5 Things I Don't Owe My Boys
A friend of mine shared a link on Facebook to an article entitled 10 Things You Don't Owe Your Child (ForEveryMom.com). It was a well orchestrated, common sense piece that seems lost on so many of today's parents. I enjoyed it so much, that not only did I feel compelled to like and share the link, but I also felt the need to add my two cents. Actually, I'm adding a nickel.
5 Things I Don't Owe My Boys
From the moment they took their first breaths, my children have had a home, clothes and plenty of food. They've enjoyed more than the basics, as well: vacations, dinners out, toys, computers, phones, used cars. So, no, Hubby and I did not owe them allowances or extra cash for gas or a new gadget. When we decide to provide them with extra money, it is on our terms and because we have extra and want to share. We do not owe them our resources. We gave them what they needed to become independent and we expect them to fly — soaring beyond their dreams — on their own. Yes, they will struggle. And that struggle will make their wings stronger.
2. Trust & Respect
Some things in life have to be earned. If that gem of a life lesson is not taught at home, our boys will head out into the world thinking everyone else is the problem. How they treat each other, Hubby and me, their things, our things and the world around them is important. There are consequences for all actions, good and bad. They must suffer — and enjoy, in the case of good — the consequences of their actions and decisions. And Hubby and I are here to provide an environment in which those consequences are realized, as well as the ensuing personal growth.
We are not the boys' friends, at least not until they are adults, living on their own. They have plenty of friends. As parents, Hubby and I were charged with raising our children, not befriending them. Parenting is not about popularity. It's about making difficult choices, modeling behaviors and teaching them how to be well-balanced, good-natured, productive citizens.
While we provide lots of information as parents, there are some things that are too personal to share at certain ages or at all. I do not owe them all the gruesome details regarding the divorce between their father and me. When I was a single mom, my children did not have the right to know (or to meet) people I dated. My children's ears are not the recipients of my cathartic need to vent about life's trials.
5. My Happiness
As parents, we want our children to be happy and fulfilled. Modeling behaviors is one of the most effective ways to teach. So, if I want my children to be happy and fulfilled, I need to model happiness and fulfillment. Therefore, I must balance parenting with feeding my own soul. Spending time interacting with, teaching and enjoying my children has always been a priority. Reaching my own personal goals has also been a priority. Had I sacrificed my own happiness — ignoring my talents and passions along the way — where would that leave me when they are grown? And what kind of role model would I have been or could I continue to be for my children? I want my boys to reach their potential. I want them to seek out their passions. I want them to be as happy and fulfilled in life as I. The balance is not easy, but it is certainly worth the effort.