By Melissa Ford
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!