Parenting: A Matter of Will and Work

January 16, 2012 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m tired.  It’s a good kind of tired (Worn-out cliche alert).  At the end of the day (Another one), it’s hard work being a parent, but it is completely worth it.  You get back more than you give (Should I keep going?).  But honestly, it is exhausting.  The only way that parenting doesn’t wear you out from time to time, is if you aren’t doing it right.  You see (does that count as one?), children are relentless.  Rebellion, selfishness, their need for discipline is ongoing.

You want a break, but no break comes.  Maybe you get small respites when they sleep or they finally settle in on a parent approved activity.  However, you use that time to clean up the mess from what just happened and/or gather up your hair that you just pulled out. Obviously (?), I exaggerate, but not by much.  I’m also guessing that about 1 in 4 of you are thinking, “No you aren’t.  Keep preaching.”

We have 3 girls in our home now, 14, 11 and 1/6.  This broad range of ages provides us with a lot of different kinds of challenges.  We have one who interacts with teenage boys all day (yikes and yuk), one who has begun the stage where girls begin to create relentless drama (yuk and yikes), and one who poops her pants (just yuk).

There is almost (?) always something going on in our house that requires some parenting.  A “tone” that you hear from a conversation going on between the two oldest, a baby who can’t/won’t take a nap, chores that just won’t get done even though you have asked more than once (that baby just won’t keep her room clean, no matter what we do), or yesterday’s problem–constipated baby.

The question we have to ask is do we have the stomach and the will and the energy to parent.  Too often, parents choose the path of least resistance.  What brings peace and/or quiet the fastest is rarely what is best for the family in the long run.  Ignoring it keeps you in the chair but fixes nothing.  Giving in may make them quiet, but it creates what we call “unsustainable systems” (read kids who think they can always get what they want by whining, yelling, fit-throwing, etc.).  Yelling in anger certainly gets attention, but at what cost?

Kids need consistent, strong parents with even handed discipline.  They need you, working hard.  They need you to be willing to do what other parents won’t or can’t and what you very often don’t feel like doing.  Get up, find out what’s going on, what happened, why did it happen, how can you fix this instance, how can you prevent it in the future, is there a bigger picture issue… (This goes for babies as well.  They need help.  They are just babies.  They don’t always know what they want, much less need.  When they do think they know, sometimes they are wrong.  Remember, they are just babies.  Love them, meet their needs, but don’t forget they need shepherding as well.)

It’s not always easy, but’s it worth it.  Then you can sit down and rest until the next time (read not very long).  Did I mention that it’s worth it?  Hang in there and go for it (You knew one more was coming, right?).

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