In the beginning, a ton of parenting advice is dished out. What if you heard when your child was born that he might not reach his milestones throughout his life; what if they said you would have to wait and see? Would you worry every second of every day? What if this was your first child; would you take what the doctor said as Bible verse and sit perched on your seat, waiting for something to happen (or not)? What if you watched other kids and parents and, despite all of the advice to the contrary, compared your child to theirs? What if you continued to do so? Would you seem like an anxious, overbearing parent? Would you nitpick every single thing your child did for signs of something wrong? Would you question your parenting skills?
Naturally, upon becoming a new parent, you are overprotective. You might worry about how to do this job, but most of all you are bursting with an intense love you hadn’t understood until that child entered your life.
When I became a parent, I had all of those emotions. Fear, anger, caution, injustice, heartbreak, and anxiety were emotional “friends” hanging out in a group, not wanting to leave the collective. For me, when there was fear, anger was nearby. If hope wanted to appear, anxiety was not far behind. Hearing negative news at the very beginning of parenthood means these emotions automatically enter your life whether you want them to or not. It has taken years for me to get here, but I’m breaking up with this “friend” group.
This is a foray into righting a wrong. This isn’t about the doctor and the warnings we received (that never fully materialized). This is about listening to advice, but not taking it so literally, because taking advice literally creates undue stress for everyone.
Of course, our kids are born to be who they are from day one. But did our actions also help to shape this hesitant, quiet, careful child? Of course. Thank goodness my child hasn’t just listened to us and has instead grown to become a brave, peaceful, hard-working, talented, beautiful soul.
We have all learned along the way in raising our kids. My husband and I are now fully ensconced in parenting teenagers. Here’s to taking a half step back and embracing this next adventure as it comes.
Here is a teenage future I am positive about for our kids:
- Both will try on a couple of different personas. We’ll sit back and admire from afar.
- They won’t always think ahead. We’ll remember that we didn’t either (and laugh), and we’ll move on.
- We’ll help them navigate difficult situations, but avoiding failure and heartache won’t be one of those situations.
- They’ll want to be independent. We’ll pick our battles.
- We’ll cut our late bloomer some slack and ensure our more intense student chill out.
- Electronics will have limits so that sleep will be their friend.
- They will show us they are trustworthy. We’ll reward that.
- Each will say we don’t understand them. We’ll put ourselves in their shoes (again).
- Neither will like us at some point. We’ll continue to love with our whole hearts.