What do we value most in life: moment-to-moment enjoyment or the longer-term rewards and pleasure of a meaningful undertaking? Of course, we value the meaningful undertaking, and that’s what we signed up for with parenting-the most joyful and frustrating job in the world.
Parenting is immeasurably rewarding over time, but from a moment-to-moment perspective, it’s often more frustrating than happy. The every-once-in-awhile experiences of “I love you, Mom,” the glow of accomplishments, fun times together…well, that’s joy of the highest order.
After watching all of this played out in front of me through the lives of over 2,500 kids and families for the last forty years, I’ve got one thing to say on Parents’ Day (7/25/10):
Thank you, thank you, parents, for continually working to unleash your love and putting up with the daily frustration.
It’s hard to describe what it’s like to see this unconditional love being transformed into a kid’s feeling lovable.
Warren Buffett said it all recently: There is no power on earth like unconditional love. And I think that if you offered that to your child….you’re 90 percent of the way home (July 7, 2010 Huffington Post).
As a way to celebrate your parenthood, here are four tips that will make your day-to-day parenting a little less frustrating:
- Work toward your kid feeling understood and accepted (unconditional love) — “I’m lovable” — even during discipline. Video games, vacations, and soccer are great, but your kid feeling accepted and understood, that’s the keeper.
- Agree on parenting approaches with your spouse. (Forty percent of parents’ arguments are about kids.)
- Take adequate time for yourself and your spouse. (It’s good for your kids to witness.)
- Don’t compare your parenting or your kid to others. Loving your kid unconditionally 65 percent of the time is plenty good, at least a B. Besides, you and your kid are different from everyone else. Kids are forgiving, especially if they feel accepted and understood no matter what.
Okay, parents, celebrate this day. You deserve it. As you increasingly show unconditional acceptance and understanding to your kid (and be kind to yourself), you can know without a doubt, I’m giving my kid the most powerful gift-love. I’m doing a good job.
Note: Parent’s Day is the 4th Sunday of every July. This year, Parent’s Day is July 25th. Read more at www.parentsday.com.