Pam’s Journey – Day:124
Miles remaining: 668
Days remaining: 242
It’s pretty obvious what this blog is about.. the title gives it away. This is something that is very dear to my heart and has been burning inside of me for awhile now. I know some amazing parents and I had amazing parents but I know it takes a lot of work to be a good parent. It’s more than a full time job and it takes selfless sacrifice, patience, humor, and lots and lots of love.
Does anyone really know what they’re getting into when they decide to become a parent? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it looks on TV. Sorry to disappoint anyone who clicked to get the easy guide to parenting. This isn’t a quick fix, I’m not a parenting expert, and there isn’t a one-size fits all parenting technique. What I do have to offer is how I feel about being a parent and some of my successes and struggles. Being a parent is my very most important job in the world.. I tell my daughter this frequently. Like when she wants me to stay out of her business, or when she tells me to quit stalking her Facebook, or when I want to know where she is, who she’s with, what she’s doing, and when she will be home. It’s my most important job and I desperately strive to do a GOOD JOB!
Where to start… I think it’s important to show your kids that you are human. You make mistakes, you learn from your mistakes, and you try to improve. Many parents want their kids to think they are always right and that they never went through the things that our kids are going through now. How can kids relate to someone like that? They can’t. How do you get inside the walls they put up and stay involved with them if they can’t relate to you as a human? Tell them when you make a mistake and apologize to them if you do or say something that you shouldn’t. Let them know that you’re not perfect.
I also disagree with the parenting books that say you can’t be friends with your kids. Yes, you do have to be their parent but you can have some friend time with them. Drop the role of supreme authority, stop being a dictator, and do some friend time with them. Be silly, do something that they want to do, laugh with them and let them laugh at you, get to know them and don’t judge everything they say and do during this time but listen and learn who they are and what they’re going through in this time of their life.
Pick your battles – Parents often think that their kids must obey everything that we as parents think are “the rules”. Yes, as a parent, you are “the boss” but is it really going to hurt anyone if your child wants a lime green bedroom or purple streaks in their hair? Let them express themselves in areas that won’t hurt anyone or they will be so smothered that they may pick more dangerous ways to show their independence. Blonde hair, red, black, 2 or 3 colors, poppin lips, maybe even a piercing… none of this will ruin their lives but they might just feel empowered that they were allowed to make a choice. This is also the perfect time for them to learn that they get to live with their choices. Don’t fix all of their mistakes. Lead them and let them figure it out sometimes. Give them advice, teach them how to pray when they feel alone and like there’s no one on their side. Take all of these opportunities to show them how to lean on God. Raise them to know that Jesus was given to us as a man so that He can walk with us. Show them how to walk and talk to Him.
I have found that the fastest way to get your kids to do something that you don’t want them to do is to “forbid” them to do it. I try really really hard not to forbid things. After all, it is in our nature to want to do what is forbidden..
I meet a lot of teenagers who have no respect for their parents. As a parent I teach my daughter respect and I give her respect since I expect her to respect me. Many kids who act out have no respect for themselves. Our babies aren’t born knowing all of these things, it really is our job as parents to teach it to them! Don’t be shocked or disappointed when your kids don’t act the way you want.. teach them. Don’t be upset when they treat you the way you treat them or say the things that they hear you say.
Encourage your kids, they need it. We could all use to hear some encouragement sometimes but our kids desperately need it. They have so many people telling them what not to do, they need you to tell them how good they are at something that they do well. Help them find ways to express themselves that will keep them out of trouble. Art, music, sports, writing, tutoring, anything that keeps them doing something that will help them feel better about who they are… and please, please don’t tell your kids that they’re not good at anything.
Don’t tell them to leave and then be surprised when they do. Don’t tell them that you’re done with them and be shocked when they are done with you too. Don’t tell them that they’re worthless or a mistake. Don’t tell them that you don’t want to deal with them. You may think that parents would never do this.. but I’ve heard some parents tell their kids these things. Don’t break their hearts.. you may not be able to fix it.
Build your kids up, empower them, teach them, encourage them, love them up and don’t tear them down. Make being a parent and raising your kids to be good, responsible adults with strong values your very most important job in the world. Let them know that they’re your most important job and try to do a good job… they deserve it.
Just love them… Love them like God loves us.