Parenting is the most challenging parkour I have ever attempted. Out of all of the races I have completed or even started, all wrestling matches I have competed in, track meets I have attended, or any Football field I have played on parenting takes the cake. Some days it is a breeze. My kids can be the kindest and most considerate humans on the planet. These days I genuinely believe I have this parenting thing figured out. On other days my kids are assassins. Able to slay me with a look or a snide remark that cuts me so deep I do not think I can recover. I lie there bleeding out as they laugh and point. I am the one who did not see it coming, blindsided by my spawn.
I try to use the education I have paid good money for to outfox my kids. I use all of the tricks of Cognitive Coaching, Love and Logic, Leader in Me, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and punishment to change the paradigm. My kids see right through all tricks, and my fear of what is to come is shown. I am defeated before I even start. My daughter is lethal with her words, and they cut deep. My son uses the newly found power of hormones to turn on and off emotions at the drop of a hat. They are more powerful than I am because I love them no matter what. That is why it hurts so bad when they attach.
The struggle is not felt alone. I have to believe all parents have these battles. Facebook and Instagram would make me think others have perfect families and no troubles with their kids, but I have to believe others are survivors like me. The ones who continue to live to support and love our kids.
All joking aside, parenting is harsh. I, like many parents, try daily to connect with our kids. We listen to hours of Fortnite content, watch Garfield cartoons, and drive to countless appointments to help our kids. We feel like this will never end, but we miss this current time when it does. I believe that no matter the feedback I receive for all of the time I spend supporting my kids, they will appreciate the effort. Maybe not now, maybe in the future, perhaps when they are in my current shoes as a parent. No matter what, I will be there for them because I am their parent.
I write this not as a solution or even a rant. I write this to say you are not alone. It is tough to raise kids, it is tough to keep them safe, it is tough to keep them entertained, and it is tough to allow them freedom. We want the very best for them all of the time. For this to happen, we can not forget about ourselves. Our mental health is key to their mental health. Take time for yourself; this will allow you to be the best for them.
Your partner in education and parenting,
Douglas Greek EdD