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Parenting Guide Sheets
1. Parenting is for Life?

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4. A Scary Scenario or Amazing Opportunities

But it is rarely like that description above and the statistics tell us that few of you who may read this can identify with that description. That does not mean you cannot be a good parent. It just means you may have to work at it in a different way.

Now it may be that you are a lone parent. You may be expecting a child or have one or more children of your own already. Ideally you want to start in on the things on this course as early as possible, but it is never too late. But it is all a matter of the mind. If you struggle with low self-esteem you may need to go to the ‘Life Coaching’ series on Rochford Life. But may I ask you a question? How did you think about paragraph 1 that suggests that parenting can be a lifetime experience?

For some of us, that is a scary thought; in fact you thought it came out of cloud cuckoo land. You may be someone who is pregnant and wish you weren’t, and you dread the thought of raising a child (on your own or with a partner, it doesn’t matter!) You enjoy the freedom you’ve had in life so far and all you can think of is how you can offload this child.

At the other end of the spectrum you may be someone with teenagers and you can’t wait for them to grow up and leave home. You’ve had enough of this parenting thing. You’ve been there for them, you’ve been up in the middle of the night, you’ve turned up at parents’ evenings at school, and you‘ve even done your share of sitting around in ‘Casualty’ waiting for your child to be patched up, X-rayed, or diagnosed and treated. You’ve been there, you’ve done it and you’ve had enough! You’re imagining throwing a party on the day they leave home!

Well, OK, they are very understandable feelings, in whichever parent you identify with. But when we think like that we are surrendering to second best and limiting the possibilities. How many single mothers do I know who struggled through the terrible initial months alone, but who planned and worked and achieved miracles with their child? A lot. Then there is the mum counting the days until their teenager leaves home, only to find one day that ‘she’ is pregnant and the father doesn’t want to know. Suddenly all the maternal instincts kicked in and that mother was transformed into a grandmother who was there for her daughter and the beautiful son. Suddenly there was a new closeness between the mother and her daughter that the mum had never thought possible.

 5. Check out the Possibilities

Let’s recap again the stages of parenthood that we suggested for being a lifetime parent:

a) You are pregnant, so you are a parent-in-waiting.
b) You baby is born, so you are a parent-in-action.
c) You child has grown and left home, so you are a parent-in-support.
d) Your child has children of their own, so now you are a grand-parent.

Let’s briefly check out some possibilities of each of those stages:

a) You are pregnant
 you could give this child up for adoption and never see them again – until they come looking when they are older and wondering about their parents – and you will have no influence over their life, but it will be easier for you.
 you could determine to gather around you whatever help you can find (and there will be help around) and you determine that come hell or high water you are going to do your best for this child and be the best influence for good in its life that is possible.

                     Just possibilities! Maybe a little simplistic but worthy of thinking about.

b) You are a fearful parent
 you wonder why you ever got yourself into this; you’re going to be a rubbish parent and if you could opt out, you would. You’re going to hate every minute of the years to come.
 you determine that you’re going through this course with a fine tooth comb and you’re going to get everything out of it that you can, to become an influence of good in your child’s life, and you’re going to create a home that is warm, stable and secure so that your grown up child will never look back with regret.

c) You are a parent in support.
 well, you are glad they are off your hands and if they go and live abroad you’ll be glad they are out of sight, so now you can get on and enjoy life again.
 you realise that when you look back none of us can ever say we’ve been the perfect parent, but we were there for the kids. We’ll keep in contact, remember birthdays and be there for them when they allow us to be, a quiet sympathetic support in the background when needed.

d) You are a Grandparent
 you recently heard through the grapevine that they have had a child and you’re glad that you’re at such a distance that you’re not going to be called upon to be a baby sitter or anything silly like that! Now they can suffer like you did as a parent!
 they rang you last night and told you the good news and you asked if there was anything they needed, and could you help in any way. When the little one arrived you were there rejoicing with them and were an extra pair of hands in the background to ease the way. You welcomed them into your home and had toys available for the little one that matched their years as they grew. You became a very real part in the little one’s life, a continuing influence for good for the next generation.

Just possibilities, we said! Maybe a little simplistic but worthy of thinking about.

We don’t have to be domineering or (later) interfering as a parent, but we can be a source and influence for good for the next generation. It may take some effort and it may take some thinking about, but when we look back in the years to come, we’ll be nourished in old age with good memories and a family that like having us around.  We may find a transformation taking place in us as well as the children, but if we allow it to happen we’ll be all the richer for it. The possibilities are great. Dare to believe it, as you work your way through the pages that follow.

6. And so…

I’m actually a trained parent trainer. I haven’t always got it right with my three children and I learn much watching others. I’ve given up leading parenting courses now unless I am specially invited, but if I can help you in any way in what can be the greatest adventure in life, I would love to do so on these pages.  

This page has really just been about the way we view life. If you didn’t catch it fully the first time of reading, why not go back to the beginning and slowly read it through again.  Let the possibilities catch your heart. Enjoy.

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