No-one can be a better parent to your children than you.
How do you rate yourself as a parent? One would think that the obvious way to answer that would be to ask your children. If you’re hoping for a glowing report from them, hope on – You’re not going to get much out of them other than a reluctant admission that you might be, well, fairly ordinary parents – in their opinion.
For all your faults and human weaknesses, if you’ve tried your best while raising your children, you are actually the best parent your children could ever have. I know it sounds a bit hard to believe, what with all the mistakes you feel you’ve made along the way but, if given a choice, you’d be surprised to find that, when it goes down to the wire, your children would probably pick you again.
After all the things your children have said to you (think, “I hate you,” and “I wish you were dead,”), if given a choice between yourself and some other parents, you’d win hands down.
Of course, while that’s a comforting thought, don’t expect your children to admit that. They’d rather let wild horses drag them down your street than admit it.
We forget how strong the relationship between us and our children really is. That relationship has been forged in the fire of everyday life – life that consists not of momentous events but of small, ordinary events that would never make the newspapers but which nevertheless have a massive impact on our children.
A case in point about how strong the relationship is between the person who raises a child and that child is the discovery of a 17-year-old teen, known as Zephany Nurse, who, after being confirmed to have been raised since birth by the woman who allegedly kidnapped her, has chosen to remain in contact with the woman.
The shared experiences which are taken for granted as children grow up set into a very strong and hard concrete which lasts a lifetime. The sacrifices you have made for them on an almost daily basis and the routine activities you have engaged in with them all form part of that concrete mix.
It’s not only about doing cool stuff with them like taking them to the movies or taking them on holidays but it’s also about washing their faces, feeding them, tucking them in at night, reading them stories, allowing them to jump into your bed during a thunderstorm, bathing them, dressing them, feeding them (I know I’ve already said it, but you know what I mean – all parents understand that they spend a large part of their children’s lives trying to get food down their throats) – You and I could make a very long list between us.
One of the things I remember with great affection are the sandwiches my dad used to make for my two sisters and me for snacks over the weekend or at night. Almost quite unintentionally, I have carried on the tradition of sandwich making for my children. I am regularly asked to make sandwiches for them, even though they’re young adults and sucker that I am for my children, I make them!
So don’t feel pressured to give in to all sorts of things in the hope that you’ll be popular with your children. You’re not there to win a popularity contest. You’re there to be an example, provide guidance and teach your children how to become responsible, kind and caring adults who can ultimately do without you.
And you’ve got to lavish lots of love on top of all of that!
Take heart. Your children will probably never thank you for their upbringing. In fact, they will think that they raised themselves. When one day you hear them telling their children things you used to tell them, you’ll know that you must have done something right!
Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, and an Age Management and Self-Mastery Coach to senior executives, and the author of best seller What nobody tells a new father.
This article appeared in the August 2015 issue of HR Future magazine.