Photo by David Castillo Dominici | FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Elaine Sigal
I have three grown children. I have been an educator for 40 years. I am full of advice and love to share what I know with people. I listen to what they say, find out who they really are and what their values are, and then give my opinion about their children. I think I do this very well – at least, I am often complimented.
Today, I was approached by a dad who needed advice about his 15 year old son. He wanted to confront the child about what he thought were integrity issues. I listened and said, “Choose your battles. Be sure that this is what you really want to fight over. How important are these “breach” issues to you.” Then I offered some other battles that could take place in the future: drinking and driving, stealing, being totally disrespectful. I then said that it is easier to give advice than to receive it. Oh, boy. Was I ever right.
I often did not listen to the advice of others about my own children. After all, didn’t I know more than most of the other advice givers? Maybe, but I needed to separated myself from being the parent to my own child and doing what was actually the best for my child. I finally learned this concept….my oldest will be 34 in April!
Parents: listen to your children and listen to others. Sometimes we just need to step back and hear what others have to say. Listen to those who have been there before – they often have wonderful words of wisdom. Let others step in be the intermediary – sometimes. It helps to have someone else tell your children what they need to hear. Parenting is one of the most difficult jobs available and one that does not come with a preceding degree or an advice manual.
Live each day as a parent and do what you think is right – after you listen to others who have been there before you. Sometimes be brave and let your heart lead you and at other times let your mind tell you what to do. Just know, that you are not in this alone. There are so many people ready and willing to help.
Then, one day, maybe your oldest will say to you, “Mom, you and Dad did a great job. Look at your kids – who could ask for more????” I know that I would not wish to change a thing. Thanks to all of those who helped us raise such wonderful men.