Yes, I went and did it, I used he “O” word. No, not “Oprah”…“Old”. Old seems like it would be a derogatory description, but honestly it doesn’t have to be, it can be a badge of honor.
Parenting wisdom is attained through maturation, trial and error and countless other components. It is staggering what important parental lessons I have learned over the past 27 years.
In my twenties I couldn’t relate to anyone much older than 32. In my 30’s, I liked “older” women, but didn’t have many friends in that age group. Now that I am in my 50’s I have fantastic, cherished friends in their 30’s and 40’s and of course my own age.
I used to dread getting older, but what I was too young to know is that with each passing year, I get wiser. Wow, wisdom is a powerful thing. It’s actually quite empowering to know everything. I am just kidding, I don’t know every thing, but through experience, I have learned that I am a great mom and along with my husband of 30 years, have raised two amazing adults, Alexandra 27 and Nicholas 22. I truly believe that receiving any parenting wisdom from an “older” mom can be quite helpful.
Nothing is perfection, although I tried very hard to achieve that in my young days of motherhood. Which now looking back I wish I hadn’t thought was so important. Recently, my lovely young friend who has adorable kindergarten twins, asked me what I thought was the secret to raising great kids. I needed some time to contemplate that one, however she was looking at me with her large inquisitive eyes for an answer. The first thought that came to my mind was pay attention.
Always be paying attention, don’t take your eye off the target. Even if you think the children aren’t paying attention to you, they absolutely notice when you are not paying attention to them. Don’t be guilty by dispassion and a crazy schedule. Your kids need to always know that you care. By listening, understanding and remembering what is happening in their all-important world, they feel comfort and security in knowing that you are aware and willing to help.
Caring leads to consequences and then your children realize that they need to do the right things like no cheating, lying or misbehaving. If Mom is paying attention they think “I don’t want to get in trouble” or “I want her to be proud of me”.
Another necessity to successful parenting is communication. It is actually an important skill to use in any relationship at any age. Listening and talking with your kids about everything (that they will talk about), will assist in solving many issues and solidify trust.
When your kids get comfortable with communicating with you about their activities and challenges, as well as their triumphs, it becomes a habit. When they are older they will want to tell you what is happening in their world and will look forward to it.
I am sharing this advice in broad terms, not specific ones and I am indeed generalizing about the ups and downs of parenthood. The right answer for one child may not be right for another. Even siblings need different parenting philosophies at times.
However, we need to start somewhere, right? I would love to see younger moms listen to the advice of “older” moms and ask questions. The wheel does not necessarily need to be reinvented every time. Take the sage advice from someone who has already lived through what you are experiencing, and most likely more than once.
To be clear, young moms are amazing! They are enthusiastic, creative, confident, supportive, multi-taskers that are successful parents. However, occasionally, there are situations that arise where there is just no substitute for experience.
With age brings wisdom and good parenting flourishes when we are open to outside influences and want to learn more about our craft. Parenting is an occupation (one of our many jobs), a specialty skill that always needs honing and always further education.
Believe it or not young moms, I still offer a great deal of parental advice to my grown kids and surprisingly enough your kids don’t stop needing you when they learn to drive, or go to college or even after they graduate.
I love them and worry about them the same way I did when they were in 3rd grade. The problems and situations are different, but the love and understanding is the same. Even now that our kids are adults, we still parent, but now we seem to wait in the wings until they ask. Always paying attention… it still works today.
Additionally, it is a great idea to start building trust when your kids are young, it will help to make the teenage years so much more bearable, however that challenging subject is for another day.