Parenting children is without a doubt, the most important job in the world. I grew up an only child and my parents separated and divorced when I was 12. Although I must have had some miracle strength to withstand the great amount of mild criticisms about my appearance and behavior by my mother, I was keenly aware of those criticisms from the beginning of my memory. When I became a mother, I consciously treated my two children with utmost kindness, never putting them down – not ever. My children were delightful to raise and turned out to be caring and kind adults. This success led me to a career change in my 50’s to be further trained and I became a parent educator. I also had good success teaching new parents how to make better choices in raising their children.
Recently, three programs on TV have highlighted really bad parenting – Super Nanny and a Prime Time show showing two specific families – all of which show families in true crisis due to poor parenting. The third was an Oprah program showing girls who hate themselves because of mistakes by their mothers. Watching these shows makes me sick to my stomach and they bring tears to me eyes and furor to my heart. So many people are terrible, unthinking parents and seeing themselves on video shocks them into realizing they need to make serious changes in relating to children of all ages. All of those families did receive professional help and I pray that is was enough. Scars last forever.
This I believe: Beginning in high school, it should be required for every student to take one full year of Life Skills classes, with focus on relationships and parenting. Parenting mistakes usually become generational, although some new parents learn from their parents mistakes and make better choices. Let’s spare so many children so much misery.
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