The Parenting Skill Handbook Never Prepared Me For This …
It’s one of those grand buzz words that abound these days – parenting skill – like you apply for it and it arrives in the mail in six to eight weeks. Fortunately for us learn-as-you-go parents, parenting skills are teachable; learning them is the more difficult task. “Why is that?” you ask. I suspect it is because the basis for upbringing children in a moral society has as its roadmap an ever-changing path. And as a path, it is at best just a sketch of what others have tried and found success in. To paint a masterpiece still requires skill, dedication, focus – and luck.
Let’s start with luck! It seems that if we did not have control over the family we were born into, then we should be able to lighten up a little and take whatever comes smilingly. Maybe that’s a stretch when considering the daunting task of mastering parenting skills, but the point is useful. Tackling serious serious subject matter in a light, upbeat way – with hope and optimism – this goes a long way in the journey through child-rearing.
Before we even identify the skills necessary to succeed at parenting we’re often already somewhere between pregnancy and the delivery room. That gives little time to consider all the ins and outs of what will come next. The good news is there’s still some time before the kids are threatening to run away. Congratulations! The journey has begun. If you haven’t yet started a parenting skills list, start one now.
Already Underway – Time to Read the Manual
They always tell you to read the manual first. We almost always scramble to find the manual when we’re already underway. After skimming over that chapter the next step in developing successful parenting skills is to ask your parents. This is where dedication comes in and this is why I still say “Where’s mom when you need her?” Moms are dedicated to their children – period. Dads are too but you have to dig a little deeper to find it sometimes.
Ask your parents, ask your parents, ask your parents. If your parents are not available, ask a successful parent. But beware, all gifts come with a hidden price tag and there are no exceptions here.
Focus now! The years are going to pass by so fast you won’t believe it. My mom stopped giving advice at some point, just smiling and saying “Twenty years from now you won’t remember it.” Ninety years and a million grandkids helped her to develop a great grandma’s perspective on parenting skills. Put skill, dedication, focus and luck together and love will be the result.