Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You're the parent

Have you ever seen a dog when it hears a high pitch sound? If you haven't here's what it looks like; their ears stand straight up and a bit back. They then begin to tilt their heard from side to side as if they are trying to pinpoint where the sound is coming from and what is it that they hear. Their eyes, oh their eyes, they glaze over a tad as if they have slipped into some kind of hypnotic trance.

I get that look a lot, no not just from my family when I say things like, "Hey you 3 ADULT children, mom and I are done buying you Christmas presents!” ah nothing like that Christmas feeling.

Anyway, I get that look a lot from parents when I talk to them about raising kids. Now before you get the wrong impression, my wife and I are not perfect parents and we do not have perfect kids. We are parents who did our best and never allowed this parenting thing to slip into autopilot. We have three grown children who I'm sure as time goes on and they think that the statute of limitations is over, that they will begin to share stories of what they got away with. The trouble with that is, I still can and will chase them down the street in a large motor vehicle!

I don't have a bunch of initials after my last name, not that there is anything wrong with that, me I'm more the school of life kind of person, my wife too. We read books as we raised our kids, I must admit, that we never read one unless it was written by someone who had kids of their own. Call me crazy, and believe me the voices sometime do, but I'm more the, “it's easy to talk a good game, but show me the reality of it all, put it into action kind of person”.

I have worked with teens now for 30 years, man that's weird putting that into writing, but none the less it's been that long. Working with teens, speaking in the schools, helping police departments, have given me the opportunity to see things from many different perspectives, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that raising kids is not for the weak of heart or for those who can't see beyond themselves. Raising kids is a battle, a fight, not you vs. the offspring, but you against this world that wants a village to raise your kids instead of you. Now I do agree that others do have an influence on your kids, but they should be influences that complement your parenting, not go against it or replace it. You’re the parent!

So here is where the head tilting thing starts to happen as I speak to parent’s one on one or in parent presentations. I hear their thoughts, well OK i don't hear their actual thoughts; I don't have that particular super power, although I can wiggle my ears. Their thoughts though are expressed all over their face. Their brow crunches, eyes start to squint, the head tilts, shoulders start to raise up. All classic signs of them saying, "are you for real, who let you in here!".

I wish I didn't see that look as much as I do, but sad to say it happens more and more all the time and the older I get the more I see it. Parents hear me, there is a war for your kids. This world is just waiting to snag your child and before you know it the tentacles have engulfed them. Parenting can't be approached as if there is an easy answer to all that you'll face, because there are no easy answers and no easy solutions, that's why it's called parenting and not friending (is that a word?). Key is, don't run from the fight, stand and stand strong. I'll write more as time goes on.

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