The Journey of A Parent

Raising children is a difficult journey for any parent. The path is laden with a smorgasbord of emotional joys and upsets. The crossroads of decisions can even further mentally and physically tax us. Some say once you have one child it gets easier to manage the rest, but I am not so sure of that. Each child has his/her own set of mannerisms, personality and demeanor which are so different from the others. I say this from my own experiences as I have quite a troop and not one of them is similar in any facet.

Though each generation has dealt with its problems of child rearing, I really think this one is harder then the last. As a child I remember a life that stretched no father then my neighborhood. Fun was equated to playing in the large field behind our home with friends who lived close by. Baseball games, and catching fireflies; Tag and Simon Says. There were dangers but they were far and few between (depending on the geographical area in which you lived). When Dad or Mom said "no" it meant no and there was no heated exchanges or visits to the school counselor. If it was something of great importance to us we voiced such and a discussion was held between parents and child and a decision was made, and it was final.

My parents were extraordinary people, though at that time my view was not quite as generous. They had a system of balances that was brilliant, now that I see it in the eyes of a parent. Back then spankings were not unheard of and less complicated then they are today. My parents believed in spanking but only for the serious infraction. They were not given in the heat of anger or frustration. Okay maybe the time I ran into the street with on coming traffic, that one was immediate and probably the worst I had ever gotten. Usually we were sent to "the chair" while parents went to the other room to confer and calm down. "The chair" was worse than the punishment though, for you were left hanging in the wind with numerous expectations and scenarios to run through. Most punishments were based on consequences in our home, and personally if given the choice I'd have taken the spanking. Quick, not so bad and the end of the adventure.

Dad's favorite two lines were "There are consequences and reactions for every action you take"  and  "Actions speak louder than words." So our action was taken into consideration and a consequence appropriate to the action was chosen. These did not always happen immediately sometimes they showed up later to bite you in the a**. For example I lied once to my parents about where I had been. They knew I was not telling the truth because a friend of my fathers had seen me. The consequence came two months later when the school was having a dance, I was forbidden to go because I could not be trusted to be where I said I would be.

In my years as a parent I have used these techniques with a great range of success on both my birth children and stepchildren. I used them when I was a nanny for several years for two different families and they never seem to fail me. However, there are those rare occasions when just nothing seems to work. It happens somewhere in the crossing from childhood into adulthood. With every child the timing has been the same, the actions and circumstances different. It is in these times that I often develop a love/hate relationship with my kids.

Don't get me wrong, I have good kids. Never had a one use drugs, never dealt with police problems or major issues like some of my friends do. Then again, I don't allow a great deal of what my other parent friends do. My kids have had their moments of what I would call "grave" offenses but nothing earth shattering or life altering for them or us. Yet this gives little solace to this phase of life. These are the times that are filled with indecision, frustrations, upsets and fear for both parent and child. This is the time when they choose their own path, and no matter how well you have raised them, what they will become centers on the choice of their path. I have great empathy for what my own children will go through as they raise their own in our ever changing world.

Disciplining your children becomes harder with every year. Peer pressure is insurmountable and technology leads us into more dangerous situations. Ironically they take away many of our tools for discipline and training up our children and then blame us when the child acts out. It is a fine line we walk now as parents and it will become a wire tightrope by the time my children have their own. There are no easy answers all you can do is following your heart and conscience to do the best you can, and hope the best for them will materialize.

I sometimes wonder if my parents can see me from where they are and having a bit of laugh at my being "just like them." I know I miss them both terribly, not just on holidays but on most days. My mother was my sounding board and my father could always ground and center my emotions. They were, and are, in my eyes the best parents that I could ever had hoped for. So, I guess this musing is for them, to let them know that time and space have no power on the connection we shared. They still live on in me, and through my children as I try to be as good a parent as they were.

StarPoet   StarPoet wrote
on 5/12/2008 4:45:22 AM
Motherhood is the worlds toughest job, by far. I admire all mothers that battle every day just to make sure they are doing their best for their kids. I now add you to that list. My prayers are with you.

Special Interest
Parenting and family
writing amberfire
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I was missing my Mom on mothers day so this is just a bit of rambling and musing about being a parent.