Stephanie Pearce: Being a parent
April 26, 2015
Parenting is an amazing experience. It's a privilege that shouldn't be taken lightly — a gift given to you.
Putting your child's needs above your own is almost always the wisest choice. There are moments, though, where if you take this job too seriously you will go crazy. So, make sure you laugh at yourself a lot along the way.
Children are all different, so taking advice from someone on how they parent their own kids can be a bad idea. Deep down, you know your own child and you know what they need. If you don't know what they need, then I encourage you to really pay attention, pray, and then seek help from others who do know your child almost as well as you.
Nothing irritates me more than someone who has never experienced raising children at your child's age telling a parent that they are doing it wrong. If you feel the need to give your unsolicited advice about something you have no experience in, I suggest you think before you speak. Especially if the parent you are giving advice to has already successfully managed to raise a child through that age. So, unless kids are making poor life choices that the parents don't know about, keeping your nose out of a parent's business is usually best, especially if you have no experience.
I will cherish every moment I have with my kids. My son moved out five years ago and I only have a year, maybe a year and a half, left with my daughter before she will be leaving for college. I am going to take in every moment I have with her. I will exhaust my vacation days taking her to compete in high school rodeos, 4-H competitions, and other things that she is involved in because that is my privilege. It doesn't mean I am too involved in her life. It means I know that very shortly, this moment in time will be gone, and I will never have it again.
I have been criticized for some of my parenting choices. Some people think I'm crazy for homeschooling while others applaud that choice. Some people get mad that I didn't force my children to go to church while others tell me they appreciate that I taught my children about God on a daily basis and not just one day a week. Some have said I spend too much time with my kids while others tell me what wonderful adults they have become because of my influence on them.
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Parenting is a very intimate thing. If you are giving it your best and not abusing your children, then you are probably doing just fine. You don't need to listen to everyone around you. Listen to your heart. Try different approaches till you find what works for your child. You should know your kids better than anyone and your influence should be what guides them, not anyone else's. Cherish them, laugh with them, and be a part of their lives for as long as you can. Parenting is an amazing experience.