Anyone can be a parent. Some of us are more prepared for it than others, but unfortunately in some cases, most are not prepared for the responsibilities of being emotionally vested in our children. They don't have to take a class, there are no requirements except those which you take on because you want to be a good parent. No one checks up on you to make sure you are doing it right. If you are lucky you have a mom, grandma, sister, cousin or maybe even a close friend to receive feedback from. However, how you were parented affects how you parent. I think I have said that before. That could be good or bad, and again, no one is there to tell you the difference. What if you come from a dysfunctional family and your only role model was an alcoholic or severely depressed parent? How do you make things different for your child's upbringing?
On Sunday, a man spoke about his upbringing. His dad died when he was young and he and his younger brother were raised alone by his mom. He said that their basic needs were taken care of. They always had a warm meal and a bed to sleep in but his mom was not there for him emotionally and she was basically trying to survive on her own with two boys, doing the best that she could.
I bet a lot of people can identify with that kind of parent. Emotional connectedness is something that I see a lack of all the time in family therapy. The parent comes in wanting the kid "fixed". However, most of them would agree that there is something that they could do to change to become a better parent. Most of the time though, the change never happens and the parent is left frustrated not understanding why their child will not change or get better.
I spoke to someone on Sunday that said something that has a lot of wisdom. She said you get so caught up in having a baby, and buying all the baby stuff, and looking at the ultrasound picture, etc. that you don't think about the fact that you are becoming a parent for life and how exactly are you going to go about that. Usually people do not think about that until they are in crisis mode and they have 15 year old that is out of control. Or their child has an eating disorder, school problems, defiance, the list could go on and on.
But the truth be told these are all symptoms of a bigger problem. And a lot of it could be avoided if we had just spent a little more time being emotionally invested in being a parent. Not just going through the motions, providing basic needs, but communicating with our children. Taking the time to train them and discipline (ie:teach) them.
We all need a time out now and then. I know I do. But I also realize that now is the time that I start investing in my child, giving him my time even when it is inconvenient and hard. Even when I would rather be doing something else.
I don't always do it right, but I do strive to be the best parent that I can be.