The power of parenting

Ever have a fleeting thought that you’d like to rewind to the days – if you can remember them – when kids weren’t a part of your existence?

All parents and caregivers experience times when they’re at their sanity threshold with children who seem to know exactly which buttons to press to drive them “crazy.”  This mighty power kids have… and yet, when you get down to it, no one has the incredible influence that parents and caregivers have over their family. 

Witness your own ties to your parents. Whether the bond is wonderful or not, it’s not going anywhere, ever. Why is it so important to you that your dad approve of the job you have; that grandma who raised you be proud of you; or Heaven forbid, that you would ever cause your mom to cry? And here you are at 30-plus years of age, and still the need to please those who raised you is sitting there in you. This same urge exists in your kids, too – believe it or not. How you relate to them and raise them will determine how that life bond plays itself out whether they’re five or 50.  Now that’s what I call power.

Someone once said that as long as a child can be around a parent/caregiver who has “love in their eyes” for the little one, the child will be all right whether that individual is a blood relative or not. Like the ugly duckling which imprinted itself on the swan, and followed this beautiful creature around because it thought the bird was its mother, children imprint themselves on who is closest and most constant in their infancy and growing up years.

It does not matter whether the environment is hostile or challenging, the greatest fear of a child is not abuse but of being abandoned. Survival is key and hence, survival tactics and self-protection mechanisms will emerge to help a child go through difficult times.    

No parent/caregiver is perfect; mistakes are made. There are regrets but the essence of this whole thing called parenting is that “love in your eyes” despite any misbehaving that might have occurred.  The latter does require some heavy lifting – but a kid is a kid and should not be saddled with an adult’s responsibilities.

It’s easy to love when everything’s great. Loving your children when challenges arise is a labour of love. Putting yourself in their shoes – remembering how it was when you were small may be the best way of using your parental power with wisdom, compassion and ever-loving eyes.