Parenting is really a unique experience. It really is a privilege to be able to have children and to be a part of their lives. I have 3 kids and they
still continue to amaze me.
Firstly I am amazed at how different they are from me, the rest of their extended family and also from each other. They were each born with qualities that have either made life easy, or difficult for them. They also have qualities that as a parent I feel must be nurtured or discouraged, depending on the qualities, and despite my "best" efforts the basic nature of each child remains intact. I have come to realise that parenting is not about enforcing my ideas, beliefs, or expectations upon my kids, because as I grow older I realise that the more I know the less I understand.
So I journey through life with my family and try to learn with them and to share with them, rather than to teach them. I do not suggest here that kids should be allowed to wander aimlessly without direction and boundaries because that is not healthy. I am rather suggesting that
as parents perhaps we should not be too certain that our ideas and rules are as cast in stone as we would like to believe. Our lives are lived in very different places and spaces. We are a generation apart from our kids and its good to keep this in mind.
My days are taken up with rushing through traffic, the demands of work and the responsibility of making ends meet. My kids lives are filled with school, homework and their busy social lives. During the time we spend together we try to share our experiences and make sense of them. This is hard for parents especially since we experience a different world. Even if we manage to remember our childhood or our lives as teenagers, that life is no longer truly relevant in the lives of today's children.
The hardest part of parenting, I believe, is to allow our children to be the individuals they are destined to be, in the time and place in which they find themselves. This process does not start at 16 or 18, it starts in the first few years and continues for the rest of the life you share with your kids.
As moms and dads we may feel the need to become controlling, because life is easier if we control everything, and because we believe that mom and dad know best. But this is a trap we must try and avoid. Eventually children grow up and it is our job as parents to help them develop a sense of who they are and what they can achieve without being forced one way or another by our expectations and beliefs. I know this is not always a popular idea. Parents are much happier with a formula, or a set of parenting rules, but parenting is not about rules it's about guidance, and our children are not the only ones who need guidance, sometimes we need it too.