10 Things Excellent Parents Have In Common

What makes an excellent parent?  Hell if I know...No really.  Hell if I know.  I do know that I'm most likely  not one of them, but I like to think that in certain lights, and at certain times, it's possible to see that I might be doing ok, at least, so far.

Parenting is an exhausting job;  one that never ends, gets much easier or lets you settle into bed feeling secure.  It does and can, however, reap tremendous rewards, and give you life's greatest pleasure.  But to get there requires work...Lots of work.

I know I've failed more times than I can count.  I know I've said the wrong thing, I've most definitely done the wrong thing, and probably, at least one of my kids will spend hours as an adult on some therapist's couch recalling just how badly I've screwed them up.

Through the years, and as my own have gotten older, I've noticed that the kids that turn out to be adults I'd like to spend time with, had parents that had a certain philosophy about raising their kids.  Since I really like their kids, I figured I'd share the magic of their parenting:

10 Things Excellent Parents Have In Common:

1.  They say no even when it's really hard:  I don't know about you, but saying no can be exhausting.  "Please, please, please let me go to Ashley's New Year's Eve party.  I swear no one will be drinking and her parents will be home."  But, here's the thing, you know damn well Ashley's mother is in rehab, her dad left 6 months ago, and more than likely, Ashley will end up working at the local bar and living in a trailer the rest of her life.

BUT...you have New Year's Eve plans that include exactly what you don't want your kid to be doing.  It would be sooooo much easier for everyone involved if you just said, "Sure, honey, go to Ashley's. It sounds fun.  Be safe"  and called it a night. But, I can't forget my mom saying to me, "Do you have any idea how much easier it would be for me just to let you go and say yes?  But unfortunately for you, I love you."  Sucks to be raised so well.

2.  They let their kids fail:  (Yes, you read that correctly.)  For me, this may be the toughest one to actually put into practice.  Let's face it, we want our kids to be happy, to be successful and to be better than other kids.  (Yes, you read that correctly too)  So, when we can see disaster on the horizon, we jump in.  We call the teacher, we rewrite the conclusion, we make a few calls to ensure he gets on the "right" team etc.

But think back to your own childhood.  Weren't your parents much further out of the loop?  My parents didn't know every assignment I had at school, they didn't drive me to private ball bouncing classes an hour away from home on a Friday night when I was 8 so that I'd have a leg up when trying out for the travel team that would cost them outrageous amounts of money to say nothing of family togetherness.  If a teacher called home, I was in trouble...period.  My parents didn't ask to have a conference so that they could show the teacher that she really just misunderstood my intentions.

Letting kids fail teaches them to appreciate the victories. It is actually great for their self-esteem!  Life is going to smack them pretty hard eventually, and if they've never had to turn the other cheek, you have done them no favors.  So let them fail.  Protect them from the big stuff, fine; but allowing a series of little failures will result in big successes for all.  Go ahead...you can do it.

3.  They know the difference between adults and kids:  Ever have that kid that comes over for a playdate with your kid but instead of running around or building legos spends the whole time following you around trying to engage you in a discussion about the changing trends in modern economic theory?  If you have, you know exactly what I mean here.  Some parent has made the crucial mistake of making his kid think that everything that comes out of his mouth is a priceless little nugget.  The poor kid has been done a terrible disservice.  His parents have made the mistake of making him believe that he is an adult, and that the grownups value what he has to say and what he thinks. Unfortunately for him, as a grownup, I'm here to say, I don't care what he/she thinks.

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