We spend so much of our lives worrying about our kids and I don’t mean just the little things, I’m on about the big things. How, will they grow up? Will they be successful? Will they be happy? Will they get a good job? And so, so much more.
Then you worry if the way you are bringing them up, nurturing them, is it right, are you doing a good job?
You think it’s all down to you, how you discipline them, how you teach them, how you let them know they are loved and cared for.
You believe that their life choices are what you nurture them for. You want the very best for them.
When your child is born your life changes forever. That tiny little bundle now in your arms is your responsibility, you have to be there for them every step of the way right up into adult hood and beyond. It’s all down to you.
So, now you worry about how huge this responsibility is and if you can get it right. You may just go with the flow, you may read every book, you may ask your friends and family for advice. Everyone has their own way. There are so many ways too, which path do you choose, which parenting method is right for you, what if you get it wrong? It’s all such a worry.
I’m there right now. I have three young children that I worry about daily. Do they spend too much time on screens? Are they doing alright at school? Are they happy? Do they get enough fresh air? Are they sleeping right?
I’m lucky, I’ve been there before, I can learn from my mistakes. Or so I thought.
I have two grown up children that I don’t talk about here on my blog at their request. But by bringing them up to adult hood it has given me experience and I’ve learnt a lot. Their Dad left us while they were quite young and he moved to another country so they didn’t see him very often. Most of the parenting was left to me. Of course, I’d done all the motherly things for them, but it was generally Dad who did the discipline, I was such a ‘Wait until your father gets home’ kind of mum.’ It was really difficult taking over the discipline once he’d gone. I certainly wasn’t as strict as he’d been. More worry for me.
I did my best. In fact I did pretty well considering I had two young children and a full time job and I was parenting alone.
We did have a difficult time though and it took me a long time to accept that the things that happened were not my fault. Looking back I don’t know how I did it. We had more than our fair share of issues and problems and they were so drastic they changed our lives completely. But we came out the other side, I can’t say unscathed, but we are all still alive!
So, what have I learned about bringing up children.
You can bring them up anyway you want but nature always has a say. Despite my older children having a lot less contact with their Dad than desired, they still very much carry his characteristics. Sometimes they do things that make me think they are just like their Dad! They have his personality embedded in them and even though I tried to make them individual, the nature versus nurture definitely wins sometimes.
They need to know right from wrong and you are the person who can teach them that. Kids need direction, they need discipline. You don’t have to be mean or unkind, you don’t have to shout or punish if you wish. But you do need to keep them in check and make sure they know what’s right even if they don’t do what’s right all the time.
They need to know that you will always be there for them. My older kids often tell me that they appreciate that I’ve always been there for them. It’s the biggest compliment that they give me. No matter what we have been through I’ve supported them every step of the way. I could have given up at some stages, I could have made very different decisions. But, I stood by my children always.
They need to know that you love them. I have very different kids, some are clingy, some are not. But, I always tell them that I love them, show them that I care. Even the older kids still get praise from me. I will never stop telling them that they mean the world to me and that I love them.
They do not need to burden your problems. This is something I’ve never done, even when my heart has been breaking I don’t put anything on my kids. This doesn’t mean that they don’t worry about me. They know when I am sad or sick and I appreciate their care and comfort. But I don’t push my problems and worries on them.
Never use your kids as a weapon. We all know this is true, you can’t punish another person by stopping them seeing your kids. In the end the only person that truly gets hurt is the kids. They must come first in these situation. If they don’t want to be with another family member then you can take their feelings into account but you shouldn’t use that as a reason to punish another person. You shouldn’t say mean things about someone else to your kids either even though this may be difficult at times. They need to form their own opinions not have yours forced upon them.
I know that with my younger kids we won’t face the same issues as I did with my older kids, in fact most people will not experience what we went through. But, if there is something I’ve learned it’s that no amount of worry will change anything.
I’d love to finish this with saying don’t worry, but it’s natural and the truth is, you will always worry. But, don’t let that worry get in the way of the here and now. Take each day as it comes and make as many happy memories as you can. Then the worries will fade into the distance and you will do the very best for your children.