Hello Teenage Years -

Nov
27

My oldest daughter turns 13 in about 3 hours. 

TEENAGER! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

However, I'm not terribly worried about this particular teenager. I was originally going to post about how great she is but then I remembered my wife already did a great article on her blog a few weeks ago.

You can read that post, and then come back. I'll wait.

Instead, I reflected a little bit today on 13 years of being a parent and the conclusion I've come to is that it is the easiest job in the world to describe how to be a good parent. It's the hardest thing in the world to execute on effectively.

The simplest definition I've come to for being a good parent is: Giving your child a healthy, loving environment in which they can grow to be their own person.

It sounds so incredibly easy, but it is so incredibly difficult. Kate is writing an interesting 7 point series on parenting. In particular I enjoy the article on genetics as one of the more significant things I've found is that children are who they are - for good, bad, or otherwise - and it's our job as parents to figure out the right way to help them be the best they can be with their particular gifts and quirks.

Why is it so hard, then, if the definition is so simple? Life. Being Human.

How does one give themselves totally over to parenting without losing their own personal identities, hobbies, interests, etc.? Throw into the mix the demands of career advancement, employment, relationships with friends, and family you can get pulled in any direction any time.

I've been a father now for 13 years and I still feel every day I am learning. I'm grateful for an intelligent wife with a psychology background as I think that has accelerated my ability to understand and relate to children more completely. 

Lastly, I think there's a general lack of recognition for being a good parent. There's no "Parent of the Year Award". No boss to come say "Hey, I think you did a great job defusing that temper tantrum today." However, you're quick to get glares in the grocery store if it is your toddler to have the meltdown over a box of candy in the check out aisle.

Oh - brief confession - when it's your child, I enjoy it; it makes me feel better about my parenting. Sorry. You can feel the same way about me when my child has the meltdown. Deal?

The rewards from parenting do come forward though when you look at your children and think "Hey, I had some part in creating that awesome person." 

I think I am going to try to do that more.

 

Posted via email from David Billson's Posterous