If you haven’t noticed by now, parenting is something I think about a lot. And something I like to talk about too. It’s something I’m passionate about. I think a lot about how I do things and what effect it’s going to have on my children. I think about where we want to end up, and how we can help these little people we’ve been blessed with grow into the amazing people they are meant to be. And biased as I am, I must say my children are great. I love parenting and I enjoy it a lot. There are hard times, frustrating times, and times where I am definitely not loving every second. But on the whole, I enjoy my everyday life.
Maybe because it’s obvious I enjoy it so much, I sometimes get the comment that I’m ‘just lucky’. That I was lucky to get easy children. That I don’t really know what it’s like. That things that I try with my own children only work because my kids are easy. I must have been super lucky then to get 3 easy children! But, I don’t think so.
We didn’t get here by luck. We got here by hard work and conscious parenting. We decided on what we were happy with, what we thought was best for our children, and we did it. We make mistakes, we do the wrong things, we fall into bad habits, we react in less than ideal ways. And then we debrief, we reassess, and we try again. Because it’s worth it.
Children are their own unique people, and a lot of who they are is innate. But the way they behave, their actions, and our relationship with them, I believe is largely because of how they have been parented. We parent them respectfully, we value them, we set limits, we try not to threaten and punish, we listen to them, we treat them as we would like to be treated. And in turn, they treat others the same way. In those times when I find myself in a parenting rut, when I am behaving in ways that are not how I had planned, I see it come out in my children’s behaviour. I make changes, and I see their behaviour change too. So no, I don’t believe it’s luck.
Blaming it on luck just lets me off the hook. If I believe I can’t make positive changes then why would I be motivated to try harder? I think (in the absence of any medical issues) we’re very powerful in the lives of our children, and very able to make the changes that we want to see in them. But maybe sometimes people don’t want to hear that? When things are tough and you don’t know what to do, when you feel defeated and want to give up, turning things around can seem like a mammoth task! Maybe it’s easier to think that other people are just lucky, instead of acknowledging there are things that could change for the better.
And don’t get me wrong, I understand, and I don’t judge you. Parenting can be hard, I know it can. But don’t give up. Don’t blame it on bad luck. You can do this. When you say that it’s tough, when you tell me about the hard time you’re having, I will hear you, and I will empathise. I understand. I have been there. But I can’t join in and lament the inevitable terribleness of children, or agree that we are powerless to change things. I won’t do that. I don’t believe that. I will always listen, but then I will encourage you. I will always encourage the belief that you are capable, and that your life can be just as you envision it.
No, it’s not up to luck. It’s up to us.