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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.
Yikes. Our kids have often had their devices in the car, or they are watching a DVD together, or they are passing my phone back & forth to play a game.
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 as we want them to?”
He didn’t have an answer & neither did I.
That’s the thing… we won’t know that answer until our children are grown. It’s a little bit scary, isn’t it?
No one knows until they’re done.
We do our best. We love them, take care of them, and do what we think is right.
Yes, I discipline them when they need it.
Yes, I give them age-appropriate chores and homework.
Yes, I make them eat their vegetables.
Yes, I tell them that I am proud of them.
Yes, I’m sure I overdo it at times.
No, I don’t know if I’m doing it right.
No, my kids aren’t perfect… but they are good people.
They are kind. They are loving. They are empathetic. They are grateful. They are generous.
There is no guarantee.
We are doing our best, but there is no guarantee that we are doing it right.
Are we doing it right when we tell our kids to do their chores before they can relax or have screen time?
What about 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?
What about 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?
What about when we tell them that they need a break.
There isn’t an answer key.
We don’t know. There isn’t an answer key or cheat sheet to look at when we are raising our kids. We can read as many parenting books as we want, but in the end, we go with our gut.
When reading my question above, I’m sure some would say, “Yes- that’s right” while others would argue that it’s not.
I’m sure to a parenting expert somewhere, I’m doing it wrong. I’m sure to another one, I’m doing it right.
No one really knows.
But… we (parents) 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, but we do know this.
It’s the most important part of parenting, in my opinion. While I may not know it all, I am sure of this…
We are doing it right when we love our children, when we talk to them, spend time with them, and listen to them.
We are doing it right when we realize that our words will one day be their inner voices.
We are doing it right when we lead by example – when we realize that our kids will mimic the example that we set for them. Every minute that they are with us is another moment when they are learning what that person looks like.
So, if we do nothing else, we can know that we are doing something right by being the parent that we want them to have: A parent who listens, explains, leads, cares, understands, respects, disciplines with empathy, and praises with pride.
From what I can see – if I do the right thing…
- if I’m kind
- if I’m a hard worker
- if I’m a loving, caring person
- if I’m grateful and generous
… maybe they will be, too.
All that we need to do now is use our time wisely. Be there for our children & in ten years, when we ask ourselves, “Did I do it right?”
We will be able to answer with a confident “YES.”
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