Last night, Mickey and I were talking about raising kids… a common topic of conversation in our house (I guess when you are a teacher & play therapist, these things come up a lot). I told him that I read an article yesterday that said that kids shouldn’t play electronics in the car.
Well, our kids do.
I said “Oh man, babe, I guess we need to stop letting them play electronics in the car. Ugh… Are we doing it right? Parenting, I mean? Will they turn out like we want them to?”
He didn’t have an answer & neither did I.
That’s the thing… we don’t know until we’re done. That’s a little bit scary, right?
Yes, I discipline them when they need it. Yes, I give them chores and homework and make them eat their vegetables. Yes, I tell them that I am proud of them. Yes, I’m sure I overdue it at times.
No, I don’t know if I’m doing it right. No, I don’t think that I am 1/2 of the time. No, my kids aren’t perfect… but they are good. They are kind. They are loving. They are generous.
Are we doing it right when we tell our kids to do chores?
Are we doing it right when we let them out of chores to play outside on a nice day?
Are we doing it right when we make them eat their vegetables?
Are we doing it right when we don’t make them eat all of their food?
Am I doing it right when I push them to do something better… to strive for more?
Am I doing it right when I praise them a lot for each accomplishment?
I’m sure some would say yes & some would say no. I’m sure to a parenting expert somewhere, I’m doing it wrong. And I’m sure to another one, I’m doing it right. No one really knows.
But… we are all doing the best that we can. You are, too. Giving yourself that grace is important.
We don’t know what the future holds.
What I do know is this: We are doing it right when we talk to our kids.
We are doing it right when we lie down with them at night and listen to them. I try to remember that our words become their inner voice.
That’s really all that we can do to know that we are doing OK. We can just keep leading them with our examples, you know?
I hear it all the time that kids don’t do what we say, but they do what we do. So from what I can figure, if I do the right thing: if I’m kind, if I’m a hard-worker, if I’m a loving person, if I’m a kind person… maybe they will be, too.
I think that’s about all that I can do that will REALLY matter.
So, for now, I’m just banking on the fact that we love them and we’re doing the best we can.
Am I doing it right? I don’t know. I hope so. Check back with me in 10 years.
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