Parenting. When does it begin and when does it end? Does it begin at birth? Does it begin with conception? Does it end at a specific age? Is it the same age for all?
I think parenting begins as soon as you begin to make decisions based on the well-being of your unborn child. A decision to abstain from smoking or alcohol for the health of your child is a parenting decision made months before birth. Parenting involves much self-sacrifice. These sacrifices may be as simple as choosing not to watch certain movies or shows in your child’s presence. Or they may be as challenging as making the one thousand decisions per day regarding care, nurture, discipline, meals, snacks, nutrition, recreation, relationships, scheduling, health, education, babysitters, clothing, baby equipment and furniture, naps, . . . . . this list never ends.
The truth is, parenting is in a constant state of change. The children are growing, aging, and gaining new skills and abilities all the time. Just as we figure out how to handle or resolve one issue, new issues arise. Of course, we want, our children to grow and develop. Therefore our parenting must continually grow and develop.
Some day we may think, “Ah, they are all grown up.” This does not mean our parenting is done. This truly means we are entering a new phase of parenting. It is called Parenting Adult Children. It is very different from parenting babies, toddlers, school-age children or teenagers, and each of those is unique too.
The following quote is from an elderly man who recently has passed away.
“You are not done with your kids till you die.” D.Curry
I liked his words as they express the idea that parenting does not end. It does change. Therefore we must change. And it conveys the message that parenting is highly relational. Parenting is not just an eighteen year commitment. It is a life-long relationship.
Our adult children need us in new ways. They need us to be supportive cheerleaders. They may need us to be a listening ear and sometimes might even ask for advice. They need us to be an unconditionally-loving friend. They need us to be prayer warriors for them. They need us to let them go and allow them to be independent.