Parenting can be downright stressful. As a parent, you are always questioning your every choice. I mean, these decisions can affect our children’s lives forever (no pressure, right?!).
Whether its big decisions or small split-second choices, they all have an impact on our kids in some way. For example, things like, do I start my 5 year old in elementary school or hold them back a year because they are young for their grade level? Should I let my kids quit a sport they momentarily don’t want to do, or encourage them to keep going until their commitment is finished? Is a new fear my daughter has just a phase, or something more that needs to be discussed with a pediatric therapist? Should I let my children play with the neighbors or stay socially distant? Should I let my child cut their hair, even though I’m pretty sure they’ll regret it? Is my son’s behavior normal or something to be concerned about? As parents we just never know for sure…
There’s No Crystal Ball
Unfortunately, we can’t see into the future and know exactly what we should do to make the perfect decision. Instead we stay up late at night searching the internet for all the possible options, so we can make the best decision at that particular time. Often, never knowing if that will be the ‘right’ one. Once we finally know if we’ve made the right decision or not, sometimes months or years from now, by then it’s too late to go back and make a different choice. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a crystal ball and could look into the future, seeing BOTH paths that were possible, and the outcome of both options, so we’d KNOW which choice to make. For now, we can only hope to find a balance in life and choose wisely for our children.
Adult Decisions for a Child’s Life Choices
Life is always full of options and as adults we weigh each choice, hoping to choose wisely. But when it comes to kids, the stakes seem so much higher. It’s not an adult choosing for themselves that can say “OK, I chose poorly, oops… next time I’ll know better.” This is a parent choosing for a child- it affects their life, and they usually don’t even have a say in it (depending on the age of the child). If we ‘mess up’, our kids are left to deal with the consequences of our poor choices. No parent wants that for their kids… and no parent wants to have to deal with the guilt of choosing incorrectly either.
What Can We Do As Parents?
To help myself make decisions for my children in situations like these, I like to discuss it with my family and friends. I consult coworkers with kids or people that may have been in this situation with their little ones before. But some choices are more personal for our children and not ones that we want to talk about publicly or post all over social media (medical, mental health, etc. are just some of these private things we have to handle more carefully). There should never be anything we are afraid to talk about openly, but when it’s not our OWN problem, it seems more sensitive to discuss our little ones’ issues when they really don’t have a voice in it yet.
So, again, parenting can be stressful. The decisions we make aren’t just for ourselves. We all do what we think is best. Sometimes it works out for our family and sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t quite go as planned, we need to forgive ourselves, ask for help, and try again with our new knowledge to guide us down a different path. And we need to be OK with whatever decision we originally chose too, because we truly did it with the best of intentions, even if it didn’t quite work out in the end as we’d hoped. None of us are perfect, and sometimes that’s actually the best lesson we can show our children, in order to help them grow into the wonderful young people they were meant to be.