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The Parental Learning Curve

The most important job any adult will ever have is Parent. Just as there is a steep learning curve for each of us when we assume a new career, the learning curve faced by adults who become parents can feel as steep as climbing a mountain.

The role of a parent changes as children grow and develop. Just as quickly as a new parent’s skill is mastered, it seems to become obsolete. When one becomes distracted by demands of work, marriage, or daily living, or is unprepared for this rapidly shifting landscape of parenthood, challenges of parenting can prove overwhelming.

Overburdened parents may occasionally forget that developing children continually re-learn the evolving rules and flexible social boundaries that define the family’s identity. Testing rules and challenging authority are natural parts of youth development.

Stressed out parents may resort to old patterns of interaction between adults and youth that were modeled by their own parents, sometimes in unhealthy or harmful ways. Ask any parent and each will have a bucketful of “regrets” when thinking about their own parenting behaviors.

The good news is that children are resilient. When youth sense sincerity in the parent’s love for them, and see actual changes in how the parent approaches similar situations, painful interactions can be examined, forgiven, and healing can occur.

Today, I will strive to be the Parent that I want my children to respect and love. I will approach my regrets with sincerity and take the steps necessary to begin healing relationships that I may have damaged unintentionally.

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