Life was simple before I was old enough to care about the things adults care about. The words “parenting” and “child rearing” weren’t even in my vocabulary. That all changed when I met my future wife, Josie, and then started a family with her. Even when I realized what parenting was all about, I hoped it was something I wouldn’t have to worry about after my children were grown. I was wrong. Parenting never seems to end and somehow, it seems to extend to grandchildren as well as adult children. In our case, it even extends to the nieces and nephews living near us.
Perhaps I’m old-fashioned (or so some people say). The trends in modern society are alarming if you look at it from my point of view. I see children (young teenagers) having children. I see adult children behaving like their children. I see children with one parent, children with two women as parents and children with two men as parents. Someday soon, in some way, something is going to break and it’s going to break badly.
Parenting requires mature parents. Immature parents will only succeed in raising children as immature as they are, unless something else affects those children (like mature aunts and uncles).
Parenting isn’t something that can be taught even though it has to be learned. There are countless books and other material about parenting, but they’re almost worthless to more than a select few. The best way to learn about parenting is to learn it from your parents. If your parents suck at being parents and you didn’t turn out like one of them, you have to learn it from someone else’s parents.
Josie made a big mistake. She went to England to look after the children of our older son, Joseph, while his wife and our daughter-in-law, Diann, is deployed elsewhere (Air Force). Now she’s totally stressed out because she’s spending more time with our grandchildren than she should be spending with them and the younger child (Michael) is definitely a “terrible two” child. Parenting our grandchildren is his job, not hers.
Unfortunately, parenting has become second nature for both me and Josie. Not only do we help our grown children when they need our help, we help the other parents in our compound (and they’re all related to us). They’re some of the worst parents we’ve ever known. It’s a mistake.
It was a mistake to get involved with the children of our relatives from the beginning. Unfortunately (again), it’s a mistake we’ll have to deal with until all those children are grown. By then, neither of us will be young enough to care anymore.
The biggest problem I’ve met with parents and parenting is discipline. Many of them refuse to discipline their children. I’m not talking about one form of discipline over another. I’m talking about any kind of discipline. One of the reasons we have so many problems with adults in society today (criminals and other lowlife) is because they weren’t disciplined when they should have been.
Parenting is a full-time job. Trust me. If you don’t treat it that way, you shouldn’t be a parent. For me, it’s the one job I can’t quit even though I wish I could.