Week 1 7— Parental Units
I thought I was Super Dad…
Nothing has more impact on who we are than our parents. Our up bringers.
We’re at least 80% the result of our parents and maybe 20% everything else.
Rule #1: we shouldn’t become a parent until we’re ready to be a parent. Usually that means we can afford it.
Kids are expensive.
Diapers, clothes, day care, tuition, child support…
Kids are expensive!
I waited until I was in my 30s before having a kid. Mostly because it took me that long to get my shit together.
The most important thing I learned was — Anyone can give a child a happy childhood. It’s not that hard.
Just tell the kids you love ’em, give ’em some toys, and don’t wail on ‘em.
Boom! A happy childhood!
The bigger challenge is to give the child the tools they need to become happy and productive adults.
A happy childhood is great, but adult preparation is GREATER.
For one thing, adulthood lasts a lot longer than childhood.
Also, a lot of things that go into a happy childhood don’t always translate well to adulthood.
A coddled and protected child might be very happy, but if they grow up into an anxiety-ridden adult, whose mom and dad aren’t there to coddle and protect them anymore, then what good did it do?
That’s why more experienced parents don’t sweat every single little detail about their child’s life.
It’s not that they got lazy, or don’t care anymore, it’s that they’ve learned that worrying about every single little detail is not a good idea!
If anything, that might be what causes the anxiety in the adult child.
We’ve taught them to worry and fret over everything that happens to them, and everything that happens to them is a big deal!
It may suck when a kid gets sick, but that’s how they build their immunity.
I thought I was Super Dad.
I put the happy in happy childhood. The kid had everything.
But now I look back and realize a lot of it was my own short-term gratification.
It was easy, and it was fun.
I didn’t do much adult preparation, which wasn’t as easy or fun.
So, now that he’s a young adult, he gets to figure it out for himself!
Life had to do the job that I didn’t.
I managed to get the other big things right: Love, support, and encouragement.
The rest of it? It’s whatever.
If we take care of the big things, the little things have a way of taking care of themselves.
I’m glad I was never a no-bird.
Some people believe being a parent is all about saying NO.
And… yes, the job description of parent is basically the word “No”
But over and over and over again? That’s it? That’s all you got?
I’ve seen parents like that. Everything is no no no no no no no no no no no no….. it’s like a Purina commercial.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We are allowed to say YES.
Of course, if the kid says, “Hey, dad, can I play with that hydrogen bomb over there?” we’re gonna have to say no. That would be dangerous.
But if it’s no big deal, no skin off our noses, we shouldn’t be afraid to say YES, maybe more than we already do.
You are my child and I say YES to you!
The earlier we give our children the illusion of freedom and self-determination, the sooner they’ll learn responsibility. And consequence.
Also, every time we say Yes, we increase the power of NO.
— There’s a lot of different roads to get to the same good place. That was never more true than with parenting.
— Some parents talk down to their kids, like they’re still babies. And some parents talk to their children like they’re adults. Still other parents have the ability to talk AT the child’s level, whatever level that is. They know how to speak their child’s language!
But what I tried to do was talk to my son JUST ABOVE whatever level he was at.
It didn’t matter if he was 4 or 8 or 14. I’d find his level and go up a few notches. Say words or concepts he didn’t know yet, but could understand. Like we’re leading them. Showing them the way.
If you do it successfully, you end up with a child with a great vocabulary, who says things YEARS before he or she should be able.
— Good parenting is selfless. We’re helping our child become his or her own person, apart from us. Ultimately, that’s what we’re training them for.