So you are thinking about becoming a parent or you are about to become a parent and are feeling a little overwhelmed and worried that you aren’t cut out to be a parent, right? Believe me, I know exactly how you feel right now. You are asking yourself what is parenting all about, really?
There is so much information on the internet about parenting, like this one here that offers courses on parenting, but most of them don’t give you everything it takes to be a parent. They give you great advice on certain topics, but they don’t warn you about how it is going to make you feel, they don’t tell you what it is really all about and everything that it entails, they don’t tell you that you will be doing this for the rest of your life.
Everyone Has Their Own Ideas.
Everyone in this world has their own ideas on what it takes to be a parent including those that don’t have any children, but most people don’t have a clue on how to be a parent until they have raised their child all the way to adulthood, not even while they are raising them. I say this because being a parent doesn’t stop just because they have grown up and moved out.
I have 4 children of my own and to this day I am still learning new things about being a parent and I have raised a child to adulthood. My children range from 22 to 11 years old and everyday I learn something new, especially as the world changes.
Being A Parent Takes More Than You Think.
I thought I knew what parenting was because I was the oldest of 7 children and had watched my mother raise her kids and my aunt raise hers, but I quickly realized after having my first one that I actually had no clue and I wish I had the opportunity for someone to tell me all these things I am about to tell you.
I wish that I had the resources that a lot of parents have these days, but unfortunately the internet was not available so finding a course like this one I found here, was nearly impossible and this made it even harder for me to be prepared for when my baby arrived.
Don’t get me wrong, my mother tried to tell me but I was stubborn, set in my own ways, and still had the mentality that I had all the answers and my mother didn’t know what she was talking about. It was going to be different with my child, blah, blah. Some of us don’t learn how right our mothers are until we are much, much older.
Parenting isn’t about just making sure your child has what they need, it isn’t just about being a parent to your child and making sure they succeed in life and are safe. It isn’t just about disciplining them when they misbehave or rewarding them when they have done something good. It isn’t about having control over everything they do or don’t do or conforming them into what you think they should be when they grow up.
You have to be their doctor, their teacher, their friend, their counselor, their savior, and any other professional you can think of. Just being their caregiver and making sure they survive and loving them isn’t going to be enough. When they say it takes a village to raise a child, they weren’t kidding, but what they don’t say is that most of the time that village comprises of just you being more than one person at a time (even if you have a partner).
You have to be there when they need you the most no matter what else is going on in your life and no matter how bad of day you may have had. You have to teach them right from wrong and sometimes that lesson gets lost because society butts in and messes up everything, so now you have to also teach them not to allow those in the outside world influence their decisions.
I know I raised my daughter a certain way, but when she became an adult she conformed to society’s ways and lost everything I had taught her and I am now having to teach her all over again and she is 22 years old.
You have to think about someone else other than yourself because you have someone else that needs you more than anyone else in this world, more than you need anything.
You have to protect them from the dangers in life while also teaching them how to defend themselves because you will not live forever.
You have to teach them how to overcome obstacles in their life and be confident in themselves and their decisions.
You have to watch them like a hawk but give them enough space to be able to learn for themselves, especially in today’s world.
You can no longer make a decision in life without thinking about your child and how it may affect them because you are no longer the only one that has to suffer the consequences of those decisions if they don’t turn out right.
Your life is no longer just your life because you now have this little person that needs you more than anyone else in this world and they should be more important to you than anyone or anything else in this world.
It Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Have A Life Outside Your Child.
Having a child doesn’t mean you have to give up everything completely, however, despite what other people may tell you or what it may sound like I stated above. You can still be a parent and have something outside of being a parent. In fact, I encourage you to have a life outside of being a parent, you just have to be choosy about what you do from now on.
If you put all of your life into this child, you may grow to resent them and that resentment will be felt by your child and that is definitely not something you want. No matter how much you try to hide things, your child will still feel them in one way or another.
You have to keep yourself healthy and happy and having a life outside of being a parent allows you to remain that way. Every parent needs a break from their children once in awhile or you will become overwhelmed and stressed beyond relief which will affect your health and your child.
