The Trials of Being a Parent

Posted on March 4, 2013 · Posted in Parenting

Being a parent is hard work, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year for at least 18 years that the child lives at home. It is changing diapers, dealing with illnesses, hurt feelings, lost boyfriends, skinned knees, and disappointments galore and still being able to stand tall and see all the joys of life. It’s seeing the child go off to school for the first time and turning around to see them graduating from high school in what seems like the very next week. Time has flown, and for those parents who have spent the quantity of time with their kids they can look back and remember all the smiles and joys as well as the disappointments and struggles.

The Trials of Being a Parent
Think back a couple thousand years ago to what it must have been like to be a parent – without the internet, cell phones, television, and Facebook. What was the worst that could happen? Most cultures were agricultural and the children grew up to follow in the trades of their parents. Some became carpenters, others tended the flocks, while others worked the farms to help sow and harvest the crops.

Later on, in the villages as knowledge expanded, schools were formed and some parents were privileged enough to send their children to schools. Children still learned some type of trade, but reading, writing, and arithmetic became the focus of the schools and sometimes the parents felt they were being left behind. Children then learned about the rest of the world, geography, history, and science was added to the school curriculum, and the kids were off to get a better education. Careers in the fields of medicine, law, and science formed and the parents again felt they had never learned as much as their children did.

Today’s world is a lot different in many ways, but the chore (and joy) of being a parent is still as taxing and difficult as it has been for the past several thousand years. Parents try to instill the values on their children that they were taught. They try to not make the same mistakes that their parents made and learn from their own mistakes. The old patterns change and new patterns erupt. Jobs take many parents away from their children, the children start acting out (mainly because they want attention), they start becoming involved with drugs or alcohol, or even gangs, and the struggles become an overwhelming battle.

Children today have far more on their plate than children did even 100 years ago. Competition is stiff to get into good schools, and too many parents believe that the only choice a child has to succeed as an adult is to go to college. Certainly there are children who simply strive to be better because of their own inner desire to do better, while others need more encouragement to make better grade and try to succeed. There are others who lack the motivation to succeed, and these are the ones who are the most trying for parents. They still have to make it on their own somehow. Gone are the days when generations lived in the same house and parents felt they should always support their grown children. Unfortunately, there are adult children in their 30’s still living at home with mom and dad because they lack the ambition to get out on their own and find a better job or strive to be a success. Sometimes this is the parent’s fault for making it too easy on the child while they were growing up and always making excuses for why the kid was failing, other times it’s the child’s fault through little more than sheer laziness.

Regardless of what the issues are, parenting has its trials and tribulations, and it can be as rewarding and fulfilling as possible or it can be damaging and draining and disastrous. So much depends on the relationship that is established with the child at an early age. Encouragement, communication, discipline, self-control, self-respect, and integrity are all attributes that parents should be able to display to their children as they are growing and becoming adults. It’s impossible to be perfect all the time, but showing the child that parents make mistakes and learn from them is a valuable lesson to the child and helps them become responsible adults as well.
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