Parenting is a Journey
An Adventure of Discovery Not Only of our Children But of Ourselves as Well
Kids are not meant to be emotional Ping-Pong balls. Yet sometimes that’s exactly how parents play them, whether they mean to or not.
It’s not easy to be a kid sometimes — hasn’t been for a few decades now, especially since the “Leave it to Beaver” family model went the way of the black-and-white television.
It was inevitable. Increased gender equality — a good thing, of course — transformed more parents into real individuals with careers, and wants and needs, and possessing other factors that sometimes, unfortunately, drive families apart.
Oh, we still have many of the same problems as ever. Only now, parents have more options in how they react when those problems grow too large to ignore.
My family seems to be going through one of those times. It’s been a long year, and when that happens, it’s especially long for the children. And they need special attention.
Like they say, focus on the kids. Which is sometimes easier said than done, but it has to be.
Partners occasionally become less tolerant of each other’s flaws and will only take so much before the benefits no longer outweigh the downside. So you — hopefully — get to work, before the family portrait becomes fractured. Which can be sad, frustrating and even hopeless for kids. Sometimes, with work, things can be repaired. Sometimes, they just can’t.
But that doesn’t mean one should lose hope, especially when dealing with children.
My happy family, about which I’ve spent years writing, has experienced a turbulent year: job loss, death, hospitalization, anxiety, misplaced priorities, bad Facebook posts. And to be honest, I’m not always the easiest person with whom to live. Right. Hard to believe.
This year, I got — let’s say — less easy.
For more than a decade, we lived as a blended family — a “yours, mine and ours” kind of thing. Most of the time it felt seamless and natural. This year some cracks started showing. And to be fair, it was mostly me working the jackhammer. My wife has been incredibly patient with me over the years because, well, I’m not exactly normal. Which is good and sometimes not so good.
This year, the patience ran low. Which happens in families. Only, I underestimated the situation. Now my kids are dealing with some fallout I didn’t expect. Which is the worst part.
Some say it happens to everyone. I’ve actually had people tell me it builds character when kids need some adversity to demonstrate life isn’t all smartphones and shopping malls.
But when you’re the parent of a kid going through that, in two words, it sucks.
I guess the point is to love your family, don’t take them for granted, and fight for them. Especially if you really care. Because most people don’t get that many chances at real love.