There are few things in life that can bring greater joy and yet tremendous sadness all at the same time than being a parent. From the moment that precious and fragile life is laid in a parent’s arms, one falls totally in love and yet also realizes the weight of responsibility that has now been bestowed. Wearing the hat of a parent and mentor while carrying the heart of a parent is a one of the finest balancing wires one will ever have to navigate.
From that first day, the job of parenting never comes to an end. It starts with helping the infant learn to sleep, play and eat in ways that will bring optimal health and well-being. Later, we must teach them how to walk, avoid dangers such as hot objects and stairs and learn how to share and be kind to others. As they get even older, we help them to prepare for learning. There are few things more delightful for a parent’s heart than watching their eyes light up as they experience new things and learn about the world around them.
As tiring and rewarding as their younger years are, there are new challenges and rewards ahead as we walk through their adolescent years. While the diapers, late night feedings and nightmares are fading from our memories, there are new obstacles that must be navigated with our growing child. They are their own person now with their own ideas of how their world should work. They often challenge our authority and question our decisions in a quest for their growing independence.
We strive to guide them safely through these years by being a voice of reason and moderation. We still must set bedtimes and ensure that homework and chores are completed while still being able to have fun and play silly games with them. However, the most difficult days are looming on the horizon as our sweet little ones are rapidly approaching the teen and young adulthood days. This is where we will be put to the test the most. How do we walk that line between being their parent and helping to guide them while also hoping to remain their friend and confidant as much as we are able? Is it even possible to be a friend to our teen offspring? Maybe, for a time at least, it is best to realize that our job as a parent must take precedence during these difficult years. We can still be a sounding board for them when they need advice and are seeking a way through a problem, but during these years, they seem to require guidance more than friendship. They need a strong supporter who can be trusted not to cave when they are tempted to give into decisions that may not serve them well in the future.
Being their friend can cycle back around in time, when they have made it through to their own adulthood and can look back with appreciation for the guidance and support we provided when they needed it more than friendship.
Writer Bio: Angela Mose
I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years. I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia. A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.