As a kid; I was pretty easy going. When I became a teenager; my parents and I began to struggle. We became pretty distant from each other. I developed some insecurities at the time and was also trying to figure out who I was. When I went away to college our disagreements continued. Though I was getting good grades; they continued to be unsupportive of the way I had chosen to live my life; and we butted heads on where I would study and what I would study. In retrospect, I just think I turned out to be very different than the type of person they wanted me to be and neither of them really understood how to deal with me and encourage me; considering they didn’t understand me. Nowadays we’ve resolved our disagreements to a level of comfort; though there are still some matters on which we don’t agree.
As an adult I became a little bewildered. My parents loved me; wanted the best for me; and wanted my safety. I couldn’t understand why my parent’s–though good people–had so many problems with me. Why hadn’t things gone differently. I decided to study and work with children so that I could avoid as many problems as I could with my own children.
While studying and working with children; I learned many things about their needs and stages of development. I learned that there are many things you can’t fault someone for not knowing unless they have taken a course. Many parents have automatic answers for kids that are really not very effective; but have been learned from their own parents. They know for a fact that these methods never worked with them; yet they have no new ideas or methods to use that may make a difference and raise a more successful child. Answers like “because I said so,” and “do as I say; not as I do,” may stop problems for a few years; but when children are old enough to make their own choices, they will do what they’ve always wanted to.
Also, a child may turn out to be a very different type person than the parent is or the parent had been expecting them to be. The child can have a personality and set of needs that are totally different than anyone the parent has ever met or would ever spend time with in life. The parent needs tools to deal with the needs of the child they have; not of the child they would already understand without experience.
We spend time reading books on celebrities; how to improve our home; sell things, do our jobs better; whatever. Yet, most people read very little on how to parent their child at every age; not just infancy. We need to learn about our children’s needs discipline-wise and emotionally; not just nutritionally and education-wise.
-bi-racial kids often have some needs that are very different than children that have 2 parents of the same race;
-boys and girls have special needs from their mothers, and special needs from their fathers;
-many, many children listen to their parents as the ultimate authority up until the age of about 14 and then they start to make up their own mind about who they’d like to be (most parents don’t realize they have that much time for molding.)
There is really so much to learn as a parent.
Though, there are no guarantees when raising kids; why not at least try to learn as much as possible?
There are free online parenting classes located at FightforKids.Com, About.Com and ParentingIdeas.Org. The classes cover things like anger management, parenting skills, real world marriages, divorce, discussing sexuality, family changes, teen communication, and building teen self-esteem. These classes can help you learn how to help you and your child cope with the changes in the lives of your children.