Yesterday evening, enjoying a flaky apple pie and cappucino at McDonalds, I spotted a mum feeding her teenage son via a tube/bag. She had a big smile on her face, her son the same. I admit it was her raised arm holding an intravenous food bag that caught my attention but it was their relationship that held it. They were happy; life had presented them both with challenges I couldn’t even imagine, but they radiated contentment and love.
Periodically I think about the family unit and the increasing pressure it’s under. There is no job as important or as crucial as parenting. If you chose to have a child, you’ve taken on the greatest challenge and responsibility of your life and if you don’t accept that then you are probably already in trouble.
Parenting hasn’t got a rule book, there is no right or wrong way because every child is an individual and to a certain extent they are masters of their own destiny. However there are choices a parent came make to support their child in developing into a happy, caring, responsible, positive person.
Choose this: be happy, especially when times are harsh; you’re child will feel happy to. Be positive; dwelling on mistakes makes a child insecure. If you’ve lost your patience, been angry, made a mistake; admit it and apologise it will help them to be honest about their mistakes. It’s easy to be a parent when things are going well, how you cope with adversity is the lesson you need to teach your child. Finally talk to your children every day, tell them you love them, try to find something positive about their behavior and laugh together.
I rarely judge other parents. I tend to dislike and discourage people that put themselves on a pedestal and look down on others. Parenting is an ongoing job and we all have different criteria which we judge success by. Some parents think they’ve done a great job if their child’s a high earner or has bagged a football player. Personally it’s if they laugh and love daily and their hearts and heads are open to those that need an ear, a kind word, a helping hand.
My mum and dad were not particularly good at parenting. They weren’t awful they just didn’t put mine or my brother’s needs above their own. Like many people, they had children not as a considered choice but because that’s what people did. I think they expected us to be like pop-up tents.
My own experience as a daughter has shaped the parent I’ve become. I know what it’s like to be truly unhappy. When I held my first born in my arms I decided I was going to empower her with that elusive emotion… contentment. That does not mean spoiling it means giving her the power to appreciate the people in her life, the food on the table, the roof over her head. I want her to wake up each morning, no matter what awful thing has happened the day before, and think, it’s okay, I have people in my life that love me.
This McDonald’s mum made a decision to be happy, to treasure her son and the time they share; her disposition is reflected in him. His life has value, she’s ensured that her son feels happiness and love. They didn’t look at all out of place in a busy McDonald’s full of noisy, excitable teenagers, huffing and effing. To me they looked just perfect!
Be Happy, T
P.S. Reading ‘The Liar’s Chair’, not a book I would naturally warm to and choose but so far it certainly captures the essence of how a child is affected by their parent’s actions, decisions and emotions. Why are some parent’s so selfish and self-obsessed? Grow-up!