Thursday, March 8, 2012

Part 2 of Parenting

I am realizing that there are two parts of parenting. Part 1. The basics. Making sure that my kids are fed, clothes and sheltered. Over the last 4 years, I think I have that stuff down. I'm not perfect. I'm not great. I'm barely good. But my kids are healthy and happy. I don't think I have screwed them up too much in that department. Still, there is plenty of room for improvement. They can eat more (or any) vegetables. Take more regular baths. But overall, we're good.

Now I feel like I am moving on to the second part of parenting. I have said that from the beginning, my goal as their parent is to make them fully functional adults that can make it successfully in the world. I will miss them when they are gone. But my goal is to let them go. Every day I become more and more in love and infatuated with them and I realize that letting them go will become harder and harder. But that is what I need to do. So now as I am in this second part of parenting, my worries and concerns have changed. I still want them to eat more vegetables. I still want them to be clean. I still want them to wear appropriate clothing. But now I know that I need to teach them to bathe themselves. They need to learn how to pick out their own clothes and find their own sense of style. I need to teach them responsibility. One way to do that is with chores and making them put their own things away. I want to teach them about money and to be fiscally responsible. I want to teach them about faith and how to have a generous heart. I want them to learn how to treat other people and how to respond when they are not treated properly. I want them to be independent, confident and secure in who they are. Sometimes Laci has such an ego and when she tells everyone how great she is, I am reminded that I also need to teach her about humility and grace. I know that the best way I can teach them these things is by example and I need to work to be the person I want them to be. That's where I fear that I have totally screwed them up.

Right now we are making some decisions about Laci's schooling. It feels like such a big decision to me. I feel like we are setting the tone for her academic life which will lead into her social life also. I want to do right by her. I want to encourage her but I don't want to be too overbearing. I am actively trying to gather as much information and ask as many questions as I can about this. One of the people I have been hounding with questions said that it is obvious that I really care. That really meant a lot to me. Especially since the night before I felt like a huge failure as a mother as Laci was screaming and throwing a tantrum. I know the cause of the tantrums and we are working on it but it is still discouraging. Sometimes I think it may be easily to not care so much about the details and this next part. I would stress and worry less. But I don't think it is in me not to care.

I have been warned about this next part of parenting and so far I agree. This is much tougher - much more challenging. I think it will continue to be challenging. As others have told me, the challenges are always there - they are just different as the kids get older. But I can't wait to go through them with my family. And see the adults that they become!

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