We have recently undergone some pretty heavy teen drama and bad attitude around the Miller household. Which naturally has led to a lot of fighting, disrespect, and anger/sadness. This is not to say it has all been doom and gloom but more a white elephant of contention. My oldest Vanessa has been acting out a lot in the form of general sassiness and “not-caring” which is not new for teens. IT IS, however, different for her. I have witnessed her go from a loving and laughing kid to a miserable and hedgehog-like tween not wanting anything to do with anyone or anything.
What this has led to from my end is a range of wild emotions from rage to sadness. I want her to understand so much more than she can comprehend. I wish she would see how her actions/words affect the world and those around her. However, this is a lost cause given the narrow-mindedness we all go through as teens when we are discovering ourselves and our personalities.
I had this idea from my own upbringing about losing interest and care for a child. I am sure this is something that can only happen between step-parents or even adoptive parents. I expressed my concern with Megan regarding this growing lack of care which she pointed out is driving a further wedge between her and my other kids (Hayden and Kaitlyn). This could be for a few reasons, shortened temper, deep sighing, loss in affection and I am sure much more. However, this hit me particularly hard after we finished talking. Just like my tween I too had forgotten how far reaching my actions and words reach. Same can be said with my own emotion.
This new-found emotion that is coming from parenting is something I am not used to. I pride myself on being able to stay neutral in almost any scenario. However recently this has not been the case within my own family. I have tried to wrap my brain around how I grew up and how Megan grew up and what made us tick and act the way we did when we were her age. Then “WHAM” just like before Megan provided some great insight regarding her lack of a mother figure growing up and how she is torn with how to parent because she never had that. I had my own challenges as well but nothing to bitch about. This led to the epiphany that while our past experiences are not meaningless they don’t hold a ton of weight with my kid’s now-days. The way I handled stress back then is different from how Megan dealt with stress when she was a kid and the same is true for my kids today. The same can be said for our parenting scenarios I had a mother and an adoptive father, Megan had an adoptive father and lost her mother when she was young. While our kids have 4-5 parents (Me, Megan, Her Ex, and the Ex’s Parents) in their life pushing and pulling trying to help shape our kids in their own image and own way in order to be a good adult.
All of this realization has led me to understand that I as a parent need to live in the now. Trying to relive the past to understand how to shape the future is not always best. This is something I have to work on within myself to make sure I keep myself grounded for my family and our future. As I am sure any parent would express this is not always easy which is why I am putting it in writing so my thoughts can be conscious and coherent and without second guessing.
Parenting as a Choice not a Right
I know that many will disagree with the statement above about parenting being a choice and not a right. The frank reality as I see it, is that parents have become entitled in their parenting duties. I mean this in the sense that parenting has now days become a chore to many parents who feel they should receive recognition for doing the bare minimum.
Parenting is a Life-Time Commitment
A good example of this would be always being there for your child whether good or bad. To be perfectly fair I have the attitude of if you teach your children well enough they will want to do better in turn. The saying “give a man a fish and he can eat for a night, teach him how to fish and he can eat for a lifetime” is a perfect example of this. If you teach your children the right values and beliefs they will in turn practice and continue to teach those principles. Simply put if you look at parenting as a life-long commitment it will spur the drive to help teach your children to become independent and successful.
Trust and Respect Make Strong Families
When it comes to the question of “how can we make our children successful” I provide the metrics of trust and respect. These values are similar in thought but ultimately are different in reality.
In regards to trust this a personal measurement for how much you would trust your child given extreme scenarios. As an example pose the question “could my child handle watching a younger sibling” dependent on your initial reaction you can gauge your trust with your child. If you immediately say “oh yeah, no problem” chances are trust is high with the child. If your reaction is something to the effect of “no that wouldn’t work” or “probably wouldn’t be the best idea” then you child may be lacking trust. Naturally trust is impacted by the child’s age, which is a strong baseline that you children must pass through.
If you can instill some of the values above I can promise a happier and healthier family. Not only because they are good practical sense but also because I live my life by these rules and can attest first hand they work. Changing how a parent perceives the responsibility of parenting can help create a sense of love and patience when dealing with children. This coupled with the understanding that 1 day is a very small portion of the lifelong commitment with a child can also help with patience and love. It will also help you create a strong foundation with your children to ensure a strong relationship in the long run. While trust and respect can help you measure and examine your children objectively. Which in turn will allow you the help shape and guide your children as they grow up. All of these factors working together dynamically can create a thriving family.
After discussing this with my wife we have decided to make some major changes as a family. We have made some big changes to how we shop and work our weeks/nights. I must admit that my wife has been a huge motivator on this life-style change. She has kicked ass when it comes to not making excuses and simply doing what needs to be done. So being the man I am I cannot very well let her best me and have decided cut the bull-shit and just get it done. Because of my new found slogan I have set a few rules that I will be perusing from here on out.
Goals for 2015
So there it is, bring it on 2015 so we can GET IT DONE
A father to 3 amazing kids Hayden, Kaitlyn, and Vanessa . I am happily married to Megan Miller (@Megan_Bethann) and we live in Pleasant Grove Utah.
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