Parenting: “Dear Former Self: ‘You’re Not Raising Teenagers…yet!'”
It has been over eleven years since my wife and I started on this adventure called parenting. We now have five beautiful children, from 11 to under a year.
I certainly am no expert on parenting. However, I wanted to share some thoughts on the experience I have gained along the way. If I could speak to my former self, what would I say?
Like most (all?) new parents, I had never parented before! And so where did I look for an example, as I was first starting out? I thought back to my own experience of being parented. However, my memory of the early years was foggy: what I remembered more clearly was the experience of being parented, as a teenager.
For this reason, in the early years I thought that the key to parenting successfully was to give children less rules, more understanding, more freedom, and maximal space for self-expression. While essential in the teen years, I have found that this is exactly the opposite of what young children seem to need.
Here’s some thoughts on the importance of structure, teaching, and routine for helping little kids thrive…to turn into the sort of kids who will, one day, be able to strike out on their own successfully.