just a mom figuring it out one day at a time

Being a Good Parent

Being a good parent is not about the things you buy for your children. It’s not about being a child’s best friend or excusing, or even enabling, a kid’s poor behavior.  Parenting is not about always feeling good or happy—in fact when parents are actively parenting, both parties often don’t feel happy.

What is parenting about?  It’s about making hard choices and setting boundaries.  It’s about teaching our children to be responsible individuals who own their choices and their consequences.  Parenting doesn’t stop, but I hope that if a I do a good job when my children are young, that it will be easier when they become adults.

After one particularly bad day with my son, my husband was talking to Joe, one of his closest friends, who said, “Never feel that you need to apologize for doing your job as a parent.”

It’s hard to enforce consequences, especially when you see the sadness in your kid’s eyes. Many times I want to say, “I’m sorry” before enforcing some privilege revocation. I don’t like how down it makes me; just because it’s the right thing to do, doesn’t mean that it is easy. Then I think of Joe’s words and remind myself that I am preparing my children for the real world; to do anything less would ultimately be a disservice to them later in life—even if they don’t realize it now.

I don’t know how Ethan Couch was raised, but can only conclude from the media reports that he had parents who thought it was better to demonstrate their love through placation rather than letting him feel the consequences of his actions earlier in life. Now, unfortunately, through his defense of “affluenza,” one that was most likely funded by his parents, that placation continues.  Where even today after four people are dead and two others were injured/disabled, this young man is able to continue with his life with little repercussion for his actions.

Could his parents have set limits all along and could he have still driven drunk that night with the same outcome? Quite possibly yes. Might there be less of a chance of that happening had he had parents that enforced boundaries? I would like to think so.

At the end of the day, my job as a parent is to help my children develop into independent, self-sufficient, compassionate adults.  I want to prepare them for the real world in which there are boundaries and rules. Learning to respect rules and authority now will hopefully prepare them for the real world where the failure to heed its rules can result in sometimes harsh and unforgiving consequences.

Being a parent isn’t always easy and doesn’t feel good all of the time.  But, it’s in those most challenging moments that you’re probably demonstrating your love the most by being a good parent.

2 Responses to “Being a Good Parent”

  1. You are so right. If doing the right thing for our children was always easy, then everyone would be a perfect parent. But the reality is that sometimes doing the right thing is downright difficult!

    • cnbrockett says:

      Thanks Katie… it is difficult. We just had a moment with our daughter this past weekend and it was so hard to stick to our rules, but in the end we knew we had to because she needed to learn.

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