Our March PAC Newsletter is here and it includes an excellent article from Parent Education Instructor Mary Ann Abbott.

The “Perks” and “Downsides” of Parenting

Author: Mary Ann Abbott

Let’s face it!  Parenting is one of the most demanding jobs in the world. It can be an exhausting and emotionally draining responsibility. It’s easy to be so frustrated, mad, and discouraged that you wonder why you gave the nod to parenthood in the first place.

Then, the reverse is also true. It can be the most wonderful experience, one of those “other world” moments! You wonder how life could be any better as you cuddle with that “angelic being” who can do no wrong –and around whom your whole world revolves.

Let’s also face the fact that parenting never stops. It’s unrelenting. It’s a 24/7 responsibility.  And, when the job begins, you are in for the long haul – at least 18 years or more. Probably more! Empty nest parents say parenting never ceases – one just learns to parent differently, and very, very carefully! And, sometimes, grown children return and stay and stay and stay.

Finding the best way(s) to parent can also be a challenge!  There’s the advice from well meaning grandparents and “in-laws!”  How about the concerns of “auntie” who’s an expert in child development? Or the clerk in the grocery store who commented, “Doesn’t he ever run down?”  When these well-intentioned “hints” mix with the parent’s own conscientious nature, it can produce a brittle, uptight, and insecure parent who’s still wondering how to do it right.

We hear guidelines from the Positive Parenting experts, the Love and Logic folks, and even the Parent Educator at Pre-School! And, one more check from the multi-sourced internet. Lots of information out there!

So, how does a conscientious parent find “truth” about how to parent? 

A few tips may help:

  1. Relax and enjoy your child. Being a parent is about creating a relationship with your child.   The connection you have with your child is unique. Celebrate together! Focus on what draws you to each other.
  2. Take care of yourself. What is it that will bring energy and balance to you? It’s okay to pamper yourself now and again. Summer is coming!
  3. Select a few family values which are really important to you and let them guide you in day-to-day situations. Yes, you may do some homework on parenting ideas, but keep a simple focus, even when those “hints” come your way.
  4. Give yourself some credit: parenting is a big responsibility! When you make   mistakes, there’s always tomorrow.  Children are very forgiving and resilient.  It’s the relationship that’s important. Children will respond to the genuine love, even an apology, of a parent.
  5. Believe in yourself.  You know your child. You may learn new things, but trust yourself in your quest to be a loving, responsive parent.

Parenting is a complicated experience. Being honest with yourself about your family is a simple beginning for a lifetime.

Remember these words: Parenting is one of the most demanding jobs in the world, but it can also be one of the most satisfying of life’s experiences! Enjoy the ride, bumps and all!

Mary Ann Abbott
Parent Education Instructor
North Seattle College


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