What if I screw up my kids?
Welcome to parenting 101. Almost every parent at one time or another has uttered those words. We all come into relationships, including parenting with our own set of baggage. In some cases it’s a set of his and hers luggage. Hopefully, some of us were raised with awesome parents and we learned a lot about parenting from them.
As for me, half of my parenting equation growing up was amazing; my mom. What my mother brought to the table was a healthy supply of unconditional love, boundaries, structure and discipline. And lest you think my dad was not in the picture, he was. He just did not play a vital role in my upbringing.
Now that you are a parent and that question, “What if I screw up my kids” has reared its ugly little head, what do you do? The first thing you realize (spoiler alert) you are not perfect and neither is your spouse or partner. Being a great parent means being there for your children and trying to instill a sense of who they are and whose they are into them. Children need to be encouraged and praised for their accomplishment, gently chastised when they are misbehaving and always loved.
As parents, we take the world on our shoulders. When our children are hurting we feel the pain more intently them they do because we wonder how we could have helped to prevent their pain. When they fail, it is our failure too, because perhaps we failed to equip them with the tool(s) they might need.
When our oldest son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 12, I replayed over and over again in my head all my prenatal appointments, his delivery and our eating habits. Then there was the fall that I took when I was about five months pregnant. I remember to this day the sheer panic I felt as we went to see my doctor. My doctor assured us that the baby was fine.
As a parent it’s not easy to realize that you cannot prevent every injury, sickness, failure or disappointment. Our children with make plenty of mistakes, no matter how awesome we are as parents, because they have their own individual personalities
When you think about raising your child try to remember a time when you taught them something. Perhaps how to read. When our children are young we read them bedtime stories. As they become a little older, they begin to say a few words as we read to them. As they continue to grow they begin to read those same stories to you, perhaps just by memory, but nonetheless, they are beginning the foundation of reading and comprehension. Then instead of you picking the book to read, they begin to select their own reading material. The next thing you know they are enjoying reading time without you. Job well done, you have just equipped your child with a skill that will last them a life time.
Parenting is a life long journey and along the way you will mess up. Not intentionally, but hey, we just covered you’re not perfect. Charles and I have tried to raise our sons within a spiritual environment. Therefore we believe in Proverbs 22:6 , “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (KJV)
After speaking with several of our friends who happen to have children at different ages, I have come to the conclusion that most children will go through one, if not all of these phrases:
I need you
I need you, but I don’t know I need you
I need you, but I need my friends more
I need you, but my friends are smarter than you
I need you, but I don’t want to need you
I need you and when did you become so smart
I need you and I appreciate you
I have it on good authority that those last two phases don’t occur until your children reach their mid twenties. The great news is that you will all survive those years if you remember to incorporate a lot of love (it’s good for the heart), laughter (it’s good for the soul), patience and understanding (it’s good for your sanity), and forgiveness (it’s good for every one).
Parenting is such a wonderful experience. I hope you remember to breathe and enjoy the miracle of life that you have been blessed with. Yes, babies grow up and occasionally we think they have sprouted horns, a pitchfork and a tail. They’re not always our little angels, but they are our blessings.