Sunday, 14 October 2012

Rocking The Cradle. Live Life~Love Life WK 42

We are responsible for our children: as parents, as a society and as children of God/the world. We are born without expectation yet we are born with needs- physical along with feelings and emotions, all of which come into play instantly and ready to be shaped within the spectrums of nature/nurture. Enter the adult!!!

I have so often heard parents say, ’if only she came with a manual.’ Stop right there! A manual gives directions but cannot take account of individuality let alone how you are feeling. What would the perfect baby book have to say? Now there’s a problem as we all think differently and hold our own opinions. Fortunately most of us very quickly fall in love with our babies, hence we believe that screwed up little face is perfect! The problem is that we don’t necessarily understand them and this element continues all life long with regard to some of our children’s decisions.

As parents we provide love and guidance. We do our best for our children however very often we can’t see the wood for the trees and obviously make some pretty bad decisions at times. We are people- not machines, therefore it is extremely hard to maintain a consistent approach especially towards discipline. We all know children need boundaries but exhaustion can kill our good intentions. In order to bring up our children to the best of our ability we need huge measures of patience, understanding and self-control. We do best leading by example in order to inspire and educate yet so often our children appear not to follow in our footsteps, sometimes to the extent where we are left wondering what went wrong!

I have found that most parents have times where they feel as if their best wasn’t good enough; there are parents who feel failures and often inadequate. Yes there are people who are incapable of ‘good parenting,’ usually as a result of their own childhood experiences or mental state but the majority of us are good parents. One of the keys to good parenting is knowing when to put your children’s needs above your own, life being a balance. Providing the right amount of encouragement and attention can be tricky but we need to stay aware of the overall picture. Overcompensating for lack of attention is a modern day disease with parents buying their children whatever their heart desires which often results in badly behaved off-spring! The guilty conscience is there for a purpose however we can mis-interpret and fail to take the best corrective action. It may be advisable to spend more time with our children rather than allowing them to hide behind various screens... TV, PC, iPad etc. Very often we don’t know what they are logging into. Some of us do not necessarilly know our children’s friends- especially once they go to secondary school and the off shot is that we don’t know where they are or who they are with. No wonder there are so many anti-social problems in society.
Without going into politics, yes the government has responsibilities towards families as a whole and should be providing good health, education and recreational facilities; but it is still the families responsibility to bring their children up as best they can so that they can contribute positively to society. There is incredible financial stress on most families which drains us physically and mentally however we still need to be aware of what we are teaching our children. Do we teach them to prioritize, to do their work to a good standard? How about respecting other people and most of all, being responsible for themselves and not blaming others for their mistakes, which often happens when parents stand up for their children in every situation without investigating the facts!

One of the key elements we tend to sacrifice is eating together as a family. This has become more difficult with many jobs requiring unsocial hours... the internet is open for business 24/7... but it is something that helps to hold a family together by providing a social focus. Supporting children’s education by attending school open evenings is also important so that you have a realistic view of their progress... believe me, a report tells you very little about their behaviour in school!

One of the greatest services we can do for our children is to listen to them! How often do we really stop and listen whilst cooking the dinner or trying to write an email? We can miss so much and children eventually start keeping things to themselves if their family relationships are not strong. When problems come their way life can go very wrong if they have no-one to turn to for advice. Of course, if we are constantly telling them what to do this too can have a similar affect and they will keep things from us.

Let’s go full circle: after 9 months of eager anticipation another child is born, held tenderly in his parents arms with the anticipation of a full life ahead of him... how will he turn out? Will he fulfil his dreams? Will he be a happy, active adult? Will he grow up close to his family members? We certainly hope so but that possibility can only be turned into a probability if we all do our best to play our part in the lives of those children around us. So let's do what we can... remember, A little love goes a long way!

Jaz McKenzie

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