Parenting is the most important job any human being can do. It is also a job that everyone believes they can do and therefore people make judgements (good or bad) on one’s parenting. To me being a parent is like being the navigation system for another human being. It requires an understanding of that human being and knowing how to steer them in the right path. When my children were very young it was all about my wife and I giving the instructions on the basic things in life. For example teaching our kids how to behave and treat others. As they grew older it was about understanding them as individuals, their personalities, what gave them joy and what made them sad. I have learnt that parenting is different for each child, it requires being attentive and devoting time with each child. It is also a two way process, a child understanding their parent’s intention. My children look up to me for guidance but they also want me to understand them and be friendly towards them.
I love spending time, laughing and playing with my kids. I try to be as open as possible and to encourage them to talk to me about anything. Especially now that they are teenagers, I tell them about things I got up to as a teenager, some of the things I enjoyed and the mistakes I made. I remember telling my son that I got suspended from school for damaging school property. He was shocked but it also made him realise that daddy was/is not perfect. I used that example to explain that I understand that sometimes he would be under peer pressure to act in a certain way but he doesn’t have to succumb to it.
I am fascinated when I see some reflection of my wife and my behavioural traits in our kids’ personalities but that is to be expected because they have our genes and spend time with us. I also think that as a parent I am better placed to help channel some of their behaviour traits that may have negative consequences. For example I can be stubborn if I want to and sometimes if any of my kids is being stubborn on an issue, I tell them that I like that they are determined to get their way but that they should channel that stubbornness in a positive way. For example they should be stubborn about succeeding in life even if the pressure or the odd is against them. However they should not be stubborn when it comes to relating to others.
Parenting is about creating good fun memories whilst guiding and instructing children as they grow. There is no manual or one size fits all approach to parenting but I now ask my kids every now and again to tell me how they view my parenting skills. I am still learning and I am sure my role as a parent will change as my kids get even older.
Every phase of their growing up as been cherished and I can’t say which phase I enjoyed the most but I am enjoying their teenage phase because they see and understand things a lot better. It makes for good conversations around the dinner table.