Parenting as we know is a journey which can be described as the bravest and most daring exploit. It can also be described as a horror film with lots of questions and terrifying screaming. The list extends to it sometimes being a thankless task, harrowing, challenging, a blessing, exciting, enjoyable, peaceful, loving and so on.
Having read the above list, if you were asked to define your role as a parent what would you say? Would you start reflecting on the first time you set eyes on your bundle of joy? Would you think back to when your child took their first step, started school, became a teenager and or adult ? The milestones are endless despite challenges, happy, sad , beautiful, enlightening and confusing memories. Every parent will have something to say about parenting and their definition of what parenting means to them.
There is no right or wrong definition of parenting. We are all wired differently and therefore our perceptions of parenting will vary.
When you start a new job, you are given a contract to sign, when you buy or rent a house, you sign a contract. Prior to signing the contract, you would have an understanding of what you are about to sign; an opportunity to review it before signing and an end date will most probably be inserted in the contract. So how does this apply to parenting, I hear you ask? Parenting can be defined as entering into an invisible contract without an opportunity for a lawyer or a professional to guide you through the document you are about to sign. There is no break clause in the invisible contract and neither is there an end date.
Parenting is a constant journey. It does not matter how old your children are and in many instances you will still be involved in their lives even when they have their own families.
Parenting comes without a manual or job description. Most often, it gets easier with time and experience even though each child is different and unique. One must not of course forget the increase in grey hairs that comes with parenting which some may attribute to wisdom and ageing gracefully as opposed to signs of wear and tear. Oh yes, go right ahead and laugh with me it is all part of the parenting experience ! Simply put, it is what it is!
As a parent, one tends to strive consciously or unconsciously to provide warmth, protection, food, love, care, attention, necessities, education and to impact values and beliefs, set boundaries, discipline when the need arises whilst raising the children to be well rounded, useful, respectful, successful, and independent achievers. Despite parents’ working hard to attain these, it does not always happen; as sometimes frustration, anger, impatience sets in possibly because they have sensed certain behaviours, flaws and other patterns that are of concern.
As we know there are no special parenting schools however parents should aim to be the best they can be. If parents have challenges or are unsure about parenting issues, they should not be afraid or embarrassed to speak out and seek help. No man is an Island and no one knows it all.
For the religious ones, in addition to praying you can seek help. For Christians, it is well known that faith without works (action) does not amount to much. One’s faith is evidenced by the way they live. Learning and obtaining relevant assistance/counsel for yourself as a parent and or for your children will contribute towards achieving a happy and healthy family.
Professionals working with parents are often non-judgemental, possess the necessary skills and knowledge to help. For instance, in my role as a parenting coach, I help parents develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours to assist their children. I also help parents with tools and strategies to successfully support their children to become that well rounded individual they desire them to be.
A further definition of parenting can be, doing what you can to provide security, safety, love, attention, leading by example, acknowledging that there is no perfect parent or child and learning to let go when the need arises but being available to guide and support your children.
It is not so easy but it is worthwhile! Did anyone ever say life would be easy? So why do you think parenting would be a walk in the park? Worry less and keep doing the right thing, your children will by God’s grace turn out better than you can imagine.