Good Parenting - It Starts With You

As a parent, we have a hard job. It’s not like a job we can change for various reasons. Parenting is a lifelong job that affects other people for life. While many like to think once the child is out of the house and on their own, the job ends. But in reality, as long as we are parents, our job never ends. What kind of parent are you? I’m a parent who makes mistakes all the time. I’m not perfect and if you are honest, neither are you. I have to ask for forgiveness from my son at least once a day. Parenting is hard, but good parenting starts with you (me). After almost 18 years, I look back on some things I did parenting and can’t believe I went so far. When my son was born, I had to attend what I call a silly infant training class before we could leave the hospital. Things like not bathing a baby in front of an open window, not using boiling hot water for powdered formula, and how to properly dress a newborn were all taught. Funny, I was the only first time mom in the class and all the others had to repeat the class each time they had babies. Crazy, right?

 Good Parenting - It Starts With You

Good Parenting Starts With You

What I really could have used during the early years of being a mom was a parenting class. I could have learned to discipline according to the misdeed because not everything warrants a spanking. To remember a child thinks a little differently than an adult, so when we think they are not helping but making matters worse, they believe they are helping out. I could have learned to apologize for mistakes I made during those years.

While I can’t go back and change the mistakes I made, I can now face each day with the determination to parent better. I can admit to my mistakes and ask for forgiveness. I can also use incidents as teaching moments. If my son has a family one day, I don’t want him to repeat history and my mistakes with his own children.

As a parent, I want my son to learn. I want what’s best for him without a lot of heartaches. Yes, I’d like for him to not suffer the consequences of mistakes. But you know, he will not learn if he is not allowed to make decisions even if they bring about trouble. I’ll never forget the one time my son wanted to spend $50 on an item. I knew he would end up being disappointed after he did it. But he was determined to spend it even with our parental advice. So we allowed him to learn from his own mistake. Because of that one time, my son is now a very cautious spender.

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Good Parenting Starts With ME

I heard the scary words from a parent to a child, “you live in my house, you have no privacy, you are to respect me, not the other way around”. When I heard those words, my stomach jumped into my throat. I still don’t fully understand those words, so I know that teen didn’t either – other than they were not an individual.

Our children are people; they desire things and have feelings just like we do. They deserve time alone so they can think and get their thoughts together. Alone time doesn’t mean they are contemplating on evil. They deserve respect as a human being just as we deserve it.

Gary Myers the Co-Founder and Editor of Highlights for Children wrote a prayer many years ago that should be in the hands of every parent. The words are full of wisdom still today. Here are just a few that stood out to me.

Help me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they have to say and to answer all their questions kindly. Keep me from interrupting them, talking back to them and contradicting them. Make me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me.

May I not vainly hurt the feelings of my children.

Reduce, I pray, the meanness in me.  May I cease to nag.

Help me to treat my children as those of their own age, but let me not exact of them the judgments and conventions of adults.

Forbid that I should ever punish them for my self satisfaction.

Make me so fair and just, considerate and companionable to my children that they will have a genuine esteem for me."

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Bad parenting mistakes left alone to be repeated ruins a relationship between a parent and a child. There is so much hate in the world today. I don’t want to add to it because of something I did while parenting. I want a good relationship with my son now and in the future. I want him to have a genuine esteem for me.

If you’re a parent, good parenting starts with you.