I listen to people who live with kids complain about how hard it is to be parents, how stressful it is when the newborn never sleeps or the “terrible two” has a tantrum or those “formidable fours” and the most constantly maligned age of all: teen hood. [see how to cook a teenager] IMHO, these are mostly if-all-you-have-is-a-hammer-all-problems-are-seen-as-nails myths.
If parents didn’t try to control—whatever the age—but instead attempted to inspire, these “trials” of age related issues might go much smoother. I mean who hasn’t had the circling 23s, tired 30s, angry 44s, bitchy 50s, right? But most people don’t label me by my age when I’m having a “mood” or a bad day.
I believe the hardest parenting time may be when your kids are adults. You’ll have little to no influence, and the mistakes you may have made with them might come back to haunt you:
The relatively benign: you don’t like who they’re dating/married to, the in-laws are asses, they chose the “wrong” career, don’t exercise, smoke/drink too much, feed their kids crap food, they’re atheists if you’re religious, religious if you’re pagan… The middle-awful ground: your kids hit/spank their kids when you didn’t, give them Ritalin, shoplift, suffer a sad marriage… The horrors: become drug addicted street people, have married twice with abusive mates, are thugs, have fucked-up kids, won’t let you see the grandchildren, attempt suicide… Not much of this has happened to me—touch wood—but I’ve sure heard about it through clients and friends.
- Respect your kids as people right now—when they’re little—because they are.
- Inspire your kids; don’t control them.
- Do small workaday things with them.
- Try not to separate work & play; each is fun, each takes energy.
- Give kids chores that matter.
- Work & play together.
- Eliminate labels and look with soft eyes.
*photo of me above with my mamma, us both having soft eyes