How to Parent Your Kids So They Turn Out Right

My LovesThis post could also be titled– Parenting: The Biggest Gamble of All

You may need a cocktail if you are in the early years of parenting and still believe all the advice, books, and blogs work like science. Just add positive reinforcement to reasonable boundaries with plenty of love and church equals productive moral perfect children.

And if you got great adults from the kids you raised, enjoy, but be wary of how much credit you take.

Now, OF COURSE, parenting matters. OF COURSE there are right things to do and wrong things to do. Let’s not get pedantic about it.

But parenting is not a science. There are no guarantees. It’s a crap shoot.

You do the best you can. You have your good days and your bad days. You go for consistency. And you change when that doesn’t work. You seek help when you need it. You ignore the bad advice and follow your gut. You call your child on their bullshit. You stick up for your child so they know you’re always on their side. You encourage your child’s interests and talents. You don’t push your child too hard. It’s exhausting.

And STILL, they may not turn out “right”. They may reject everything you taught them. They may reject just a little, but it might be an important little. Often it seems they have to learn the hard way- even though you thought the whole point of YOU learning things the hard way was to save your kids from the same.

They may turn out so badly they break your heart into jagged pieces that stick in your throat every time you try to breathe. Sometimes, the apple DOES fall far from the tree.

The only experts I am willing to listen to are parents who have launched their kids and the kids flew, or only bounced on the runway a few times. But even those parents you have to watch out for. One told me how the great friends their child had was the biggee. I said something to the adult child and was told they did shots of vodka together during the parent-approved study sessions!

But most parents who have gotten the kids launched well have told me: We did the best we could. That’s all you can do.

To paraphrase from a movie, “It’ll be okay in the end. And if it’s not okay? It’s not the end.”

I’m not done parenting. So I’m not an expert. But I know that Gorgeous Gal is making her way and she is amazing. And I know I didn’t make that happen. I see glimpses of what I did and it’s nice, but there’s plenty that I can’t take credit for. It does seems she’s taken the best parts of what I did, which is comforting. God’s grace is good. It really is, but grace from your child is too.

I find myself  awed. Proud.

Relieved.

They tell you it’s 18 years, but it’s not.

It. Will. Never. End.

Good thing the experts don’t tell you that in the beginning.