Thursday, January 25, 2007

Back Link Parenting Just Gets Harder

tammy from Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

This year, my 12-year old daughter wrote our annual family Christmas letter. She made this comment: “My mom and dad learned this year that parenting only gets harder.” I’m not entirely sure what she based that observation on, but I think it is a fair statement. When our three children were much younger, it was physically hard to care for them – diapers, baths, feeding, etc. Now that they are old enough to feed, cloth and bathe themselves, there’s less physical involvement day-to-day. What I find more difficult than the physical labor is the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual labor. It is increasingly difficult to provide a balanced moral and philosophical framework from which they make their choices in life. I find myself worrying about their intellectual and physical explorations. Explorations can be a dangerous thing in the teen years – many current choices can limit or greatly redirect future choices, e.g., early pregnancy, substance addiction. I find myself constantly struggling to find the balance between curtailing exploration into potentially dangerous directions without preventing necessary experiences or curbing their independence and zest for life. I wonder if I have done enough in their early years to give them the best chance at being sensible in their explorations. Parenting is not an easy business at all.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading Tammy`s article, I could not push the letter out of my mind that my father wrote to our nine-years- old son the other day. I will try and translate the part I mean into English: "In many ways you are very lucky - compared to many other children in the world. If you are sad or have trouble or special questions you can always ask your mum or your dad, but also Granny and Granddad. They are always pleased if they can help you. That´s a good feeling, isn`t it? I greet you in old friendship, Granddad." And my son, whom many would regard as lucky compared to many other children in the world, because he has 264 Siku-cars and as much Lego as any nine- years- old boy might ever need, and books and delicious food, gave a big sigh and sad: "Granddad is sooo right!" Granddad touched what is essential in a few words - We are there, I am your equal: your friend. Christine from Lübeck

30 January, 2007 21:59  
Blogger Tammy said...

Christine, I am also happy to have grandparents involved in the lives of my children – it’s a wonderful support. Thanks for your comment.

Another avenue I found for support in raising my now middle-school aged daughter was reading a book called “Reviving Ophelia” by Mary Pipher. I’d love to find something similar for boys – does anyone have any suggestions?

01 February, 2007 16:52  

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