Once you become a parent, you realize that – as crazy as it might seem – you would actually do anything for this tiny little human you first met. As they grow, you learn to balance that zeal with the side of you that needs to be able to see their weaknesses in order to help them grow, but if we’re being honest, every parent has blind spots.
If you’re wondering where yours are, take a look at what these 17 people say a lot of parents just flat-out refuse to accept.
17. Believe your kids.
I work in social services and talked to a guy who’s 6 year old daughter was in the hospital after she said she was sexually assaulted by her mom’s new boyfriend’s 10 year old son.
The dad told me he didn’t really believe it when she told him, and that he told his daughter “Now are you telling the truth? You know if you’re lying you’re going to be in big trouble!”
I told him that he should believe her no matter what, and let the hospital and authorities figure out if the incident actually occurred. Otherwise, his daughter will be less likely to want to tell him anything in the future if she thinks he won’t believe her or if she’ll get in trouble.
16. They are actually whole people.
Children are not your property, nor your employees.
15. Take their mental health seriously.
Your child’s mental health doesn’t care about your worries of looking like a bad parent if you get them help. It will continue to get worse the longer you neglect them.
14. As hard as it seems.
The older your children get, the more autonomy you need to grant them.
13. You’re not doing them a favor.
That you are responsible for your kids. Yes you need to feed them, clothe them, provide shelter, love them, etc.
It’s amazing how many parents don’t want to do some of those or feel like it’s a burden to do those.
12. They’re not clones.
Your kid is an individual.
There is a good chance that their interests, hobbies, and passions are going to be different from yours. Support and encourage your kids to be themselves and not a mini-you.
Also, for the love of god have a conversation about how you and your partner plan on raising your kid. My parents had such drastically different (and bad in their own ways) parenting styles. It was really confusing.
11. You can’t pawn your job off on others.
You as a parent are responsible for teaching your kids proper manners and common decency. Not their teachers/tutors/babysitters/etc.
I briefly worked as a Japanese teacher and I was surprised at how little some of these parents were involved in their kids lives and expected me to address all their problems during the short few hours I had them for the week.
10. Mistakes are necessary.
There’s a time when you need to let your kids make mistakes, so they can learn from them.
Life is pretty short, so if they have a goal, let them go for it.
And meet those mistakes with dialog, conversation, understanding, and help, not blind rage, shouting, punishment, or hostility.
9. They don’t have the time or resources.
Working at an elementary school. It’s shocking how some parents do so little, treating the school like a daycare/etiquette practice/life lessons/whatever. As though they want the school itself to raise a well-mannered child.
I desperately want to say something. “You really think we have the time and resources to make the perfect child? We have classrooms filled with kids, barely enough staff members and a deficit of supplies! We can only squeeze so much in a days lesson! Assuming government tests aren’t shoved down our throats cause if we refuse, we are more screwed than before.
Raising one kid to be successful in life is hard enough but you expect us to do it with 25+ kids per class??? Or are you trying to tell us your little Bobby/Susie is more important for God knows why? Heck. Why did you even have kids if you’re not gonna put in the dang work!”
Sigh. Alas, I stay quiet as not to tick off the parents and give my colleagues more grief. I’m just thankful not all parents are like that.
8. As hard as it seems.
You also have to follow through and let them suffer the consequences so they can actually learn from it.
My wife is always jumping to bail them out and I gotta hold her back.
7. You need to be a cheerleader.
Their children have their own hopes and dreams, their own beliefs. A very good friend is leading an entirely second life to keep her mother from controlling her or belittling her decisions.
It’s very stressful to not encourage their children to find themselves.
6. They’re not a second chance.
That you don’t get to relive your life through them.
This is my mother. She got pregnant with me at 22 and married my father and went on to have my brother at 25. Anything I’ve done in my life she tries to claim as her victory. Graduated college, she was the one responsible, got a good job, she pointed me in the right direction.
She tries to use me as a way to relive the stuff she didn’t get to do and it’s so tiring especially because that’s not what I want to do.
5. Model that behavior.
Apologizing won’t kill you. It’s better to be respected than feared. Your kids can have different opinions than you.
You can be a parent and a friend.
4. Listening is important.
That sometimes their kids have valid opinions and instead of interrupting them and pulling the “because I said so” and “that’s just how it is” cards, they could listen to their child and make them feel heard instead of suppressed.
3. Get them help if they need it.
If your kid needs help, speech therapy, tutoring, medication, occupational therapy, ect…it is NOT a reflection on YOU personally.
Sometimes kids struggle. That’s ok. Making sure your kid has ALL the tools they need to succeed is your responsibility as a parent.
2. Nobody wants that.
If you judge your children too much they will learn to hide things from you.
1. They need to trust you.
Addendum: Make sure your kids knows it’s OK to come to you when they do run into mental health issues. You should be their safety net.
Answer every question they have honestly and pay attention to what they’re doing. I have a kid with anxiety issues and I’ve always made sure they know that it’s OK to tell us when they’re having a bad day and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
I’m doing a little self-reflecting myself at the moment, how about you?
Where do you feel like you need work as a parent? Confessions in the comments!