Much of your parenting experience is a form of reliving your childhood. I am forever going through what my parents did with me; hence many phone calls to my mother apologizing for the things I did as a kid (now that my kids just did the same to me). Of course, much of my parenting experience is going through the same struggles (potty training, puberty, math class) seven times.
Helping Number 3 go over Chemistry Notes:
Frustrated Number 3: How many more math classes will I have to take after High School?
Equally Frustrated Me: That depends entirely on how many children you have.
I love the saying “Practice makes Perfect”, but unfortunately, the word “Perfect” can’t be applied to parenthood- no matter how many times you relive it.
Past, Present, and Future
While it is important to live in the present, we should also remember what it was like when everything was wonderous, when you were vulnerable in the big wide world, and when you were unsure of your place in the world. Take a moment and identify with your child before disciplining. Take a moment to borrow the joyous wonder of seeing a bug on a flower from your toddler. Take a moment to just sit with your brooding teen and tell them that everything will be okay.
Now that you are reliving your childhood, you have the power to avoid your parent’s “mistakes”. Grew up an only child, and now you want your child to have siblings? Witnessed the destructiveness of addiction as a child? Vowed that when you had kids, they would be allowed to stay up as late as they want? Of course, now you get to make brand new “mistakes”!
We know our children so well in part because we know ourselves (“You’re just like your father” or “You get that from your mother”); use that knowledge to help your child in a way that no one else in the world can. Use that knowledge to strengthen your parent and child bond.
What experiences do you want to re-create for your children? What do you wish you would have known at their age? Drop a few lines in the Comments section below…