The more I hear other moms and dads talk about some of their struggles as parents, the more I start to fret about what the future holds for us as parents ourselves.
There are a couple of things that I've learned over the last 5 years of being a mom, and that is - there is NO "one" answer to protect, solve, alleviate or eliminate the possibility of heartbreak from a child.
Each home is it's own culture. Every mom and dad have their own stories of how they were raised, and how that motivates them to parent. Parent's personalities are so different - laid back, strict - patience levels vary, father/mother involvement varies as well. Some homes have only one parent, some have no grandparents, some have grandparents who are very involved ... it's all different.
And each child is different. How we discipline Tias is VERY different from how we discipline Siah. We can just LOOK at Tias and he'll well up in tears. Not so much with Josiah *smile*. And hw we express our love to the boys is also different ... Siah loves to be roughed around, tickled, played with ... Tias loves big hugs, words of affirmation, quality time spent ...
But as I hear parents talk about "not knowing what to do" with a child - it scares me. These are people who are intelligent, articulate, loving, Godly ... people who pray over and with their kids. So, thinking that I will come across a situation where my child rebels, defies or is simply doesn't care - it scares me. Do we all have to go through the "stage"? Can we avoid it all together??
For us, one thing that we feel has been important is having ourselves surrounded by like-minded families. People who care about our kids. People who, potentially, our kids could go to if they felt they couldn't come to us *heartbreak*. And people whom our kids respect and desire their respect as well ... I know for me, personally, this was a LARGE factor in how I was raised and it kept me from a lot of poor behaviour. I never wanted to disappoint "them", regardless of my mood towards a parent at the time ...
I think it's so important to listen to those who have done this before us. Not because they have all the answers, and we should follow their lead word-by-word. But because they have EXPERIENCE, perhaps even knowledge in what NOT to do ... or wisdom in letting us know what they would've done differently.
That's a question I frequently ask my mentors ... "what would you have done differently?"
So, if today you are pulling your hair out, if you`re at your wits end and think you might leave your child on the curb with a FREE sign attached to them ... stop, take a breath, know that you`re not alone, and seek out someone who YOU know to have some experience in raising good kids ... For me, I try to not be offended when someone suggests something to me. I know that they're just trying to help - and I am reminded that I don't have all the answers. So, so far from it.
Besides, they say it takes a village to raise a child? No?