My Thoughts on Parenting/Adulting
What comes to mind when you hear someone say, "You look just like your mother" or "You sound just like your father"?
For some, these statements spark memories of parents who loved unconditionally, disciplined fairly and gave generously.
For others, these words trigger emotional trauma and serve as motivation to do whatever is necessary to avoid turning out like those people.
A word to parents I may not have children, but I am someone's child, therefore I'm qualified to say this. If you believe you're a good parent or a bad parent, you may be the only person who believes this. If you think you try too hard - you do. If you think you don't try hard enough - you don't. Parenting is not about you.
Your child is not your "mini-me." They are not your maid, they are not your comrade, they are not an accessory. Children are not an excuse to get in or stay in unhealthy relationships. It's also totally selfish and inexcusable to marry someone who does not accept your child as their own. Your offspring don't owe you anything.
Your children may look and sound like you, cut their steak or drive a car the way you do, but they are not meant to turn out like you anymore than you were meant to turn out like your parents. Each child has a personality, a purpose, a calling, a destiny - none of which intentionally make your life easier or harder.
There is no one-size-fits-all method to raising children, yet they all need three essentials: love (includes discipline), security (emotional and otherwise), and provision (needs always, wants sometimes). If you leave out or fail to balance any of these three, you'll have a monster on your hands. If you don't check your children, eventually, the law will.
Don't compare your kids to other people's kids. Commit to treating them well, even if you don't get along with them. Preparing your children to make decisions as an adult is your responsibility. Don't carry unnecessary guilt or shame for the mistakes you've made. You are a direct influence on where your children end up.
A word to (adult) children Your parents are not to blame for everything that's going wrong in your life. They also don't deserve credit for everything that's going right. You don't owe anything to your parents, but you should respect them always. If you're making up your mind about what job to take, what school to attend, what city to live in, or any other adult decision - take advice from your parents if the relationship is healthy. Don't ask what they would do because they are not you.
Learn to evaluate yourself apart from what your parents think. Don't let the mental chatter of the past ruin your present mindset or destroy any hopeful outlook on the future. If after spending time with your parents you always seem to feel stressed, insecure, or inadequate, you need to spend less time with them. Don't be afraid to break traditions or spend holidays with the people you enjoy being around all year long. Focus on your goals and work to achieve them without expecting someone else to do it for you.
When/if you have kids, you are not obligated to raise them the same way you were raised. Don't be too proud to use the parenting methods that did work. Don't let grandma and grandpa spoil your children to the point where they no longer listen to you. Preparing your children to make decisions as an adult is your responsibility. Don't carry unnecessary guilt or shame for the mistakes you've made. You are a direct influence on where your children end up.
Final thoughts If you don't know what love is, admit it and commit to working on it. Don't drag your kids through your mess only to have them repeat the mistakes you've made. Common sense goes a lot further than striving to have the best of everything.
I often think, "How much further in life could I have gotten if I wasn't rejected, wrongfully accused, or cussed out?...How much healthier would I be if my parents had known the Lord?" There is a season for such thoughts, and then the time comes when you just need to shake it off. Play the hand you've been dealt, make the most of your time, and don't let broken records play in your head.
For reasons I won't explain here, I don't know if it's physically possible for me to have children. Thankfully, I've never desired to have a baby. Although I love kids, I do not covet my bloodline and couldn't care less if they look like me. I'm 100% for adoption and I hope my future husband feels the same.
I may not be an outstanding financial provider, but I will do my best to teach them how to handle money. I probably won't avoid making them feel rejected at times, but I will do my best to affirm them and not leave them alone to make adult decisions too early in life. I may not always feed them right since fast and processed food is what I grew up on and it's hard to avoid. I am not the best example of what a friend should be, but I will do my best to give useful relationship advice.
Thankfully, I do know God and I don't do anything apart from prayer. If I only get one thing right, I pray it is me leading them to Christ.