Learning (Parenting) on the Job
This is key, because it’s not what you learn that makes you a good parent, it’s rather that you do, in fact, learn.
In other words, if effective parenting was all a matter of what you know, then the parent who knew the most would be the best parent and raise the best children. However, this is absolutely not the case.
I can testify that parents who “seem” to have been trained in the fine art of parenting have just as many kid problems, if not more, as the rest of us. Even though they have read all the books and taken a slew of parenting seminars, they often just miss the boat.
The key to effective parenting is learning and re-learning, constantly. These kind of parents are not closed minded or stuck in a limited paradigm. When things don’t work out they are honestly open to where they went wrong. They are not defensive. In fact, they realize that most mistakes are avoided next time when they take as much personal responsibility as possible.
In other words, their attitude is “We know nothing,” even though they have learned much. I first started to realize this was a key feature of effective parenting when in preparation for my own parenting career, I would ask parents of children I admired for their secret. It was almost a universal truth that the better the children the more the parents expressed complete ignorance they had anything to do with it.
It’s for this reason that the first child has just as much chance to being emotionally healthy as the fifth. Even though we might think it should be the other way round since the first child had to endure his or her neophyte parents. Nevertheless, when you are completely open to learn from your mistakes, that attitude alone guarantees a healthy first born child as much as any successive child that may be fortunate to experience your parenting wisdom at the expense of his older siblings.
It’s not that parents didn’t know what they were doing that made them such good parents with the first child. It’s simply that they knew they didn’t know.
In fact, the speed and eagerness you take in realizing and learning from your own mistakes will determine how great your children will be.
This same value is also incredibly important for your children to have so they will succeed in life. Teach your children how to learn from their mistakes and no negative encounter will stop them.
If you are consistently learning from your mistakes, you will not only be an effective parent and have great children, but you will also be very effective and more happy in life in general!
That’s real learning on the job.