The Most Frightening Lesson
4. ‘You Can’t Be With Them 24/7.’
This is challenging because you have to hope that you’ve equipped your kids to make good, safe decisions when you’re not around—especially in the face of potentially negative influences that are close to your children.
Parents need to establish internal behavioral boundaries for their kids using love and consistent discipline.
Pressure testing their decision-making skills in small areas (e.g. clothing selections, food choices, time management … etc.), and letting them deal with the consequences of those decisions, will help them fine-tune those decision-making abilities when they’re older and the stakes are higher—such as whether or not they should get into a car with someone who’s been drinking alcohol after a party.
The Saddest Lesson
5. ‘You’ll Have to Let Them Go.’
Personally speaking, this is by far the most difficult lesson for me to grapple with as the father of two daughters and a toddler son. Our oldest is currently 13 years old, but in three short years, she’ll be driving a car, then attending prom, then leaving for college, and so on.
The painful irony is that when you’re really engaged, loving, and committed to your kids—you tend to manage yourself out of the parenting role.
I want all of my kids to be strong and complete individuals.
Preparing them to be self-sufficient, ultimately prepares them to set out on their own—which is uncomfortable and sad for me as a dad but comes with the territory of being an engaged parent.
It’s worth repeating that being a parent has been the single best experience of my life—filled with laughter, tears, pain, fun and wonderful memories.
The painful irony is that when you’re really engaged, loving, and committed to your kids—you tend to manage yourself out of that role.
Written by Tor Constantino Originally appeared in The Good Men Project