Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Raising an Adult

Last night I was invited to film a presentation by an expert on parenting. Her talk was attended by parents with problematic issues in dealing with their kids, mostly between the ages of 2-21 years.

Along with oodles of insight on how to govern the household with a compassionate yet firm hand, this wise woman made an interesting comment: "You are not raising children, you are raising adults..." (if they or you are lucky enough to survive the passage of time).

This struck me as a profound way of looking at parenting. From the very conception of a child, a "present" parent's every motive is to build their offspring's character, develop his or her skill set, and support an entire spectrum of behaviors that will serve the being in good stead when adulthood arrives - ostensibly when the grown child will need good survival skills.

When a chargling falters in school, exhibits antisocial attitudes, behaves recklessly, acts unkind and/or has disregard for the environment, why do we parents worry so much?

Because - we are afraid they will forever be stuck in childhood patterns that could create mega-problems down the road. No one initially (or ever) receives training on effective parenting, and many do the very thing that will ensure a maladjusted adult, i.e. beating a child into submission or other draconian measures. Or conversely, overindulgent, wimpy parents might foster little narcissists who become big narcissists that think the world revolves around their every whim.

Since many of us are confused adults or at least highly opinionated ones, parenting becomes quite the sticky wicket. 

We require public schooling, driver's license tests, and certifications for all sorts of professions. Yet, anyone can let loose a sperm to meet an egg and voila!. A child is born with no pre-requisite training for the parent-to-be.

Who invented this crazy system?

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