When you make the decision to have a child, it is a lifelong commitment.
Of course, there are different stages. As an infant, your child is 100% dependent on you. The child see’s the parent as their whole world.
Of course, this will change. They will become more independent, but they will still need you. What’s important is that your child knows that you love them, no matter what. This means they need your time. This is the best gift you can give them.
It’s easy to get caught up in all of your other responsibilities, but they will always be there. Your child will grow up fast, so, spend as much time with your child as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to give up yourself in the process, but it does mean that your priorities will change.
Here are 8 benefits, for you and your child when you make it a lifelong commitment:
- You will always feel emotionally connected to your child. This is an important one. This is not only good for you, it is good for your child. You want your child to feel safe telling you anything. You do this by loving your child and accepting your child for who they are.
- Your child will always need you. In the beginning, this one is obvious. But, after a while your child will have a hard admitting this. As human beings, we all want to be independent. But, it can feel scary. This means, you will need to let your child make mistakes and learn from them. This will actually help them feel more confident as they get older.
- You will always be your child’s rock. Children are born relying on their parents. They can’t walk, talk, eat or bathe on their own. They learn very quickly that they can rely on you. That’s alright, in the beginning. When a child knows the parent has their back, they will grow up to be more self assured and confident. So, you want to be the rock in their life. As they get older, and move out they will still need you. Make sure to keep in touch, and let your child know you are there for them. Even, if they don’t take you up on it, they will feel better knowing that you offered.
- You will get to see your investment pay off. Let’s face it, you have made a big investment in your child. You have been there for your child from the beginning. Maybe, you have given your child the life you didn’t have as a child. Now, that your child is an adult, you get to reap the rewards. They don’t have to be exactly like you. Embrace your differences with your child. This is known as accepting influence from you child. This is a great way to gain their trust.
- You are your child’s role model. This means from the beginning to the end. I think back to how my parents were when I was a child, and how they are now that I’m an adult. They have changed so much. It’s actually been great to witness. Now that they are older they have slowed down. They are no longer in a rush. They will always be a role model to me no matter what.
- Your child deserves your commitment. This doesn’t mean that they have to rely on you for everything. They need to get out there, and try out their own ideas. Even, if they fail their is a learning process. I have to admit, I’ve learned some of my best lessons through failure. I also learned that you can get back up, and try again.
- No, two children are alike. If you have more than one child, then you probably already know this. Make sure you respect your children’s differences. One may enjoy sports, while the other likes painting. Don’t compare your children to one another. This will make your children feel anxious and cause resentment. We all have our differences. We really aren’t meant to be alike.
- Now that your child is grown, you get to focus on yourself. You are still there for your child, until the end. But, now it’s time to take that vacation you have always wanted to take. You get to invite your friends over for dinner. Go to see your favorite bands in concert. Shop to your heart’s content. And, whatever else you have been putting on the backburner as a parent. Sleep in and spend more time at the gym. You also get to do this guilt free.
There are many highs and lows when raising a child. Parenting is not a quick stop. You need to be in it for the long haul. Parenting is one of the biggest responsibilities you can have. You are responsible for another human being, and it needs to be taken seriously.
One of the biggest mistakes I see parents make, is they put themselves last. After a while, they start to feel burned out and even resentful. Your child needs an emotionally healthy parent. If you are starting to feel the burn, here are 5 tips to help parents take care of themselves:
- Sleeping isn’t an option, it’s a requirement. All too often, you put sleep at the bottom of your priority list. Your body needs sleep to recharge. Your brain can’t function when you don’t have enough rest. Start to get into a routine of going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time.
- Self-care does include having regular check-ups. This may sound small or simple, but it does make a big difference. Make sure you have a check-up every year with your doctor. I’m surprised how often I hear people aren’t doing this. Studies have shown you will live a healthier and longer life by visiting your doctor regularly. Please don’t tell me you don’t have enough time. It doesn’t take that long and you are worth it.
- You don’t have to do anything. We all know the importance of self-care, but yet don’t have a regular routine for it. People talk about going to yoga classes, getting massages and eating healthy. These are all great things, but the truth is you don’t have to do anything. Take a day off, everyone will be alright.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Remember when you were a child. You laughed all the time. Children can play and laugh all day, if you let them. The next time you have a chance, watch children playing on the playground. They are running around having a good time with their friends. Adults take life very seriously, and forget to laugh. Laughter is good for you. It helps relieve stress and headaches. When was the last time you had a good belly laugh? If you can’t remember, then it’s been too long. Watch your favorite comedy. Spend time with friends and family, that you can really let your hair down with.
- What is, is. Learn to breathe and let go. Sometimes, you have to accept things how they are. You need to stop pushing. Stop trying to wade upstream at high tide. If you don’t stop, you will exhaust yourself. This can lead to burnout. You can’t go back and you can’t predict the future. This means you can’t control everything. When you learn to let go, you will feel better about yourself. Your family will notice and appreciate this.
This also means you don’t want to beat yourself up as a parent. I always say, ‘All good parents make mistakes.’ Think of a family that you know that you feel has it all together. Can you think of at least one mistake the parents have made? You should of said yes. That’s because they are human, just like you.
It’s interesting most parents that I meet are harder on themselves, than they are other parents. The next time you want to beat yourself up for a mistake you made, think of what you would tell another parent that made the same mistake. Maybe, it’s something like we’ve all done that. Or, you will get through it. Now, tell yourself the same thing.
By doing this you are starting to rewire your brain. After a while, you will feel much better. You won’t be prone to beat yourself up every time you make a mistake. Research has found, that you only need to get it right as a parent 40% of the time.
If you liked, Why Raising A Child Is A Lifelong Commitment? There are more parenting tips in, Raising Healthy, Happy Kids.
I’m Lianne Avila, a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Mateo, CA. I have worked with many families, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I have helped parents become emotionally closer to their children. You can sign up for my free newsletter, and receive free weekly advice on parenting, relationships and stress reduction. You can call (650) 892-0357 or email [email protected], to learn more about the services I provide.