After consistently bitching about mine – publicly, privately and simply in my head – I’ve decided to conjure up a list of a few important things that make a parent.
1. Be Understanding. Being understanding means listening to your child and trying to put yourself in their shoes, rather than bringing up your own problems – which you always seem to have so many of – and making him feel bad. If you do that enough, as my mother has, your child will grow immune to it and you’ll be raising someone like me – someone who bitches about your bitching. Please… I beg you not to do it. Guilt trips are fine as long as he is done properly and at the right time(s). Also, if you aren’t understanding, your child will tell you nothing. Children are supposed to trust their parents and feel comfortable telling them things. I can’t even tell my mother that my dad and I are eating supper at my sister’s because she starts bitching about my party. Then she wonders why I never tell her anything.
2. Be Loving and Accepting. Times are changing. Fads and fashions and music styles are changing more than ever. You probably won’t like most of the things your child is into – his music, TV shows, dress styles (and if he dress like little sluts, you do need to help him), and so on, but he are who he are and you won’t change him. You, along with society and his friends, have shaped him. Still, he is your child. If he was gay and you didn’t support homosexuals, would your child change your mind? I’d truly hope so. Love, accept, and trust your child as much as you can. Let him decide for himself and don’t get mad at him for expressing himself in a way that you don’t understand.
3. Give Guidance. There’s a difference between giving guidance and turning your child completely helpless. In psychology, the best way to deal with “Terrible Two’s” is to give them choices because that’s when they start making decisions. Don’t just stop there; give your toddlers, kids, and even teenagers options. As kids get older, things change and new situations arise. Just because they go to school and get good grades doesn’t mean they’ll get an A in life. Even adults need guidance. Also, don’t expect him to know everything just because he watches you because he doesn’t. He watches you because he wants to learn, and hands-on is the best way.
4. Trust. Yes, it’s a big word and hard to do but teenagers need trust. I live in a small town where everyone is a drunk – or an elderly [Christian] – and am never home alone more than a few hours. I mean, someone might leave their backyard or the bar because they know I’m home alone – which is more important than beer. But you really gotta watch out for those Christians! They might come preach to you and make you a better person! If you don’t trust your child, they probably won’t trust you (again relating back to the first point), and it’ll just anger them.
Finally, a few miscellaneous points. Don’t use the small things, “I feed you,” or “I put a roof over your head,” as threats because other relatives and his friends’ parents could do the same thing. Put-downs never lead to anything good. You might think it leads to determination to be better, but it doesn’t. It leads to giving up. Telling them who to be or what to do will only make them rebel more, and be less the person you want. Life’s short, but there’s time to live and learn. You didn’t find yourself overnight, so don’t expect that from your child. And if he thinks he knows who he is, support him. Be realistic with him, but be supportive. Lastly, don't promote society's standards and expectations, otherwise your son or daughter will end up on MTV - not playing music.