Parenting matters. Of course it does. I love being a parent. Last week I celebrated 33 years of mothering…happy birthday Nate! I love teaching parenting classes but I struggle both personally and professionally to keep it in perspective.
First- let’s look at what childhood is like in our country.
Almost half of our country’s kids have experienced at least one or more types of serious childhood trauma. This is the ACE study (Adverse Childhood Experiences) that has been a game changer in how we look at the stress kids are under.
20% of kids in America are food insecure- are at risk of going hungry.
Approximately 60% of kids are considered securely attached.
Ok… I don’t tell you this stuff to make you feel bad.. Honestly I want you to seriously consider how much emotional privilege your child actually has.
As a parent, I often feel guilty about not doing enough. I find myself apologizing for not being good enough. When I look at those statistics I do see that my kids are damned lucky. Lucky to have me, lucky to have the privilege of parents who are intentionally committed to not only their safety and physical needs but to their emotional needs, their psychological well being, and to them working on those things that Maslow would consider “self- actualization”, the top of the pyramid.
I cannot promise my kids a life free of trauma. I cannot protect them from everything. By being emotionally responsive and intentional in parenting, I commit to addressing their need psychological and emotional needs as best I can.
As someone who takes parenting seriously I have to find a way to hold the truth of both what a great job I am doing and my commitment to learning to be the best parent I can be for my kids.
And my kids aren’t special. All kids deserve to be safe and loved and fed. Part of my commitment to them is my commitment to the kids who are growing up around them. They need me even more than my own kids do. And my kids need to see them.
Kids thrive when they are raised with confidence that they are loved and honored and have really freaking awesome parents. Mother guilt, and father guilt give our kids the message that we should be more. Imagine walking around your mansion telling your kids how sorry you are that you don’t have marble floors! Teach your kids that the world’s best parents are human. The world’s best parents struggle, make mistakes and struggle. The world’s best parents still have a lot to learn. And then…make sure they know how great it is to be raised by the world’s best parents.