks bring to parenting what they think their child needs to survive in this world, which will be different to what someone else believes their child needs.Hence we are a diverse population.
With this is mind, if someone criticizes your child or your child rearing skills don’t feel you have to justify your parenting or their behaviour. A simple 'He'll grow out of it' will suffice.
Enjoying your role
Being a Parent is packed full of unforeseen challenges.
Any concept of how you thought you would deal with this experience will go out the window as you learn how to function in this dog eat dog world.
As your child grows so will your expectations,you will become increasingly hopeful of seeing a positive return on the time and energy invested. Sadly it takes years for a child s potential, aspirations and identity to become clear and by the time they do your own ideals will be lingering submissively in the background, abandoned in a bid to maintain a positive relationship with your off spring. As such it is wise to try to enjoy parenting for exactly what it is, a drawn out, unpredictable act of selflessness full of highs,lows and I don't knows.