Being a parent is a mixed bag – on one hand, you feel immense joy and happiness at the birth of your child, but on the other, you know that as they grow older, your responsibilities increase and the challenges you face become greater. When they start school and start to make friends, they discover a world besides their home and the parents. And unless you know and accept that there are going to be many changes and challenges ahead and are prepared to deal with them, you’re going to find it difficult to stay connected to and bond with your kids. Although each child is different, in general, most parents face the challenges below:
- Knowing when to let go: It’s not easy being a parent; you want to hold on to your child and protect them from all the harm and terrible things that are waiting to happen to them in the real world. But when you cosset them and control their every move, you risk losing them altogether. They either become too dependent on you and unable to take decisions on their own even when they’re adults, or they rebel against your authority and cut off all ties with you. As a parent, you need to know when and how much to let go, depending on your child.
- Knowing when to and when not to push your child: I find that most parents are guilty of this. They push something on their kids and when the latter are not too receptive to the idea, the parents say – We never had such opportunities when we were children, so you should be grateful that we’re making this possible for you. My advice to such parents is – Don’t live your dreams through your children. Your childhood is finished and in the past; now, it’s time to let your kids live their childhood the way they want to, not the way you think it should be.
- Learning to be your child’s friend: You do need to be a disciplinarian at times, but as your child grows and is able to make decisions for him/herself, you need to become more of a friend. Don’t judge their actions, and don’t say I told you so when something goes wrong. Rather, try and guide them in the right path, and be there to support them when they need you.
- Understanding that academia is not everything: We as a society have been conditioned to believe that scoring high marks and acing exams is all there is to school life and childhood. But there’s no need to be ashamed if your child’s grades are not up to par; remember that he or she may be gifted in other ways. Discover your child’s passion and encourage them to follow their dreams even as you educate them about the ways of the world – they must make their own choices based on their future job prospects and stability of life.
- Respecting their choices: Don’t make all your choices for your children. If you don’t like their friends, remember that the fastest way to get them disobey you is to forbid them to do something. Their pals are theirs to keep or dump; what you need to do is ensure that your child doesn’t get into bad habits, and you can do this by providing a stable environment at home and being involved in your child’s life as much as possible. Let them know how much you love them and how you will support them through thick and thin; very often, love triumphs over disciplinary measures and punishment when it comes to getting your kids to do the right thing.
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