Parenting can be looked at in two basic ways:
- as an occupation, something unavoidable but unpleasant OR
- a service to humanity.
- Parenting as an occupation is one you would avoid at all costs.
Apart from the resentment of the loss of your personal freedom, there are several reasons for which any person looking at parenting solely as an occupation would refuse to embark on it.
Here are the three main ones:
1. It pays nothing, in fact it costs you money (and lots of it).
2. It is a 24 hour/day, 7 day/week employment, which lasts for 20 years or more.
3. It is often thankless and difficult.
To be fair, many of those who, consciously or unconsciously regard parenting as an occupation, were surprised by the event and look on it as an unwanted one.
Generally those that have anticipated/planned the event feel differently. If one looks on parenting as a service to humanity it is bar none.
1. You reap enormous rewards and if you do it right, so do others.
2. You learn about yourself - children will always show you your weak spots. Yet paradoxically it will also show you your strengths. You will expand your horizons and yet delve deep inside yourself, if you are doing it right.
3. Children are a gift, they bring us unexpected presents and challenges. If you are up for the challenge it will make all the difference in your life. And they are there for you, later in life.
If you are going to be of service to yourself, your child and humanity at large in raising a child, you need to learn (not assume you know) how to be a good parent. While there are many methods - Barbara Coloroso, Positive Discipline and others - out there that may help, the key to being a good parent is that you are willing to grow and learn and that you already know a bit about who you are. Let's look at the opposite first, since it is easier to see.
How to be a bad parent
Since this is the simpler route and requires less effort and thought, let's examine this first. If you want to raise a self-centred child, who has a stunted character and who is unlikely to be able to adapt to life's challenges or contribute to humanity, this is what you should do:
1. Don't grow up yourself. Continue to live as though you had no child - put your needs/wants first. Show no emotional or character growth at all.
2. Be emotionally unavailable: When you have to spend time with your child, make sure you are always distracted (cell phone, tablet, work, friends) neve give your child any undivided attention. .
3. Make no personal investment in your child. Follow the crowd and enroll them in various sports (which may or may not have any interest for the child) and other activities so that they are away from you , except when you are ferrying them here and there of course.
4. Make it a point not to eat meals together. Meals are a bonding time and they also help socialize your child.
5. Do not allow your child to help with any chores.
6. Expect nothing from them. but encourage them in acquisition of things.
7. Defend their weaknesses to others but criticize them when you are alone with them.
8. Allow them to disrespect you
9. Let them see your faults and defend those faults to your children. Do nothing to better yourself.
10. Give them unlimited and unsupervised screen time.
After reading the above, how to be a good parent may seem obvious. What I am going to detail below is how to be a parent, whose child will be of service to humanity. That is slightly different.
1. Do your own inner work
2. Spend time doing what you love and let your child see it
3. Spend quality time with your child - (cultural transfer) do things together, teach them skills and also to have fun.
4. Expect your child to do their best
5. Teach your child - character, life
6. Allow your child to make mistakes and fail
7. Encourage learning and growth.
8. Help them to get along with others and know themselves
9. Spend time in nature with them.
10. Teach them to respect people and themselves.
Being a good parent brings hard work at the beginning but dividends for your investment. All of us are better off for you having made that investment.
Being a bad parent is easier at first but gets progressively more difficult and leaves your child ill equipped to be successful and leaves the rest of us with a problem.
Ultimately the choice is yours - be wise about making it - for all our sakes.