We encourage our kids to focus on their effort more than the outcome when it comes to their grades, athletic competitions, learning a new skill. But when it comes to our own parenting, we often equate our “success” with how closely our children’s behavior matches our expectations, rather than how mindfully we are enacting our parenting decisions.
It’s Not About Them
In truth, effective parenting can’t be judged solely by whether our kids follow our rules, use good manners in public, or work hard in school. Being a responsible parent rests as much on the consistency of our efforts, on the match between our values and our choices, and our persistent presence. Good parenting means showing up, choosing our words wisely, disciplining with firmness but unconditional love and acceptance. In other words, the “goodness” of our parenting
rests largely on US, and only peripherally on how our children develop and behave. We all know great kids who were raised by parents plagued by addiction, poor decision making and chaotic home lives. Conversely, some kids struggle well into adulthood even when their parents have been well-schooled in child development, and have balanced their own needs with those of their children. Certainly, we increase our children’s opportunities and chances of future success when we provide a warm home environment, healthy boundaries and open communication. But true success in parenting is best measured by the heart we put into it, by our willingness to challenge ourselves to make the hard choices, to take risks to be vulnerable and possibly even fail. If our parenting choices are in line with our values and beliefs, we can rest eas(ier) that we are truly doing our own very best at the hardest job in the world.