Growing up is really hard!
In a sense, we never stop growing up; We keep transitioning into older and more mature versions of ourself. At each stage of life, we’re in a brand new spot we’ve never been before. Even in areas of life which are somewhat cyclical, like raising children, raising a second child is never the same as raising the first. And, even if your second child were identical to your first, you now have two kids instead of one. This makes parenting a remarkably tricky endeavor.
You are a work in progress trying to guide a work in progress.
Trying to stay current with your kids can be a disheartening thing. My son has been obsessed with trains for a couple of years now. This simple and fun part of life has had its own moments of frustration trying to catch him at the right moment in life. Before he was born, we turned down a family train table which he would have later loved. At another time, we’ve turned down offers for trains because we feared he was soon going to outgrow his love of trains. In retrospect, it’s easy to be disappointed that we didn’t do a better job of anticipating the future. At the same time, we might have kept the train table and never had a kid who loved trains. We might have purchased a fancy ride-along train, and he might leave the phase the next day. He’s a moving target.
When you’re just talking about their favorite toy, it can seem a bit silly but, when you’re talking about learning to discipline your child, it’s more serious. A handful of people decide on a discipline system before the child is born, stick to that plan, and it works. The rest of us have a work in progress. Whether you decided to wing it with discipline, or whether your plan failed miserably, either way, eventually you have to change the plan.
No matter how old your children are, this is a difficult process:
- Young children just see inconsistent behavior.
- Older children feel the frustration of new restrictions and may object.
The important part is realizing that you are a work in progress working on a work in progress. You will make mistakes. They will mistakes. You will make mistakes when they make mistakes. That’s the fun and frustration of life. Parenting may be the most fun and frustrating of life’s adventures: a series of constant course corrections on our self and those we are raising.
- Have fun constantly!
- Discipline with confidence and grace.
- Apologize when necessarily.
- Shower everything in love!