The sacrifices parents make for their children was brought back to my attention while working with Ann McDougall the past two Sundays on The Receiving End of Caregiving, Part 1 and Part 2. She had to sacrifice more than most, but I believe all do on some level or another.
I entered the parenting field thirty-two years ago. I don’t remember ever thinking about the sacrifices we were making because we were doing what we knew we should for them like our own parents had done for us. However, after the children left home, money wasn’t as tight, we had more time to do what we wanted to do and it was easier to keep the house clean, but all the sacrifice of time, energy and financial strain was worth it!
I’m so grateful we were blessed with two children. We’ve had our share of power struggles and personality conflicts, but I don’t wish them away because I’ve learned so much about myself and other people from my children. It’s a challenge bringing children into the world and raising them. The load of being responsible for another person can seem heavy at times, but I can’t imagine anything bringing more joy or being more rewarding.
It makes me sad all children don’t receive the same amount of love, concern and opportunities. I was far from perfect in my parenting skills and still am. I see other parents and wish I could have been more like them. Yet, I put my heart and soul into parenting. Sure, I wish I’d done better at some things and if I’d known then what I know today it would have been much easier. However, my conscience is clear because I did the best I knew how under hard circumstances.
Because I’m not an expert on parenting, I Googled abc of parenting and found a few lists. I took my favorites from the lists and made my own.
Accountability—hold your children accountable for their behavior.
Boundaries—set specific limit and make clear the repercussions if those limits are exceeded.
Consistency—hold to the same principles and practices.
Discipline—make the punishment fit the crime. Never discipline in anger.
Example—children are in greater need of models than critics. Set a good example.
Forgiveness—practice and teach it.
Giving—teach the joy of giving, not only to family and friends, but to strangers in need.
Humor—eases tense moments. Keep a sense of humor.
Imagination—be creative and play with your children.
Justice—be fair and treat your children as you want to be treated.
Know—your child’s friends and their parents as well as their teachers.
Listen—to your children.
Morals—be sure your own standard of conduct is sound.
No—if you use it, mean it.
Outdoors—provides fun activities. Be there as much as possible and teach respect for nature.
Play—with your children as often as possible.
Questions—make them to the point. Your answers to their questions need to be short and simple. Their attention span is short.
Respect—show them respect and earn it for yourself.
Source of strength—share your own faith, or beliefs, with your children. Faith can be their port in the storms of life.
Togetherness—have special designated times to be together as a family, but know when to let go, too.
Uniqueness—understand the uniqueness of each child and let that child be who he or she is.
Voice—your tone of voice can convey more to a child than the words spoken.
Words—think about the words before they’re spoken. Keep your word. Promises broken destroy trust.
You—take care of yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. A happy parent helps a child to be happy.
Zero—in on practicing good parenting skills every day.
I’m grateful to be a parent and I love my children dearly. They are the light of my life and I miss living with them, even with all the chaos it brought. Enjoy them while you can. They grow up so fast.