I am not, in any way, saying that you need to go out partying every night (that is definitely a big no no in my book), but I am saying that being a helicopter parent is not healthy for you or your child and some may completely disagree with me and I am okay with that because as I have mentioned in my previous article here, everyone has a different meaning about being a parent and how to raise their children. I am just saying you need to have something outside of being a parent because one day they are going to grow up and move out and are you seriously just going to follow them because you have nothing else to do because you have no life outside of being their parent?
In my experience being a helicopter parent isn’t healthy because it doesn’t give your child the breathing room to experience things and learn from their mistakes. It doesn’t give them the ability to survive when you are gone because you are always on top of them and doing everything for them. And it doesn’t give you anything to do after they have left the nest. It also causes more stress for you which is not a healthy way to live.
I mean, what do you think is going to happen to them when you are no longer there to fix it for them, to do it for them? How are they going to know what to do? Are you really helping them or are you hindering them? Again, what are you going to do after they have left?
Parenting Doesn’t Stop After They Have Moved Out.
Now I know I mentioned that you have to have a life outside of being a parent and I asked you what you are going to do when they move out and what I am about to say may contradict some of the things I have already told you, but I hope that you will understand the difference.
Some people have this idea that they will once again be free after their child turns 18 and moves out of their home and for the most part you should be, if you have taught them how to survive without you. However, it doesn’t mean that your parenting is going to come to a complete halt, because outside influences/society may hinder and affect your teachings and once again you will have to be a parent to them.
I hear people state all the time that you have 18 years of having to deal with this and I laugh because in all actuality you will be a parent for the rest of your life and them turning 18 doesn’t mean that you stop parenting them even if you have taught them how to survive.
My daughter is 22 years old and she is now living at home with us again with her two children because society messed up everything I had taught her and I am now having to teach her all over again and teach her things that I had apparently forgotten to teach.
You see, when my daughter was young I let too many people get in the middle of me raising my child. I tried to teach her how to be strong and survive without me and sometimes I went a little too far with that one by not being involved enough in her life. Because I didn’t make sure that I was in the middle of being a helicopter mom and a mom making her child do things on her own, she went to other people and made them feel as if her life was so incredibly bad that they felt the need to give her everything instead of having her earn it or reaching out to me first and letting me know how my child was feeling so that I could take care of it.
They just bought her whatever they felt she needed at the time or take her where ever they thought she wanted/deserved to go because they thought they could do a better job of raising her then I was doing. They thought that I was a neglectful parent to her, but if they had reached out to me they would have found out what was really going on and I would have figured out what I was doing wrong.
So when she became an adult she attracted people that would take care of her, she became completely dependent instead of independent and that attracted the manipulators, the abusers, the all around bad people. She no longer knew how to defend herself, she no longer knew how to take care of herself, she no longer knew.
She allowed herself to be treated badly because she thought that she had to do what they wanted to keep them from leaving her, to keep them happy and it was trickling down to her children.
I screwed up and I am now having to teach her everything all over again, but I have learned from my mistakes with her and have learned that parenting is about more than what I thought it was and that it is a hard job to do and can take a lot out of you. I have learned that parenting never stops.
There Is No One Perfect Answer To The Question.
So, you see, there is no one perfect answer to the question. There is no one way to parenting or one meaning to what parenting is all about. That question is like asking someone what the meaning of life is, everyone will give you a different answer.
We all have a different idea on what it takes to be a parent or how to raise our children, but I can tell you that your life will change drastically when you have a child and your way of thinking about things does have to change. I can also tell you that it isn’t going to be easy and it doesn’t stop just because they have become an adult.
My first child taught me a lot and she continues teaching me things and I use those lessons to be a better parent to my other children while explaining to my oldest why things are different so she doesn’t feel as if I love them more than her.
So, not only are you their teacher, but they are also going to be your teacher.
There is no handbook on being a parent because there are way too many factors that go into being a parent.
What you should be asking yourself if you are just thinking about being a parent is, “Do I have what it takes to do this for the rest of my life?”. “Can I see myself being able to handle the stress that comes with being a parent?”. “Am I capable of thinking about someone else’s wants and needs instead of just my own?” “Can I stand up for my child?”. “Can I handle getting it wrong and learn from it?” And the biggest question is, “Can I handle the incredible feeling of love that this child is going to make me feel?”.
What do you think parenting is all about?
Please comment below if you have any questions or would like to respond to what I asked.