It’s your job to catch them before they do something wrong.I recently heard this story.Officer Oddonez was called to the scene of an accident involving a kid and a motorbike. The bike was the boy’s graduation present.I will spare you all the gory details except to tell you this. The officer told me he thought the boy was travelling at least 150mph when he came off the bike because that’s where the needle was stuck.The officer had the gruesome task of waking the parents up at 3am to tell the dour news. It’s a policeman’s job to catch your child doing something wrong. It’s the parent's job to catch them way before then.In other words, what do you do if you suspect your child is moving in the wrong direction, or is doing something wrong but you don’t have the evidence?
A friend of mine came seeking advice. He had received an unflattering work review. He was feeling dejected and unappreciated for all the years he had given. A friend, just as much as a parent, will not do any good by simply listening and nodding. Neither will we do any good by calling the boss and complaining on their behalf.
That is unless you want to get it right of course. And therein lies the rub, it's easy to get it wrong and never know.... well, you will know, but by then the only thing that might help is therapy. Parenting is like two people jumping out of a plane, one with a parachute, one without, they both will hit the ground. Getting there is no measure of success, it's the shape you are in that counts. The problem with parenting is, like jumping out of a plane, other than the end goal, there are very few (if none) markers along the way that tell you if you are doing a good job.
I want to share with you three simple rules that have helped me stay on the true and narrow all these years: Don't swim with sharks. Don't try liposuction at home. Never complain to a parent about your kids. Must be something in the primordial soup that created these instinctive reactions of blood and sharks, red flags and bulls, complaining and parents. Put two or three parents together and throw in a complaint and physical forces start to play that are equivalent to a black hole feeding on itself. The deeper meaning of all this would challenge Freud. Somehow parents feel they just have to outdo each other. Maybe they want you to feel better, maybe they want to feel sympathy, I don't know. But, just like your pin number, your kid inflicted suffering is right there and no fastest-gun-in-the-west can out-draw you to who suffers worse. I started a class called: "How to enjoy parenting."
The parenting dilemma of last week (Hypocrite or Parent) was "Do I tell my kids 'Don't do as I do' or do I say nothing?" Of course, I didn't mention an option that might seem obvious: Change. Anonymous wrote that comment in our blog: "... your children are much more likely to focus on what you do rather that what you say." I agree. Even my kids would agree with that one. It would also be wonderful if people grew up just by telling them. We could all have a field day going around to all the people we know with a list of their irritants. Of course, they would probably knock on our door too. The point I am making here is, it just isn't that easy to change.
Mark wrote a comment in our blog: "I know a father who has a drinking problem and won't stop. Yet he is trying to tell his kid not to drink. His kid came home drunk the other night." If the father says nothing, his odds are not great. And if he tells his kid what to do, his odds don't seem to improve. What's a parent to do? There has to be a 3rd option. This problem is not only all too familiar, it's actually inevitable.Think. If you don't have goals for your children that are greater then you have achieved yourself, then parenting isn't for you..... take up golf. Every parent a hypocrite........ not.
Mistake 6: PROTECT or PREPARE There is a fine line between protecting your children from the troubles and dangers of life, and creating an illusion that they don't exist. The truth is, the home should be a cocoon, a protective place from the harshness of the world. But that doesn't mean, you should create a fiction that life is what you would like it to be. Keep this in mind: disappointment is worse than unhappiness. If you give your children illusions of life, that will lead to disappointment later on, you are setting them up for a crisis that need not be. You can protect your children AND prepare them. But if your protecting incorporates a fairy tale version of life, you will achieve neither.
Every parent says, where did I go wrong. We all want more for our children then they can deliver. The trick is not to lower our expectations, it’s about living with high expectations for ourselves and them.
Mistake 4: the BIGEE Old joke: "Why do grandparents and grandchildren get along so well?" Because they have a common enemy. It's a touching thought, after years of slavishly devoting to your children you become what you vowed would never happen. If you can remember back to when you were your children's age (no small feat!) you can appreciate the thick antipathy in the relationship. Where did we go wrong? Weren't we supposed to be their friends?