RE: How to Avoid Being An Asshole Parent.
I know I’ve been guilty a few times. But overall, two lessons helped me survive the perils and pressures of parenthood.
The first one happened when our first son fell out of a stroller as a baby as my mom was going over the curb to cross the street. Somehow, he escaped serious injury. I knew at that point I could never completely protect him and was forced to trust in a higher power to deal with those things outside of my control. It give me the faith to let him explore the world around him and not shelter him from the occasional bumps and bruises.
The other lesson happened when my sons were old enough to form emotional scars from the decisions we made. I felt a new kind of pressure, worrying if the wrong decision made for a ten year old make could cause so much damage that twenty years later he might end up in therapy (or a bell tower armed with a sniper rifle).
Fortunately, I found the comfort and wisdom I needed in these passages from Scott Peck’s “The Road Less Traveled”:
In taking the time to observe and to think about their children’s needs, loving parents will frequently agonize over the decisions to be made, and will, in a very real sense, suffer along with their children. The children are not blind to this.
…children who are truly loved, although in moments of pique they may consciously feel or proclaim that they are being neglected, unconsciously know themselves to be valued. This knowledge is worth more than any gold. For when children know that they are valued, when they truly feel valued in the deepest parts of themselves, then they feel valuable.
It is our ability to suffer, yet still be decisive as parents that gives us the best chance to avoid being asshole parents.