Are you a parent? Then you know a reality many others don’t get this.
Those of my students who were not parents, often did not like it when I made the point they were in danger of being knee jerk parent blamers. I gave a pass to those who had been teachers, child care workers, or camp counselors, particularly sleep away camp counselors. Becoming a parent is the pathway to understanding parents which is more helpful than not thinking past what parents do that is not always helpful.
Thomas Gorden made lots of money telling parents how to treat their children the way therapists treat clients. He was a parent, but only of a step daughter. I suspect hie wife did most of the hands on parenting; otherwise, his advice might have been more helpful. He preached that parents should speak like therapists and never order, warn, moralize, advise, teach, criticize, praise, interpret behavior or motivations, sympathize, question, or distract. He believed parents should let children learn from natural consequences.
His prescription works for adolescents, but is harmful (IMHO) when applied to preteens and younger children. Raising a child to the point of when he or she is ready to learn from life, requires using most of above behaviors. There was only one on his list that I agree should never be used and that is shaming.
My point is that as much as we are told to walk in another shoes, it is never truly possible. Moreover, because we are all children before we become parents we often don’t stop the blaming, I know it took life with my foster kids to stop thinking their parents were at fault.
As the recent WSJ article So Cute, So Hard on the Marriage Becoming a parent is hard work and lots of marriages die in the process. Marriages that fail mean double the struggle primarily for the child-rearing parent. Having to work outside of the home while carrying the major responsiblity for raising a child, triples the difficulty. Add a child’s with special need to that equation and the stress and struggle quadruples when a child has special needs. It takes courage, tenacity, patience, forgiveness and a special kind of fortitude to hang on and hang in. Here is one mother’s reflections on her journey dealing with single parenthood, working, and her special need son. This is on her blog, and you may enjoy reading her journey, not just this post.
I am honored to know and call this mother friend. I am honored to know so many mothers and fathers who show the same strength. If you want to share your story or the story of a parent who has inspired you, please become one of my guest bloggers. Others grow when we share our stories. Which is why I share and want you to do the same. Just email your story to me. I may edit it but if I do will ask you to approve the edits. Suzanne’s story is as she wrote it.
Share, care, and stay strong. I’m trying.