My Kids are Driving Me Crazy: Advice for Young Parents.
If it can happen, odds are good that I’ve experienced it. Two marriages, six daughters, and more than 20 different pets. I know the plight of parenthood. I am still paying the tax of raising these little bundles of joy that grow up to be cash-guzzling, life-changing beasts of selfishness, only to return to awesome children, once grown and college educated. Educated to the degree that their world of knowledge now includes the terrifying facts that you have to pay for electricity, cut your own grass, fill your own tank, and pay for your favorite Starbucks latte.
But now that my little rant is over, I look back at life with babies, elementary age darlings, middle school awkwardness, high school sarcasm, college certainty, young adult angst, and parental karma and think about the billions of great times I’ve had as a dad! I love our girls and would do anything for them. They have been so much fun that being a grandparent is, even more fun than I could have hoped for! I’ve discovered that young parents ask for and need advice from those of us that have been in the trenches. So here you go. My top 3 pieces of advice for young mom and dads.
- It really is just a season. Raising children is simply enjoying, and often enduring one season that will lead to the next season. Don’t lose sight that this is an ultra-distance marathon, not a casual jog through the park. When you think that you cannot be more tired, you can be…and you will be. It’s a season. From diapers to leaving for school, and high school graduation to holding their children, it is life from season to season. Just like the cold of winter will relinquish its grip on the flowers and make way for green grass and baseball, your little one will move from this present season to the next and your role will mature along with theirs. Stop and be grateful that you were chosen to lead this gift from the Divine into a life filled with joy and safety. I’d do it all over again if I could have my 25-year-old strength back!
- Allow our children to grow into the little person the Divine made them to be. The gift of children isn’t a mulligan for our lives. We are now caretakers and stewards to help them grow and think and live as they were created to live, not as we wish that we would have. If you were an athlete and your kid is a chess player, celebrate that! If you were a Rhodes Scholar and your kid wants to write screenplays, celebrate that! Your best parenting will result in three things. 1) Your kid choosing Jesus as their Savior, 2) Your kid knowing that you always had their back. And 3) Your kid discovering the life plan the Divine set for them…even if it is nothing likes yours!
- Be a parent, not a buddy. Buddies come and go throughout childhood and adolescence. I guarantee you that your children do not need another buddy, but they most definitely need a parent. The difference is that a parent will serve them what they need, not tell them what they want to hear. A parent will hold them to a higher standard than any buddy ever will. A buddy might become a closer confidant, but a parent will be the first call when their hearts need repairing. Buddies are fickle and change with the seasons. Parents remain every child’s rock, even when they realize that their parent isn’t perfect.