I Hope I'm a Good Parent

I'm thinking a lot about my girls today, probably because one of them is home sick and the other is in trouble. No, I'm not going to get into detail or tell you who is doing what. That's just what's put them on my mind. It's not what's at the crux, (WOTD) of the matter.

In my first post here almost one year ago, I talked about how important it is to me to be a good Daddy, a good parent. It's a question I come back to often.

I made three promises to myself when I became a parent.

1. I will love my children unconditionally.
2. I will never say, "Because I said so."
3. I will tell my children when I am wrong, correct my mistake and ask for their forgiveness.

The first promise is, or at least should be an obvious thing for every parent to do - at least I hope so. Parents who cannot do this should not be parents in my opinion period.

The second promise... well it is, as they say a lot easier said than done. Still, I've found that more often than not I've been able to be creative, think outside the box and give at least viable reasons for doing things, and making or justifying decisions about my daughters.

The third promise is very important to me. I tell my girls all the time that I am learning this as I go along and it's not like they came with a book or a manual telling us "how to." (Various descriptions of said literature perhaps arriving / flying out of Netter after the girls were born have sometimes caused fits of laughter.)

I try to make sure they know that I remember what it was like to be a child, and then a teenager and that while I will always make decisions regarding them from my adult perspective I will also try to take into consideration how they might be affected, and perhaps more importantly - sometimes anyway - how they will feel.

I'll admit I try to be the fun Daddy. I give when I'm sometimes not sure that I should, and I abstain from decision making when I know that my "Daddyness" is kicking in "just because." Thankfully Netter is an awesome Mommy who does very well, probably better without me being involved.

I've told my girls that I know I can sometimes be an idiot for no particularly good reason, given to bouts of yelling and arm flailing that have no earthly explanation, but I will steer clear of them when these things take hold, and I will never harm them, ever.

Secretly I think both girls enjoy my fits as D does a fairly good imitation of my arm flailing and I have seen K's smile from my periphery as she smirks and surely thinks; "Ah, what a fool."

Or maybe not - I think the yell is more effective than that.

I know both girls take it to heart when I yell at them, and I can likely count on one, maybe two hands the number of times I have had to punish them beyond my yell. I was never a big believer in spanking, and I don't do grounding except in extreme circumstances.

I think I'm very lucky to be able to simply raise my voice to be effective, or at least effective in my own mind anyway eh?

We've made our way fairly well so far. At least I'd like to hope so. I still don't have a manual and we certainly don't get a grade card, at least not for a few years anyway.

In a little over two months both D and K will be teenagers, and we are quickly finding out that there are new challenges, new obstacles in our collective paths.

Being a teenager is no easy task, and it doesn't get easier as you go.

I love you girls, and I'll keep trying to do my best.



Julie said...

Although I didn't promise myself these these same things--they are key parts to how I approach being a parent.

#1 is easy. Even when they drive me nuts, I will always love my kids. They are great kids, so it's pretty easy.

#2 can be hard sometimes. And I've said it before. But usually it's after I have given a reason and they just didn't like the answer. Rick and I usually try to explain where we are coming from when we doing the parenting thing. I bet you've noticed that it leads to lots of questioning of authority--or challenging the "whys" of it all. Although it's irritating at times, I think this is a good thing. My kids don't blindly follow, they evaluate.

#3 is usually easier for me than I would have thought--not always. I would own up to my mistakes and apologize to everyone else in the world, why wouldn't I do that with my kids? I am astounded by the number of parents who don't admit mistakes or apologize to their kids. If it was their boss, they would. Why wouldn't you give your kids more courtesy than your boss?

So anyway, I get where you are coming from. Living by these promises can be trying at times, but I think we are better parents and our kids are better people as a result. Our girls know that no matter what, they will be loved. This gives them room to make mistakes and not get freaked out. They know that there is a reason behind what we do. And if we can't support that reason, then maybe we shouldn't be doing it. And the girls learn that nobody is perfect. When we screw up, take ownership, learn from it, and move on. And if someone is impacted by it, let them know you are sorry. What's not to love about that last line?

You are a great Dad. It shows by what great kids you have raised.

Cammie said...

as someone who grew up without a father in her house, and now does not have one period....you sound like a great dad to me....

One of my old favorite sayings.....anyone can be a father but it takes a special man to be a daddy.....

Jim Brochowski said...

I'd like to think I'm a good Dad, but sometimes I think I'm a little too soft.

Being a kid and a teenager can be really brutal at times, I just hope to minimize the damage - maybe, and have my girls know I'm always here for them no matter what.

Thanks Julie and Cammie for sharing your thoughts. It means a lot.