There has been a great cliché to describe the art of parenting. Educational courses are provided throughout our schooling. You can learn to add, read, about the past, scientific theories. We can take out manuals on how to cook, drive…but the one thing that doesn’t come with basic instructions…a new born baby.
I’ve always thought that pregnancy is nature’s way of being ironic. A night or a moment of fun, ecstasy and excitement can lead to a life time of commitment.
Once we become parents after the initial shock, excitement or fear, maybe all of the above, may happen. Then comes the crying and the time ‘to kick in ‘ to support this new baby. We may be somewhat dumbfounded on what to do.
We often reach back to how we were raised; basically how are parents parented us. When couples get together to parent they often have many challenges. One is ‘the what to do’ another is the meeting of different values and philosophies of parenting. For example how do you consequence your child to teach them right from wrong. How do you determine what is right or wrong before you consequence. The list goes on.
Couples theorist, John Gottman once discovered that relationship satisfaction tends to decrease once a child arrives. This is because so many factors to raising a little one comes into play for a couple. Now they have to challenge each other more, especially when they disagree with each other’s parent style, approach and or consequence.
The secret to parenting has to do with balance. Can you keep your emotions in check when you are making parenting decisions? Most of us cannot, especially on a regular basis. I’ve always maintained that parenting is an emotional experience. Can you balance your time between raising your children and looking out for each other’s needs as a couple? Often the ‘relationship’ gets lost in parenting. Can you compromise on parenting styles and approaches and still remain true to yourself? This is where the hard work begins with your partner.
Most of all can you be consistent. Whether following through with a consequence, paying allowance, setting up chores be as consistent as you can be versus changing your structure week to week.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was the perfect parent. In the many years that I have been in the helping business and having been a parent, I have seen some good parents, even great parents; but not the perfect parent. If you know of one please respond to this post.
If you would like to discuss this topic further in a private counselling session or a free consultation please contact Shawn McNabb, Surrey Counsellor today.