I Naively Believed Parenting Would be Easy

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By Melissa Ford

Coach - Personal & Business

A little over 20 years ago, I confidently began parenting my son and daughter with no idea what was in store for me, except I naively believed parenting would be easy.  Really, how hard could it be?  Didn’t I know just about everything I needed to know?  

Some of my parenting moments were beautiful, others were darn right ugly.  Luckily for me, many of the latter ones were in the privacy of our home.  Oh, the beautiful ones I wanted to share with friends, family, and all the readers of Parent Magazine.  The unpleasant ones?  They spurred me on to reach out to friends, family, other parents, and experts to acquire those pearls of wisdom I needed in order to be a more effective parent.  After a couple of decades of on-the-job training, I learned:   

  • It's important to be clear about my values so I can decide when to be flexible and when to stand strong.  
  • My best parenting comes from trusting my gut.
  • My love is more powerful than my anger.
  • If I’m kind to myself when I make a mistake, I teach my child self-acceptance and self-love.
  • If I look for the good in my children rather than dissect their flaws, I can love them and guide them with greater ease.  
  • My children are my greatest teachers regardless of their age.  Learning from them has actually made us closer.    

What pearls of wisdom have you learned on the job?  If you share, then we all learn together!    


Email: melissa@empoweredcoachingsolutions.com

Reader Comments

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Violet Aura  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 11:18 AM

One thing has struck me these days regarding young children (under age six). I will be sitting in a coffee house and hear a parents ask a toddler what s/he wants to eat. Inevitably, the child gets very anxious and freaks out. It amazes me how many parents don't get that child that young cannot be given such open-ended choices, even on a seemingly unimportant item. They are actually comforted by boundaries and parents who take charge. When they are older? Gradual freedom. But come on, people!

Molly from Oak Park  

Posted: November 18th, 2010 9:44 AM

I agree, parenting is a slippery slope...trying to maintain the balance between being present and engaged with your kids and fostering their independence is tricky. As mine grow into teens, I try to listen, support their interests, and know their friends. Maintaining a sense of humor helps a great deal, too!

Karen Alanis from Oak Park  

Posted: November 18th, 2010 7:07 AM

As my youngest finishes high school and I look back, I realize that I most regret the times that I reacted strongly to my children and their actions - over-reacted they might say. I never regretted the times that I waited to think and reflect before I responded to them.

Maureen Spielman from River Forest  

Posted: November 17th, 2010 7:10 PM

I, too, believe that not being afraid to say you are sorry when you act unreasonable teaches our kids so much. Instead of acting as if the bigger, stronger person is always right it levels the playing field a bit - which it seems like kids really respond to. I know there is a lot of parenting territory ahead and we do it all without a road map. Appreciating that each family is different is so valuable, too.

Teresa Frisbie from Oak Park  

Posted: November 17th, 2010 10:04 AM

This is so true. I think I have learned the most from my children when I do the best thing a parent can do -- really listen to them. Easy to preach, hard to live by!

Susan Lucci from River Forest  

Posted: November 17th, 2010 10:01 AM

I'm with you, Melissa! I, too, hopped aboard the parenting express thinking that because I loved kids (especially babies)I could do this well! 14 years later all I can say is parenting takes every ounce of patience, forgiveness and energy I have. As my trio turns teen, parenting is harder than ever. My pearls: keep the communication lines open and find some wise mentors and parents who share your values to cheer you on when the going gets tough and provide creative options when you're tapped out

Katie Callaghan from Chicago  

Posted: November 17th, 2010 9:57 AM

This is how I felt! I thought I knew it all, and then when I had my children I realized that I really didn't know what I thought I knew. Being a parent has helped me forgive all those "transgressions" I blamed my parents for, and has been down right humbling. I love the statement "your love is more powerful than your anger". So true!!!

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