During those sleepless nights as parents, we never saw this person coming out of those troubled times. Nor did we see how close our relationship would be. And though at the time we would have opted out at any given moment, we would not trade any piece of the person she is because of those experiences and I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t either.
When I think back on my life it does appear to be the really hard times that I grew and learned from. That seems to be part of the human condition as a quite I once saw validated: “Pain Instructs”. It also seems to be how we learn to be less judgmental. We only put ourselves in another’s shoes when we’ve had to walk in them ourselves. Like I said, on this journey, Roy and I also learned a great deal and became better people. Roy talked about one such lesson in “How I Learned to Never Judge a Book By It’s Cover.” Below are a few of the tips that we attribute to why things turned out so well for all concerned.
Tips for Parents
- Know your kids. Know who their friends are, where they are, what they are studying in school etc.
- Spend at least 15 minutes a day talking with and focusing only on them, without judgement.
- Give unconditional love. No matter what they do you love them, even if you don’t love their actions.
- When you have to discipline do it out of purpose, not anger.
- Shower your kids with love and acceptance every chance you get.
- Do not yell or use physical violence in any situation. Walk away until you can be calm.
- Do not be condescending. Be as logical as you can. And yes, that’s hard to do.
- Never, ever give up.
Our daughter told us in later years that even when things were at their worst she knew we were there for her. It didn’t matter what she had done she could come to us when she needed too. We were her safe haven. This is not about condoning bad behavior. This is about unconditional love for your child. Some of these kids will experience incredibly harsh aspects of life. Knowing that mom and dad are there no matter what they do, will save them.
Obviously there are some serious dangers depending on what your child is doing. All you can do is the best you can to keep them safe. (Roy used to nail her windows shut so she could not get out at night!) The worst can of course happen. But by far the largest portion of these kids grow up without serious damage. Keep that in mind.