What if I screw up my kids

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What if I screw up my kids

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.



Jane Rhoe-Jones

August 26, 2016at 6:12 pm

Aaah, what a clever way to handle this topic – lightness chocked full of depth. As parents of a 30+ year old — our relationship with our son is still an evolving journey and we’re still learning. So this was very meaningful to me. I will share with my husband.

    Bernetta Thorne-Williams

    September 2, 2016at 10:24 pm

    Thanks, Jane. I would love to hear your husband’s insights.

Vanessa Alexander

August 28, 2016at 9:46 am

This was very thought provoking, because we raise our children the best we know how and try to keep them from falling into life’s pitfalls.

Bernetta Thorne-Williams

September 2, 2016at 10:24 pm

Amen! Thanks, Vanessa.

Fatimah Wilson

September 12, 2016at 12:19 am

Today I had the opportunity to have a intimate conversation with both of my parents. People who know me can attest that I am big on self reflection. In doing so, I realized that both of my parents did the best that they could with what they had in raising my brother and I. However, there were things that I realize now were much needed that I did not get from them and I paid the price for it by making some painful mistakes. I accept full responsibility for the mistakes that I’ve made and with prayer have learned from the things that I suffered. Today, both of my parents are two of my best friends. I’ve learned 1) that you are never to old to be a parent and to be parented, 2) trying to parent without prayer is like trying to breathe with no oxygen and 3) parenting is ever evolving and a lifelong learning experience for all.

    Bernetta Thorne-Williams

    September 12, 2016at 4:13 pm

    Thank you for those thoughtful and reflective comments.

Niti Bali

November 9, 2016at 11:12 pm

Very nicely done Bernetta. I agree on all fronts. We do the best we can and love them as hard as we can and try not to break them from our damaged selves then hope and pray they develop into better people than we are. Paying it forward thru them in a small way for the world to benefit.

    Bernetta Thorne-Williams

    November 10, 2016at 1:11 pm

    Insightful comments. Thank you.

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