Nowadays, parents like us are frequently the targets of criticism about our parenting styles. It seems that some people have standard guidelines of what a good and a bad parent is, which is why often we begin to doubt how we are as a parent to our child. We tend to listen to what our relatives, friends, or the media have to say about us, and we then begin to compare ourselves to other parents. But what’s important is to set aside your guilt, remorse, worry, or stress about what you’re responsible for as a parent – and what you’re not.
I talked to a parent coach, and I suddenly asked him if I had the chance to be a great parent. He said that it was never impossible. He gave a list of some of the things that a parent should be responsible for – and those that a parent should not mind.
- You’re responsible for teaching your child self-care and other activities of daily living. You are tasked to help your child learn how to work his way through functioning independently according to his age. However, you are not responsible for spoon-feeding him when he reaches a more mature age. Don’t allow him to become too dependent on you to the point that he can’t still eat by himself at 12.
- You’re responsible for teaching him to be physically and emotionally stable, but you’re not responsible for making them happy all the time. You build the foundation for your child’s emotional and physical stability, but as he grows older, you must let go of him slowly and allow him to be free to love, get hurt, and suffer the hurtful consequences. All these will make him a stronger and more resilient person. That’s a guarantee.
- You’re responsible for instilling in your child the value of taking responsibility for his actions. This means that you can initially train your child, for example, to wake up early when it’s weekdays. If they don’t, then they’ll have to deal with some consequences. However, you’re not responsible for controlling your child just because he has not done what he was asked to. Kids are endowed with a quick and smart mind that can go as far as learning all the rules in the house but not doing them. If this is the case, you’re not at all accountable for your child if his grades flank because your child has insomnia.
- You’re responsible for guiding and watching over your child when he is sad, depressed, or angry. You must find a way to penetrate him and let him talk about how he feels. You can do this, but no, you are not responsible for asking for the approval of other parents. Just because your fellow parents don’t agree with your parenting style, you change them. Other parents or teachers may be obliged to teach your child some lesson or two, but not to you. No one knows better than your child, so it’s only you who knows when and how to change the parenting style.
- You’re responsible for doing all that you can for the good of your child, but you are not responsible for doing what your child is supposed to be doing for himself. Because your child has gotten used to you picking his garbage, he tends to leave his garbage instead of cleaning it himself. For instance, he’s doing his homework in the living room, but you find out later that he left his things after he did homework. Don’t clean it up for him. Ask him to go back there and clean up before he goes to bed. Let him struggle sometimes, so he knows when he’s struggling.
Remember that not one child is the same as another. Each of our children is unique, and no one knows them better than we do. You can get pieces of advice from other parents, as there is nothing wrong with listening and learning new things that our children can probably learn too. But don’t take away your right to be the expert on your child. In the end, you will still be making the tough decisions for him, especially when he’s not yet at the right age. Be there for your child. Although you want him to become independent, you can always watch him from afar, still loving him with all your heart.