Parenting today has become an all-consuming exercise. It taxes our physical energy, our emotional energy, challenges our social lives, and insists on dredging up our pasts. We feel pressured to go along with the crowd but judged no matter what we do. We’re supposed to love every minute but then we see a touching meme on social media reminding us it’s okay to have a rough day. But too many rough days in a row and some nosy neighbor may need to call DCFS because, after all, they’re just looking out for the children. Never mind what might happen to children whose parents are suddenly under suspicion for daring to make an independent parenting decision. Parents live in a world of mixed messages and hidden threats, and yet through it all we’re somehow supposed to muster the courage, clarity, and gumption to parent well.
We live in a day and age where being a parent isn’t a title, it’s an identity. And because it’s an identity, there’s a lot riding on how our kids turn out—how well they represent us. If “mother” is not only what I do, it’s who I am, then it’s pretty easy to feel the pressure to make sure my kids represent me well. It’s pretty easy to think that how my kids look, how tidy they appear, how polite they are, how well they behave, is a measure of my very worth.
You see how this can be a troubling scenario of our times?
Far too many parents today spend a great deal of time and energy worrying. But what makes today’s parents different than generations past is that the worry of today’s parents is not primarily focused on their children. Today’s parents aren’t worrying about kids the way parents used to—about their son’s bad grades or their daughters’ preoccupation with boys. More and more what today’s parents are worrying about is how those grades or those attitudes reflect back on them, the parent. Because when we as a culture turn parenting into an identity instead of a responsibility, we pave the way for parents to focus more on their own need for validation than on their kids’ need for wise and Godly guidance.
Far too many parents place their own value on their children’s shoulders, and we’re seeing the devastating results all around us. We see parents riddled with insecurity so they don’t know how to say “no” to their children, set appropriate boundaries, or inspire appropriate expectations of manners or excellence. We see parents consumed by self-condemnation who don’t know how to reach out for a helping hand because to admit our kids aren’t perfect is to admit we are inadequate, and we don’t know how to live with that. We see parents isolated, hiding behind careers or volunteerism or good deeds or social media profiles because in an effort to prove their self-reliance they have become cut off from the vital source of strength and vitality that is vibrant community with other people.
We are a culture in which parents share perhaps the most universal of all experiences from all times and all places—the raising up the next generation—and yet we do it each alone, separated by a wave and a nod and a closed garage door. Many are separated even from their own spouses, parenting in isolation in their own homes alongside a husband or wife who feels just as inadequate and lonely.
We live in a culture where parents need help more than ever.
Can you feel the pressure? Have you lost who you are to become your kids’ parent? Parent coaching can help you find yourself again. You are more than a parent—a nurturer, a provider, a chauffeur, a chef, a housecleaner, a laundromat, a tutor, a mentor—as vital and beautiful as all those things are. You are also yourself, plain and simple, with kids or without; you are who you are. Discover yourself again through coaching and let your kids meet you for the first time. Contact me today for your free consultation. There’s someone I’d like to introduce you to—it’s you.