Parenting a lot of the time feels like you are going forward blind.
It’s an experimental process to see what works for you and your family. Your kids, your lifestyle, your patience levels – your style of parenting may be really different than your friends and neighbors, and your parents.
And that is okay.
It’s hard to parent when everyone around you has advice on how to do it better, different, another way.
Advice from friends and family can be good – or it may not apply. Learning what to take to heart and what not to is difficult – our emotions and pride get really involved beyond just the normal evaluating the situations that go into parenting now.
I admire quite a few older parents that have gone before us, but the truth is I can’t parent just like them because the situation we are in right now and times are not the same.
Yes, when we grew up kids had more freedom to go and do things outdoors around our neighborhood. But I’m not raising kids in the same era as I was raised. What is socially acceptable to the community that I find myself raising my kids in is very different from the one I grew up in. But that is okay. In some ways it’s good, in others it’s bad – mostly it’s just neutral and we have to evaluate it for what it is in the time that we are in.
Technology for example is a big stressor for many parents now. How much tech time do we allow our kids? How much is good? If I don’t let my child on the computer, will he be behind other kids when he gets older? There is an advantage to teaching kids some simple skills. How much is too much? What do we do about social media? How do we manage internet usage?
The truth is, there are a lot of questions we don’t know the answer to right now. We make the best informed decision that we can and hope for the best.
The hard part is I won’t see if my gamble pays off for another twenty years or so. In the meantime, I don’t always appear to be a great parent – or at least not what lives up to the expectations that others may have of what I need to be doing.
Hopefully it’ll pay off in the end. For now, I don’t know for certain that it will. In that way, parenting is experimental. You do the best with the facts that you have, pray it works and go for it.