Modern day parenting is a dangerous sport. So many books, so many specialists – when did we stop trusting our instincts and begin listening to what everyone else has to say? Eighteen years ago when I became a first time mom. I remember feeling so pressured to buy a ton of manuals and books on parenting, and sign up for the most in demand mommy and me class that had a 6 month waitlist. I didn’t buy into it at the time, I felt intuitively that I would know what to do when I met my baby girl for the first time. The first few years of motherhood were a true gift, just my baby and me figuring it out together. But soon preschool started, and I jumped on the parenting hamster wheel.
Yes, it is true that parenting is more challenging today than it once was. Parenting in the age of technology and social media produces so many new and uncharted challenges. Parenting during a pandemic and trying to hold on to some semnblemce of sanity feels like an impossible feat. It’s no surprise that interest in divorce has seen a spike of 34% during 2020.
But back to modern day parenting.
Parenting is a job, it’s not meant to be a religion. Modern day parenting preaches that as soon as children enter the world your adult lives are over, because a good parent becomes 100% entirely devoted to their children. So, if as parents we are not working to provide for our family, we need to be spending quality time with our children, making incredible memories that they remember forever – creating the best childhoods ever. If we don’t do that for them, we as parents have failed our children. Or so it seems.
My offering is this, whole parents raise whole children. Parents are adults. Adults are different from children. They have different interests, passions and concerns. Healthy parents hold healthy boundaries. Healthy parents take time to nurture themselves and their internal landscape. When parents try to recreate and repair their own childhoods through their children – that’s when things can go sideways. Enmeshment and codependency begin to arise.
When as parents we focus entirely on our children’s happiness and comfort, the end results are often self indulgent children that become self indulgent narcissistic adults. Studies show that young adults today are scoring higher on narcissism and lower on empathy. Why is this? What changed in part is a trophy culture – parenting religion – disappearing boundaries.
It starts with watering your own garden. Take a walk, spend some time alone, have the kids do their own laundry, and don’t stress if a homework assignment is incomplete or not turned in. Because your kid will learn to pick up the pieces and will ultimately thank you for it.