Assuming the Risks

I was a really interesting child growing up. My parents emphasized the importance of independence and doing things for yourself. However, they were by every definition pretty strict. I wasn’t allowed to wear colored nail police (only clear) and a host of other guidelines that were specific to our household I didn’t necessarily agree with. As a result, I learned ways around the rules that I decided were pointless. I decided from an early age that my parents were amateurs so I wouldn’t be too hard on them when they messed up the whole parenting thing. They were inexperienced so I would cut them some slack and not expect perfection because I knew they were trying even if their methods were highly flawed. With this perspective I proceeded to find ways to bend the rules. It was then that I had a childhood epiphany. While bending the rules or breaking them without getting caught required stealth, strategy and good timing, I had to make the decision before I broke the rules that I was willing to deal with the consequences of my actions. So it immediately became a toss up. Was the reward of breaking the rule bigger than that of the corresponding consequence? While this was a lesson I learned as a child, it also has larger ramifications. As adults, we are not usually subject to the discipline of parents but we can experience discipline from our jobs, from school, or other entities. Even as adults, it’s easy to make a decision without counting the cost. This can be especially true in situations where you have to make big decisions about careers, relationships, and goals. Sometimes you have to make a decision without having as much information as you’d like. However with the making of the decision you automatically assume all the risks and benefits that come along with making that particular decision. You are the one who deals with the consequences. You can’t pawn it off on others. But on the other hand, you are also the one who can benefit from your choices as well. You just have to make the right ones and then let the chips fall where they may.

Sharing is Caring

Sharing is Caring

This article really made me think. The author brings up some great points about teaching children that they have the right to say “no.” While I don’t think that this example is extreme, I do think that more of a middle ground could be created between sharing and not sharing. The truth is that many people in the world don’t share but I don’t know if that’s a real life lesson that should be demonstrated to a toddler. Fostering a good sense of empathy might naturally lead to more sharing as opposed to just teaching it as a behavior. 

Parenting by Guilt

One thing that I’ve noticed or rather observed is the lack of boundaries and structure that some parents today have. While there are several reasons for these actions, one of the causes that I’ve noticed is that of guilt. Going through an unexpected event, a nasty divorce, deciding to go back to school, or even working more hours at work can cause a lot of parental guilt. As a result, and maybe even subconsciously, these parents because extremely permissive and relax most of the structure in their home. This is done because they feel guilty and they want to make up for the time they aren’t spending with their child, their new single parent status or even because they have too many other priorities. However they don’t realize that they’ll end up hurting the kid more than helping him or her. I’ve noticed that extremely permissive parents who enforce no boundaries or structures because of guilt as a child is little, soon find themselves on the edge of sanity once adolescence hits. Their kid doesn’t respect them or take them seriously. They feel guilty about enforcing boundaries because it’s something that they never implemented in the first place. Their pleas for the teenager to change his or her behavior fall on deaf ears because they haven’t established enough rapport or even a relationship that requires mutual respect and communication. These parents often find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place in a situation that could have been avoided if they hadn’t allowed their guilt to get in the way of being a parent. However, family therapy can be a great way to start the process of restructuring some of the family dynamics and even making room for some effective communication along the way. 

To have or not to have

I’ve been rather busy these past few days. However, one of the things that I’ve noticed that has come up in a lot of conversations is the challenge of having children and raising them in the world we live in today. Usually in the course of these conversations I get asked how many children that I’d like to have. I don’t necessarily have a set answer because I usually tailor it to the personality of the person who is asking me. Being in the field that I’m in and working in the place that I work, I have seen a wide spectrum of parenting skills. Some great and others that make you want to take the child home with you. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that parenting is hard work. Being a good parent is even harder. Firstly, having a child requires a lot of physical pain. And then from that point on, your life is wracked by highs and lows directly related to the creature you brought into the world. I firmly believe that some people should not and don’t deserve to be parents. They don’t have the skills needed to raise a child.  It always is nice to see parents that have good relationships with their children because it’s rare. I recently met a lady who was in her 70’s and she explained to me that she never got married or had kids because it would not have worked for her. As a result, she doesn’t have anyone to take care of her and check on her as most of her friends are her age. This is a great example of how not having kids can mess up the cycle of life and leave you alone. However, having children and being estranged from them has pretty much the same effect.That being said, being a good parent requires a large amount of self-control and patience. And while I think that I might possibly be able to raise a child without inflicting lasting psychological trauma, it’s still a responsibility I’m not crazy about acquiring. But you know what they say. Never say never.

The Man Dilemma

The Man Dilemma

Some people say that a picture is worth a thousand words and I think that this one is no exception to that rule. I’ve seen it posted on a few social media sites with some very thought provoking comments made by different individuals. In a world where millions of children are growing up in homes without a consistent male presence, I think that this picture rings true. I have so much respect for single mothers who are working hard and raising their children. I think that family situations like these require a woman to take on additional roles and responsibilities that may traditionally be given to the “man of the house.” When you’re working hard, taking care of business, and raising kids, an ” I don’t need a man” mindset is fairly easy to require. When it’s just you and there is no one else, you begin to become more self-reliant and creative in order to ensure that things run smoothly. A life like this sometimes comes about because of necessity as opposed to a conscious choice. You do what you have to do in order to survive. Period. The lady on the left is right. She doesn’t need a man because she is doing everything on her own. There’s such a delicate balance between an “I don’t need a man” and a “My life isn’t dependent on the presence of a significant other in my life but I’d love to have one” mindset. It’s going to be hard for any man to adjust into a familial environment like the one depicted in the picture because the odds are already stacked against him. His contributions to the family won’t be as appreciated because he isn’t “needed.” Bitterness sometimes comes as a result of these situations and unfortunately, it affects children in one way or another and can perpetuate the cycle as the picture suggests. Folks, we’ve got to do better.