The Parent’s Job
Your job is to bring out the ‘essential child’ from within your children—that is, to allow them to be who they really are in all their unique wonderfulness. You are there to enable your children to grow into themselves and meet their fullest potential with all the challenges and learning they need to face in this life.
You are not there to fill them up with your expectations and unrealised dreams—let them live their life, not yours by proxy.
Kids need a couple of core things. Get this right and the rest often falls into place. Kids need to be loved to bits, they need clear and sometimes very strong boundaries, they need to be allowed to be kids, to roam and play and explore their world. They need honesty and respect and to have this demanded of them, and what they don’t need is a parent who tries to be perfect.
So as parent, I set very clear rules and boundaries, and they don’t always like it, I do expect “please’ and ‘thank you’, I think manners are important and I don’t tolerate swearing or any form of abuse. My kids don’t get everything they want when they want it—I have a strong aversion to spoilt brats. However I also have huge amounts of fun with my kids, we talk a lot, we talk about emotions, even when the emotions may be created by something I have done. We are extremely honest with each other and they know if they need to talk to me about something, that I will be there.
None of this is rocket science! It’s not complicated and it’s not that hard (once you’ve set it up). I’m certainly not perfect, I’ve apologised many times for being grumpy or saying things that I should not have said, or snapped when I shouldn’t have—they learn so much from this.
Each child is different and its up to us as parents to work out what our child needs from us and how we can facilitate them becoming their very own special person.