My husband and I have been parents for more than 20 years. We’ve made mistakes along the way (as all parents do), but we’ve learned a lot as well. Here are 5 of the toughest lessons every parent must learn and that I believe loving parents have to come to grips with while raising their kids.
5 Toughest Lessons Every Parent Must Learn
1. The Hardest Lesson Every Parent Must Learn
‘Doing Nothing When You Are Able’ – As a parent, it’s easy for us to do long division and ride a bike; however, we can’t do math homework or ride bikes on behalf of our kids. Metaphorically speaking, we can’t let them have training wheels for ever, which means they will fall down and fail at times.
There is sometimes resultant pain and frustration that I could prevent, but don’t because the child needs to develop mastery of life skills on their own.
That kind of parental restraint is necessary so they can learn for themselves. This continues to be a difficult, ongoing lesson for me to learn as a parent.
2. The Most Painful Lesson Every Parent Must Learn
‘Not Being Able to Help When You Feel You Must’ – For example, when your child is in the hospital you are usually helpless, yet you would give anything to switch places with the child to help them avoid the pain.
Unfortunately, that is not how life works – we can’t swap out pain the same way we change a shirt or a light bulb. To endure those lessons we need to see an end that’s beyond the immediate circumstance, which is the definition of faith – believing in what we can’t see.
Those painful moments for child and parent happen in lesser degree, yet they all help us elevate our perspective from the seen world to something higher.
3. The Most Sobering Lesson Every Parent Must Learn
‘Each Day, They Need You Less’ – The first several years of life, most everything children know they’ve learned from their parents or close family members; however, once they begin going to school, they continue to learn and grow independent of you the parent.
Some of what they learn might run crosswise to the values you’re trying to instill in your children (e.g. the first time your child uses the F-word; asks about sex or questions why they have to go to church on Sundays when no one in their class does…etc.)
It’s sobering because your position and authority as a parent is being challenged, and that is only going in increase as the children’s friends gain more influence during the teenage years. But as parents, the more we are challenged, we are also obligated to love them that much more.
4. The Most Frightening Lesson Every Parent Must Learn
‘You Can’t be With Them 24/7’ – This is challenging because you can only hope that you’ve equipped your kids to make good, safe decisions when you’re not around – especially in the face of potentially negative influences that are close to your children.
Parents need to establish internal behavioural boundaries for their kids using love and consistent discipline. Pressure testing their decision making skills in small areas, and letting them deal with the consequences of those decisions, will help them fine tune those abilities when they’re older. Of course, the stakes are higher such as whether or not they should get into a car with someone who’s been drinking booze after a party.
5. The Saddest Lesson Every Parent Must Learn
‘You’ll Have to Let Them Go’ – Personally speaking, this is by far the most difficult lesson for me to have grapple with as the mother of 2 kids. You will see in no time, your kids will be driving a car, then attending prom, then leaving for college, etc. While parents love their children equally, the reality is that each child is different and each is special in their own way.
Bestselling author and child psychologist, Dr. Kevin Leman notes that the best environment for a child to thrive in is a stable, two-parent home, but he goes on to say that the most important relationship for a child is with the opposite gender parent. That’s because that parent becomes the filter and standard by which the child will ultimately compare potential mates and spouses.
I realize that and as a mother with a daughter and a son, I wanted both my kids to be strong and complete individuals – mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically – not needing a woman or man to complete them. But I do want them to find someone who will love them the way I love their father, because that kind of love provides meaning to life.
However, I do realize that for them to find that, my husband and I must equip them to leave us. Again, that’s the toughest lesson for me. Hoping you enjoyed reading this post on 5 toughest lessons every parent must learn when raising your child(ren). Now I have a question for you!
What lessons have you learned as a parent?