Mothers and fathers often struggle with common parenting issues of providing nurturing care for their children while allowing them space to grow and learn from mistakes. The role of providing love and protection from discomfort and pain is significantly more enjoyable than watching your child experience the natural consequences of their choices. However, life is about learning. Children will experience pain, discomfort and disappointment in their journey to adulthood.
The Perfect Child
Many moms and dads struggle with raising the child they have instead of the one they wish they had, especially when children are disrespectful or defiant. Many times, the child is distinctly different from his or her parents, causing a constant battle that drains the energy from the family unit. In many situations, we believe that parenthood is supposed to be something different if only we had the perfect child.
However, once parents let go of the notion that some children are perfect and accept their son or daughter as they are, things can smooth out. True acceptance of how your child behaves can provide an environment of open communication and nurturing development. When moms and dads recognize their children will not be taking the path chosen by their parents, old power struggles will simply fade away.
Accept Natural Consequences
It is a normal reaction that parents feel terrible when their child falls down, scrapes a knee or suffers any injury. We often have to overcome the idea that we cannot be there every moment of their young lives to keep them safe and protected from everything. It is essential to accept the fact that when our children are hurt by their actions, the pain they feel is usually caused by natural consequences and not a result of bad parenting.
Accepting that some things are simply beyond your control can actually help the child understand consequences. Learning from their mistakes and poor choices is the basis of trial and error. Allowing our child to deal with natural consequences is far better than building a protective fence around them to avoid problems and struggles. Teaching children to accept responsibility for their actions can provide them an effective tool to live with their entire lives.
Be Good Enough
There is no physical way to protect your child from every bad thing they might encounter or safeguard them against the poor choices they make. However, you can provide guidance on how to learn from the consequences of their actions and deal with the struggles they have made for themselves. The goal is for the child to steer clear of questionable situations the next time they arise.
Usually, a young child does not see the benefits of allowing them to struggle with their natural consequences. However in later life, adult children often say that the guidance and limits set by their parents made a significant positive difference in the way they live their lives. Short term pain is long term gain.
None of us can be the perfect parent, but we can be “good enough”. If you do the best you can and make decisions with the best intentions, you and your children can learn and grow during difficult situations. Parenting is a lifelong commitment, so learning to handle challenging parenting issues without expecting perfect results will make the process easier.