Every generation of parents (which can include many generations of adults due to the longevity of our ‘child-rearing’ age span) seems to adhere to a similar style. Or set of styles, ranges of options. We are all seeking the right thing, that magical perfect parent mode. We naturally look to the experts of the era when our children are small to set the tone for us.
My generation was raised by mostly stay-at-home moms (called homemakers at that time) and fathers who had work/bread-winner as their main focus and varying degrees of parental participation. Play-dates, quality time, helicopter parents and other ideas weren’t anywhere on the horizon. Parents wanted their children to have more advantages than the parents had experienced and Dr. Benjamin Spock’s books were on many shelves, but cognitive development + physical development hadn’t really been fleshed out as of yet.
Personal fulfillment was growing in popularity at that point and the ‘me’ generation was in full swing.
By the time that I had my kids, staying at home was more of a conscious choice, indeed it was somewhat implied that this choice was preferred by those who couldn’t cut it in the working world. I relished the opportunity to spend time getting to know my kids and going through their early growth because I had such a great experience as a child myself when my mom made it clear that curiosity is a gift. Dr. T. Berry Brazelton was the expert of note at that time.
Parents now have so many experts from family to friends to blogs to magazines and books and the past… It is no wonder to me that I heard a statistic on the radio from a recent survey – 17% of parents admitted that they look forward to going to work so that they can get sanctioned time away from the kids.
So I just have a question, how do you know that something is right for you at work? Do you have a process to help you to decide? Sometimes the process works and sometimes it doesn’t so you learn and move on. There are things that you know well and other things that you want to learn and still more that you don’t know at all.
The same holds true for raising your kids. You know your kids, you know your hopes for your kids. You therefore know more than you think that you do about the best thing for them. Make sure that they know that you love them in the midst of all the busy, busy days. Make sure that you really hear them when they are talking. No other generation figured out what the magical perfect parent mode was either and I think that most of us have turned out ok.
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